Luke
Kennard
Position: SG
Height/Weight: 6'6" / 202 lbs
School/Club: Duke
Status: Sophomore
Birthday: June 24, 1996

About Luke Kennard

The 2016-17 season took a different turn for Duke, and for Kennard. The Blue Devils’ Grayson Allen was the consensus preseason All-America picked by some experts as the preseason player of the year. But it turned out to be Kennard, not Allen, who played at an All-American level. It’s not like that was a shocker; Duke always seems to recruit smart, basketball-savvy shooters, and Kennard falls in line with the best of them. But this was supposed to be Allen’s year, and while he struggled at times, in part because of another tripping incident that drew a one-game suspension, Kennard was a rock. He scored in double figures in 35 of Duke’s 37 games and scored more than 20 points 19 times. Kennard earned Atlantic Coast Conference tournament MVP honors after averaging 20 points and 5.3 rebounds and helping Duke become the first team in league history to win four games in four days to claim the title.

Strengths

  • Deadly left-handed distance shooter
  • Crafty scorer
  • Can score on the catch, coming off screens or with pull-up
  • Intelligent
  • Good passer
  • Willing defender
  • Good rebounder
  • Excellent free-throw shooter

Weaknesses

  • Not super explosive
  • Doesn’t have a plus wingspan
  • Can he handle quicker NBA wings on the defensive end?

NBA projection: Kennard is a certain first-round pick.

2016-17 Season
Kennard was a consensus second-team All-American and was a stabilizing force during a season when health issues and other concerns threatened to derail Duke’s progress. Through it all, Kennard was there; he led the Blue Devils in scoring while racking up 722 points, the 16th-best single-season total in program history. He finished second in the ACC in scoring and 3-point percentage and was also fourth in free-throw percentage, seventh in 3-pointers per game (2.38), eighth in field-goal percentage and third in minutes per game (35.5).

Key statistics: 19.5 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.56 apg, 1.6 tpg, 35.1 mpg, .489 FG, .438 3PT, .856 FT

Career Highlights: A consensus second-team All-American as a sophomore. Member of the John R. Wooden Award All-America Team and a final-five candidate for the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award. The MVP  of  the  2017  ACC  Tournament.  His 86.7  career  free  throw  percentage  is  the second-best in  Duke history. Made at least one three-point field goal in 40 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Duke history and the 10th-longest stretch in ACC history. His 1,147 career points were the fourth-most by a Duke player in his first two seasons, trailing only Jason Williams (1,333), Art Heyman (1,237) and Johnny Dawkins (1,165).

Cool statistic: Kennard made at least one 3-pointer in 40 consecutive games, the second longest streak in Duke history and the 10th longest in ACC history.

Reminds me of: Jeff Hornacek

What Insiders Say
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski

“Luke’s skill set is such a perfect fit for the way the NBA game has evolved, and we’re all excited to see him flourish at the next level. He is a wonderful person who will immediately be an asset to an NBA team.”

What Outsiders Say
South Carolina coach Frank Martin

“He's a hard guard. And they do a great job of putting him in different actions. They make it hard. You gotta have guys that are connected. You can't guard him with one. Gotta be your team. And it's not just that he can score; it's that he knows when to go and not when to go. There are some guys that score, they think they can go all the time, and they end up taking a bunch of bad shots. So they score a lot of points, but they also give you a lot of opportunities, because bad shots, it's a turnover. He doesn't take bad shots.”

 

Chris Dortch is the editor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. You can email him here, follow him on Twitter and listen to the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Hour.

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