Duke Now

Duke departures play role in five-star recruit’s decision


That’s how five-star senior Kevin Knox II’s father answered when asked whether Duke guard Luke Kennard declaring for the NBA draft affects his son’s impending college decision.

Kevin Knox, 2017’s No. 7 overall and No. 1 recruit in Florida, may announce his decision later this month, and Kennard, an integral part of Duke’s offense this season, became the latest Blue Devil headed to the NBA.

Kennard, a sophomore who led the team with 19.5 points, joined freshmen Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum as Duke’s most recent to declare for the NBA; Kennard announced his decision Thursday.

“The departure does affect his decision because if all those guys you just named, if they were staying, we probably wouldn’t be going to Duke, specifically in Jayson Tatum,” Kevin Knox Sr. said Thursday. “That opens up a filler position that Duke has always had for the same measurables like Kevin. Then you have Luke Kennard leaving, it just gives more opportunity for the next person to step up.

“In my opinion, like with coach (Mike) Krzyzewski, what we’re on the same page is really just Kevin having a great opportunity to be special like we think he can be.”

Still on little Kevin’s list are Duke, UNC, Florida State, Missouri and Kentucky. The 6-9, 203-pound wing is from Tampa, Florida.

He last met with Krzyzewski on March 21, and in a report, Kevin Knox II said he was watching the moves of Kennard and Grayson Allen.

Kevin Knox Sr. said the family has different criteria for each school, obviously including the departures and incoming class.

Five-star seniors Wendell Carter (Pace Academy, Atlanta) and Gary Trent Jr. (Prolific Prep, Apple Valley, Minnesota) are already signed to Duke.

“We’re weighing the pros and cons of the criteria and the check boxes,” Knox Sr. said. “Ultimately, at the end of the day, as you narrow all that down, as you start saying, ‘Here’s a plus, here’s a minus. Here’s a plus, here’s a minus. Here’s a plus, here’s a minus,’ it all comes down to where does Kevin feel comfortable basically saying I want to play basketball there.

“It’s a lot more elaborate than that, and that’s the process we’re vetting through so he can make a decision.”

Jessika Morgan: 919-829-4538, @JessikaMorgan