Luke Kennard led the Blue Devils with 23 points in a losing effort Tuesday against Florida State.


Duke men's basketball player of the week: Week 10

Luke Kennard 

The statline: 

Tuesday vs. No. 9 Florida State: 23 points on 8-of-15 shooting, three rebounds, two assists and one steal in 40 minutes

Saturday vs. No. 14 Louisville: 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, four rebounds and three assists in 39 minutes

The good: Kennard has regained his throne as The Blue Zone's player of the week as he continues to cement himself as Duke's most valuable asset, especially given the host of injuries that have plagued the Blue Devils. In what was easily Duke’s worst week of the season, featuring its first two-game losing streak, Kennard proved to be a lone bright spot, playing all but one of 80 possible minutes against two top-15 teams. 

The Franklin, Ohio, native possess a consistency from the field that has yet to come back to earth. His 53.4 percent field-goal percentage is the best of any guard on the team and is more than 11 percent better than his clip last season, and Kennard’s 86.9 percent mark from the foul line ranks fourth in the ACC.  

Despite averaging more than 35 minutes per game, the sophomore has shown no signs of fatigue, a reassuring sign to a team loaded with uncertainty about player health. 

The bad: As a pure scorer, Kennard’s statistics reflect a potentially one-dimensional player. No longer the team’s primary ball-handler following the return of Grayson Allen, Kennard’s primary purpose is to score points. For the team to reach an elite level and return to the top five, the Blue Devils may need Kennard to repeat his 30-point outbursts seen a couple times earlier in the season. 

Similarly, Kennard’s performance from beyond the arc this week did not aid a Blue Devil team struggling to cash in from the perimeter. The sophomore went 3-for-9 on the week, well below his 44.3 percent season average.

Defensively, Kennard leaves a lot to be desired, but Duke will have to deal with his defensive deficiencies to take advantage of his scoring on the other end.

The bottom line: Kennard is indisputably the team’s most consistent player this season. One of two players to have played in every game thus far, he has developed a dominant presence on the court throughout the season. With a three-game stretch against unranked teams coming up, Kennard will be a key figure in helping the Blue Devils rebound from a 2-3 start in the ACC.    

Honorable mention: Grayson Allen took over part of the game against the Cardinals. With the Blue Devils trailing in the second half, the junior scored nine consecutive points for his team to ensure that the Louisville lead did not eclipse double digits until the closing minutes. For that display of dominance, something largely unseen this season, Allen deserves the week’s honorable mention. 

After a quiet nine-point and five-assist affair against the Seminoles, Allen was Duke’s best player on the court Saturday. The Jacksonville, Fla., native racked up 23 points and nine rebounds in 36 minutes of action. For all of his success, Allen did turn the ball over six times against Louisville, and a combined nine giveaways on the week is concerning, given Allen’s status as the primary facilitator.

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