Ohio junior Luke Kennard commits to Duke

CorrespondentMarch 24, 2014 

Franklin (Ohio) High junior shooting guard Luke Kennard felt a connection with Duke during his official visit earlier this month.

So Kennard didn’t want to wait to announce his highly-anticipated college decision. The basketball standout announced his commitment to Duke on Monday night in front of 1,000 people at his high school gymnasium in southwest Ohio.

Kennard told Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Steve Wojciechowski after school on Monday afternoon.

“Being around Coach K and the players – how the program was ran – I could tell it was a very special place and I could see myself fitting in there.

“I felt at peace with my decision,” Kennard said. “Duke was the best fit for me.”

Kennard, who was named the Associated Press Ohio Mr. Basketball and the Gatorade Ohio Player of the Year last week, narrowed his list to Ohio State, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina, Duke and Florida as of Sunday afternoon, said Franklin coach Brian Bales.

The 6-foot-6 Kennard averaged 40 points, 10.4 rebounds, four assists and two steals this past season. He has 1,910 career points after scoring 920 points in 23 games.

Despite all the accolades and attention, Kennard takes everything in stride. He has a weighted GPA of 4.3 and is committed to the classroom. Kennard is expected to sign in November for the NCAA early signing period for the 2015 class.

“You couldn’t ask for a better kid,” Bales said. “He’s just so humble. “He’s just a kid – as much as he is a man on the basketball court.”

Kennard has been heavily recruited by some of the nation’s top basketball programs. He is ranked the nation’s No. 3 shooting guard in the 2015 class by Scout.com.

“I think Luke will be very good at the next level,” Scout.com analyst Brian Snow said. “His greatest strength is that he is an elite shooter, but he is far more than just a shooter. Luke can also get to the rim, is a good passer, and is a good athlete who excels at both ends of the floor.”

Kennard scored a career-high 59 points in a 72-64 win over Monroe on Feb. 12, and has scored 50 or more points three times this season. He scored 40 or more points 13 times this season.

On Sunday, Kennard and his high school coaches tweeted information about his upcoming announcement, and Bales said his phone remained active all afternoon and into the night with inquiries from reporters.

“It’s just been crazy,” Bales said. “It’s been such a blessing. You couldn’t ask for a better kid. This doesn’t happen every day in Franklin.”

Franklin, which is a Division II basketball school with an enrollment of about 800, is halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati.

Kennard, who shoots left-handed but throws right-handed in football, is also a standout quarterback who received Division III state offensive player of the year honors this past season. Kennard threw for 2,331 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushed for 214 yards and four touchdowns.

Kennard said he plans to play football his senior year.

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