By LARRY VAUGHT
First a win over a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tourney on Sunday, but now could UK coach John Calipari be ready to land a highly-touted target in the 2015 recruiting class?
Five-star junior guard Luke Kennard of Franklin, Ohio, will likely either pick Kentucky or Duke tonight at his high school during a celebration ceremony for him being named Gatorade Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball.
“We just thought this would be a good time to do it while we are celebrating what he accomplished this year,” coach Brian Bales said.
The 6-5 Kennard averaged 41 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He grew up a Kentucky fan — Tayshaun Prince was his favorite player and he had a UK room in his house. But many wonder if making this announcement so soon after he took his first official visit to Duke when the Blue Devils beat North Carolina could be an indicator that he’s going to pick Duke.
Kennard narrowed his list to Duke, UK, Louisville, Florida, Ohio State, Michigan and North Carolina in January.
Kentucky has a 2015 commitment from five-star Chicago guard Charles Matthews. He is ranked among the nation’s top 15 juniors by most recruiting analysts.
While no one connected directly to Kennard would speculate on his choice Sunday, sources indicated to me that they expected it to be Kentucky. That’s my guess as well even though many others are predicting Duke and one excellent UK source told me he expects him to pick Duke.
If Kennard picks UK, Big Blue fans will love him. He can handle, rebound and shoot. He’s a dead-eye free throw shooter. And he’s made for the Big Blue fan spotlight.