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Kentucky Basketball: 2015 Recruit Luke Kennard Shuns Kentucky For Duke

2015 Combo guard Luke Kennard picked Duke yesterday night over a long list of suitors, including Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio St. and Indiana.

Somehow, with all the excitement surrounding Kentucky's upset of Wichita State and the prospect of meeting Louisville in the Sweet Sixteen, we missed the fact that 2015 combo guard prospect Luke Kennard made his college choice yesterday, and it was not Kentucky. Instead, it was the Duke Blue Devils, and that is the second recent high-profile recruiting battle Kentucky has lost to Mike Krzyzewski, the more recent being Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor. I consider them one due to their insistence on being a "package deal."

Kennard had long been a fan of Kentucky, which makes losing him to Duke feel a little awkward. However, John Calipari had recently landed 2015 five-star recruit Charles Matthews from Chicago, and many recruiting analysts considered it likely that Matthews' commitment made Kennard's matriculation to Kentucky less likely, despite denials from Kennard's father of that being a factor. I have no idea if it was and neither do you, but if you are looking for some way to explain how Calipari missed on Kennard, that's about as good as any.

I think it's also fair to note that Matthews is more highly thought of than Kennard. Kennard currently ranks #16 in the Rivals class of 2015, whereas Matthews is #11, and they are the same size and generally play the same position. Both are considered combo guards with the skills to do some point guard duty. I won't like, I really like Kennard's game and I wanted him to come to UK. Alas, that is not to be.

Mike Krzyzewski is an elite recruiter and always has been, so it's no shame to lose a player to a guy like that. The class of 2015 has just begun to shape up, so it's still way too early to be concerned about it, other than having to listen to Duke fans crow about beating Calipari for a coveted recruit. That's just part of the game, I know we crow when we take players from other schools. What goes around, comes around.

Anyway, congratulations to Duke and Kennard, and we wish him well. Duke is a fine university with an elite basketball program, and any player would be justifiably proud to attend there. Because I am a Kentucky fan and because I rather enjoy an occasional dig at Duke, I suppose that they deserve a little good news after being unceremoniously expelled from the NCAA Tournament the other day as a #3 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, while UK goes on as a #8 seed to defeat the #9 Kansas State Wildcats and #1 Wichita State Shockers.

Yeah, I know - Robert Morris. But at least we had the excuse of an injured star — Jabari Parker was 100% for the Mercer game. It's only fair that I note Coach K's classy congratulations to the Mercer Bears — we here at A Sea of Blue don't mind gigging our foes, but we also don't mind noticing when they do something good as well, rare as that may be.