Luke Kennard, one of the premier prospects in the Class of 2015, elected not to draw out his recruiting process and committed to the Duke Blue Devils on Monday, as per ESPN’s Paul Biancardi and Jeff Goodman.
With the commitment, the Blue Devils have just become the team to beat during the 2015-16 season. Kennard is an elite shooter that should pace Duke to yet another tournament appearance, possibly even guiding the program to its first championship since 2010.
Goodman noted that Kennard can do everything and called him his favorite player in the class:
Luke Kennard is headed to Duke. My favorite player in the Class of 2015. Can do it all.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 24, 2014
The versatile guard prospect explained why he picked the school to Biancardi and Goodman: "I felt comfortable, not only with the coaching staff at Duke, but also the campus and the atmosphere."
His father, Mark, echoed that sentiment, telling the ESPN reporters that there was no point in waiting after his son checked out a number of other campuses:
The culture matched what he was looking for, and it felt like a true family atmosphere. He was going to wait until April or May, but he visited all the schools on his list and now he is ready and at peace with his decision.
Kennard is a 5-star recruit that 247Sports has listed as the No. 15 ranked player in his class on their composite rankings. He stands at a solid 6’5”, 182 pounds and has range that extends out of the gym and into the parking lot.
The Ohio native dominated at Franklin High School, averaging 40 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game on the way to a 20-4 record and his state’s Mr. Basketball award. He still has a senior campaign left to play, but it is clear that this sniper has what it takes to be a major contributor when he arrives on campus.
Kennard is a left-handed scorer that can not only hit from deep, but also create his own looks at the basket and penetrate the lane at will. He’s a willing passer that makes everyone around him better, plus an adequate ball-handler that can run the offense for stretches.
He’s a perfect fit for what Duke is trying to accomplish, giving the school another deep shooter that can help it to not only win in the tough ACC, but also provide a consistent scoring presence when it matters most in the NCAA tournament.
The Blue Devils were clearly lacking that during March Madness in 2014, being upset by the Mercer Bears in the second round of play. That humbling loss could influence a few talented players to hang around for future seasons at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Jeff Borzello of CBS Sports explained how Kennard could immediately fit in with the program in 2015:
He should make an immediate impact with the Blue Devils in 2015, although they will have plenty of wing scorers on the roster at the point. If Rasheed Sulaimon is still around as a senior, he would likely start – but current freshman Matt Jones and incoming recruit Grayson Allen will still be on the roster. Duke will not be without options when it comes to outside shooters in the 2015-16 season.
Will Duke win it all in 2016?
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski is a renowned recruiter that has brought many of the nation’s top prospects to his small school in Durham, North Carolina. Jabari Parker was the most recent star to ply his talents at Duke, but he’ll likely bolt for the NBA after a disappointing end to his freshman season.
If Coach K can bring in a few more pieces to surround Kennard after next season, the Blue Devils are going to have no problem making a much deeper run in the tournament than they did this campaign.