This March hasn't been all bad for Duke. Although the Blue Devils lost in the Round of 64 in the 2014 NCAA tournament to Mercer, they landed one of the most coveted prospects in the Class of 2015 in shooting guard Luke Kennard.
Alex Kline of Rivals.com reported the news on Monday:
2015 Franklin (OH) SG Luke Kennard - a top-20 prospect - has verbally committed to Duke.— Alex Kline (@TheRecruitScoop) March 24, 2014
The timing of the decision isn't surprising. Garrett Tucker of Future150.com reported that Kennard planned on making his decision on Monday night. The Blue Devils and Wildcats were viewed as the likeliest choices:
Kennard confirmed Tucker's report soon after:
I want to confirm that I have decided to announce where I plan to attend college tomorrow night at 7:45 PM at Franklin High School ! 🏀🙏— Luke kennard (@Luke_kennard10) March 24, 2014
Corey Albertson of TripleDoubleProspects.com said that Kennard planned on springing a surprise on Monday, which led some to believe that he was looking beyond the assumed choices:
Luke Kennard just told me - "I think people will be surprised. I've been leaning this way for a while." Uh oh!— Corey Albertson (@Corey_Albertson) March 23, 2014
Although 2015 is still a ways off, there's no doubt Duke fans will be counting down the days until Kennard arrives in Durham.
He's a 5-star player, the 15th-best overall recruit in the nation and the second-best shooting guard, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. Earlier in the week, the Franklin High School star won Mr. Basketball in the State of Ohio.
While not the most athletic of recruits, Kennard is a dead-eye shooter. He can step right in at the collegiate level and provide instant scoring from long range. Kennard is also skilled enough and smart enough to create off the dribble and set up his teammates.
His decision to sign with Duke comes as no shock. The Blue Devils have been in pole position for a while now, per Pro Basketball Draft:
One of the nation's top rising seniors Luke Kennard makes his college announcement tomorrow, Duke has led for some time per source.— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) March 24, 2014
Bob Baptist of The Columbus Dispatch also reported that Kennard's last official visit was to Durham for the Duke-North Carolina game, which the Blue Devils won, 93-81:
Sometimes this is a factor, sometimes not. Kennard's most recent visit was to Duke for the Carolina game. He was to visit #Buckeyes in April— Bob Baptist (@BBaptistHoops) March 24, 2014
Coach K has become synonymous with high-energy, fundamental players like Kennard. Sure, he might not be the most explosive athlete, but he hustles and defends well.
However, Kennard offers more than that, as he is comfortable putting the ball on the floor to get to the bucket if a defender cheats too much on his quality jumper.
Make sure you remember the name, because it's probably only a matter of time before he becomes one of the most hated players in the country for the powerhouse Blue Devils.