UK recruiting target Kennard instead commits to Duke

broberts@herald-leader.comMarch 24, 2014 

AP Ohio Mr Basketball

In this photo taken on Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, Franklin's Luke Kennard, left, drives past the Bellbrook defense in Bellbrook, Ohio. Kennard could have been Mr. Football. Instead, he won the state’s top award in basketball first. The 6-foot-6 Franklin High School junior, also an all-state quarterback, was a unanimous choice as winner of the Ohio Associated Press Mr. Basketball award, emblematic of the best boys player in the state.

TY GREENLEES — AP

Top high school basketball recruit Luke Kennard announced his commitment to Duke on Monday night.

The 6-foot-5 shooting guard had been one of Kentucky's top recruiting priorities for the class of 2015. Coach John Calipari watched him play several times this season, and Kennard and his family made several trips to Lexington to see the Cats in Rupp Arena.

The Kennard family downplayed those visits during the recruitment. They also said that the family's ties to Kentucky — his father played at Georgetown College and his grandfather is a UK fan from Paintsville — would have little impact on the final decision.

In the end, that was the case.

Kennard chose the Blue Devils over UK, Ohio State, Michigan, North Carolina, Louisville and Florida. Coach Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants watched him several times over the course of the season, and the family took an official visit to Durham earlier this month centered around the Duke-UNC game.

Last week, Mark Kennard said his son sent him a text message that said he knew where he wanted to go to college. The family talked about it over the weekend and decided to go ahead and reveal the choice.

"He's 100 percent sure," Mark Kennard told the Herald-Leader.

Kentucky already has a 2015 commitment from Chicago star Charles Matthews, another five-star shooting guard. UK is also among the favorites for Malik Newman, who is considered the No. 1 guard in the class.

Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com.

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