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Mark Kennard says “guys at Kentucky were great to us” when told Luke Kennard picked Duke


Before his son took an official visit to Duke, Mark Kennard was sure that he would either pick Kentucky or Ohio State to play his college basketball. Instead, Luke Kennard liked everything about his trip to Duke — it reminded him of the small town intimacy of Franklin, Ohio — and the 6-6 junior guard announced this week he would sign with Duke.

“He was adamant about where he wanted to do. He sent me a text at work even,” Mark Kennard said. “I asked him what about taking official visits to Kentucky and Ohio State just to make sure, but he said that would just be a waste of their time and unfair to them. I really liked John Calipari and Thad Matta, but Luke had to be selfish picking a school. It’s his life and he has to do what he likes.”

Still, Kennard was a player that seemed destined to play at Kentucky. There are numerous UK fans in Franklin. His parents are Kentucky fans. His grandfather has had UK basketball season tickets. He grew up a Kentucky fan and in his room there is a frame photo of him when he was young getting his shirt signed at a Kentucky game by players with him wearing a UK uniform.

“Duke is on a big stage, but he felt comfortable with the small town setting,” Mark Kennard said. “I was always a huge Kentucky fan. Luke was, too.  Kentucky has great people and that’s what makes this tough.

“Those are tough calls to make to coaches at Kentucky, Ohio State, Michigan and North Carolina. We actually waited three or four days to make sure what Luke wanted to do and then I wasn’t going to call those coaches right as they started NCAA play. I waited until they were through playing last weekend.

“Coach Cal was on a plane when (assistant) Orlando (Antigua) called me. They were great about it. I think they were disappointed, but they understood. It’s part of the business but it was tough on Jennifer (Luke’s mom), Luke and I because we had built relationships with these people.  Jennifer cried all day and had to leave the house when we were making the calls. The guys at Kentucky were great to us. They didn’t holler at us or cuss us when we told them. They were classy and understood. They were disappointed, but they wished Luke well. I really liked coach Cal, and our whole family did. That’s what made it tough.”

Local Kentucky fans were disappointed, too.

“Some UK fans were very happy for us, some probably hate us now,” Mark Kennard said. “But they all know Luke had to go where he felt most comfortable. I am proud of Luke for making a decision and knowing what he wants. He wants us to see him play, but I told him never to let that be a roadblock to where he went. The UK fans here who know him feel the same way even though I know how much they were all hoping he would go to Kentucky.”

Permanent link to this article: http://vaughtsviews.com/mark-kennard-says-guys-at-kentucky-were-great-to-us-when-told-luke-kennard-picked-duke/


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  1. Larry T Clemons

    Great Young Man, I can’t wait to see His Game….His Choice, is Good for Him and I respect that….Of Course, I wish He would have given Us a visit, but that’s me being selfish,(hoping to convince Him, Kentucky)….LSU, had Pistol Pete. And ” Cool Hand Luke ” choose Duke, somewhat Poetic. See You On The Court !

  2. Ben

    I am sorry, but he could not have been a KY fan like I know KY fans! No true KY fan would ever go to Duke, North Carolina, Louisville or Florida. He made his choice and that is fine. Do not expect me to cheer for him or Duke! It will never happen. Move on to players who really like KY.

    1. Anonymous

      How old are you? Very immature way to look at the opportunity for a degree from a first class university. Basketball is not the end all be all in life.

  3. Mike

    Those are all plausible reasons for Luke wanting to go to Duke but are we getting the full story? Agree with Ben that if really a long time UK supporter and family pushing for UK that it was a quick turnaround on the decision. Some of the crystal balls had us at 77%. Would love to know what Coach K put in his mind about our program that caused the reversal.

  4. John

    Kennard is just another Basketball Player … UK shouldn’t loss any sleep over him going to Puke. Charles Matthews will make up for him. I think that Kennard didn’t want to compete for playing time against Booker (If he stays) and Matthews. And if he doesn’t want to compete the we don’t need him any way.

  5. ruppsrunt

    Well–we do KNOW fro a fact that apukite can get a $65,000 loan with no collateral and not pay if back for 4 years–and the ncaa won’t care. And, media will ignore it.

    So–we KNOW at least 1 major advantage ratface has when making his “OFFER”!

    Now, about that lance thomas $65,000 loan–can UK players get a similar “LOAN” to purchase nice cars while still in school? We KNOW the local media won’t care–because puke does it–so it doesn’t matter–RIGHT?


    1. Larry T Clemons

      Luke has a 4.3 GPA…..The Scholar’s Program at Duke and the small Town feel, (not the KENTUCKY limelight)…Remember, Kentucky is not for everyone, is the reason…I want to see his Game, but I won’t be cheering Duke. Real simple, someone gets an offensive machine and Our Team, will get a Defensive Maniac to counter, (Liggin’s Type) with Offensive Skills. Look hard, we already have Him coming !

  6. aj

    Perfect player for Duke particularly current team.Really outstanding offensive player who will have trouble guarding anybody.

    1. jamieboy58

      Let’s face it, Luke knew he could not compete with the players Cal will bring in so he didn’t want to be embarrsed. Heck we had Jon Hood who was as good as Luke and look how that played out. This kid will be on the end of the bench before he leaves Duke. This whole thing played out just like Cal wanted they offered he refused that’s what Cal wanted.

  7. Prof. G

    Contrast the behavior of UK fans about Luke’s decision with the classless behavior of Arkansas fans when Archie Goodwin took on the Razorbacks down home in his blue UK uniform. If Duke ever comes to Rupp to play UK, I can guarantee you there with be ZERO fans in blue shouting, “Luke sucks!” Arkies are clueless clods, period.

  8. james gover

    The kid appears to be a scholar; Duke is a relative small private school for scholars, UK is a large public university. UK appears to be loaded at the 2 guard spot, Duke is not. Both have coaches who have experienced success. Perhaps Duke also offers the possibility of playing football? This was an easy decision.

  9. sluggercatfan

    Luke seems like a great kid and I wish him a good life, but from the day he walks on the Duke campus I hope they lose every game he plays in…Just like I would with Duke had he not chosen to go there

    1. Rhea Baker

      I agree completely.

  10. Jase

    You can’t really fault the kid if he fell in love with the whole Duke package during his trip there. Certain types of people are attracted to Duke, and certain types of people are repelled by Duke and attracted to playing at UK or another school. We live in a nation of 320 million people, and how many kids get the opportunity to play at Duke or UK? Kennard is incredibly blessed. It is not the choice that I would have made, but I feel the same way about people who inexplicably voted both times for Barack Obama and now support Hillary!

  11. Jimharris

    Anyone who has been to the Duke campus can see how that alone is a big selling point. Then add excellent scholastics (and reputation) and a top coach (although I don’t like him at all) and it’s a toiugh sell to compete against. My son? I wouldn’t argue witih such a decision, not at all. But I’d probably stay home and watch UK games.

    And let’s face it, even among the SEC schools UK scholastics rate pretty low in most fields.

    I remember years ago when I was a relatively young guy trying to make my way up the ladder in industry. One of the fellows I competed with for promotions, etc. was a Dukie—one of the first “lonesome ends” as they were called in those days—and he was such a darling to management that there was no getting around him. I left and joined another company. heehee

  12. Rhea Baker

    Good for him. It was his choice & he made it.

    Now on to bigger & better things for UK.

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