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Duke basketball 2015-16 player preview: Luke Kennard

Luke Kennard

  • Year: Freshman
  • Height: 6-foot-5
  • Position: Guard 

Game Breakdown: Although his more highly-touted teammates Brandon Ingram and Derryck Thornton waited until this past spring to commit to Duke as part of the class of 2015, Kennard decided he would be playing for head coach Mike Krzyzewski in Durham during his junior year in high school. A lengthy southpaw with a pretty stroke from the perimeter, Kennard averaged nearly a double-double his senior year with 38.1 points and 9.7 rebounds en route to a McDonald’s All-American selection. The Franklin, Ohio, native possesses a nice blend of athleticism and shooting prowess from the two-guard spot, and his frame should allow him to make solid contributions on the boards and the defensive end of the floor as well.

Role on the team: Kennard and sophomore Grayson Allen are often matched up against each other in practice, and the similarities between the two are hard to ignore. Both function well as scoring shooting guards—with Allen slashing a bit more and Kennard doing his damage from the outside—and are high-energy, athletic players on the court. In all likelihood, Allen will get the starting nod at shooting guard with Kennard seeing significant minutes off the bench. But don’t be surprised if Allen and Kennard bring up the ball for extended periods of time as well, as Krzyzewski has been open to the idea of a rotating-point guard type of offense.

NBA comparison: Kennard is a classic two-guard with length, who can score from outside and make an impact all over the floor. In the best-case scenario, Kennard could become a lite-version of Manu Ginobili—coming off the bench to handle the ball a bit and provide scoring bursts. Similar to Ginoboli, Kennard possesses the grit and knack for making big plays that will make him a valuable member of the Blue Devils this season. 

Projected Stats: 7.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.8 APG

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