Kennard ready for season

Luke Kennard is one of the more complete offensive players in the class of 2015. Now his father Mark Kennard says things are picking up on the recruiting trail.

Five-star class of 2015 wing Luke Kennard recently finished up a successful football season, and now he is ready to get going with basketball. The Franklin (Ohio) product continues to hear from many of the premier schools in the country, and now is starting to give some serious consideration to official visits.

As a high level basketball player who also loves football, finding a balance during the football season isn't easy. However Kennard's father, Mark, says they have a system for how to get better at basketball while still keeping a focus on his team and himself during football season.

"It is really tough because he is practicing football every day, but on the flip side of it you can't disregard basketball," said Kennard. "During the early part of the football season we try to get in the gym a couple of times a week to get shots up. Then as the season goes on, he was getting in a little more and some pretty good workouts. We try to ramp it up the last few weeks of football so he is ready for basketball."

Recruiting wise Kennard has been in the crosshairs for top programs such as Kentucky, Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State, North Carolina, Duke, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, and others for quite some time. Now according to his father, Luke is beginning to enter what could be the home stretch of his recruitment.

"We get calls and texts and we talk to probably the top seven or eight even though we haven't set a list," said Kennard. "Right now we are just waiting and are hoping to really focus the first part of the year because that is when he can make official visits. I think Luke is really wanting to look at this closely and try to get this done by about the end of May so he can enjoy the summer and his senior year."

Recently Kennard made an unofficial visit to Ohio State for a football game, and he has built a very strong relationship with Thad Matta and the entire Buckeye staff.

"Coach Matta and Coach (Jeff) Boals have been awesome," said Kennard. "I think they would like for Luke to go ahead and commit, but I know they understand that Luke is going to be patient. They are hoping to get him to make an official visit."

He continued, "I know they have a good class coming in 2014, and already they have really good players coming in, in 2015. They have been real patient, and Coach Matta has been a first class guy."

Another trip that was recently taken was to Lexington to watch John Calipari and his team.

"Coach Calipari has been very, very honest with us," noted Kennard. "He lets you know that he won't promise you anything, but he thinks Luke fits in well. He thinks Luke can really score off the dribble or from the three point line. He has been great, he has been to a football game, and we have been down there as well."

Kennard continued, "We just went to a game against Robert Morris. They have been great and have treated us great every time we have been down there. Basically he just says that he really wants to coach Luke."

Also the Michigan Wolverines have long been a major factor for Kennard, and John Beilein and his staff have done a tremendous job of building a strong relationship with the entire family.

"Coach Beilein, I can't say enough about him and his staff," said Kennard. "We have stayed in contact with them, he has been to a football game, and they have been by the school as well. They just continue to let Luke know that they want him to come play for him and how important he is to their 2015 class. Coach Beilein has been unbelievable."

Two schools that jumped in the mix heavily in July were North Carolina and Duke. The two traditional powers might be further away from home, but they each have done a good job recruiting Kennard, and distance might not be the biggest issue in the world.

"They are saying that Luke is a very skilled kid and that his ceiling is very high with the way he can score off the dribble and from the three point line," said Kennard. "Both coaches have been here. Coach (Roy) Williams came to a football game and saw Luke play, and then Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski and his assistants came to the school and met with Luke for about four hours which was really neat. We have had great experiences with both of them and stay in touch on a regular basis."

About distance, Kennard said, "It is something we have discussed, and obviously myself and the entire family will want to be at his games, but we don't want distance to be a factor in him not going to a school if he wants to go there. If he decides he wants to go to a school six or eight hours away from here that is something I would encourage him to do. I don't want distance from home to determine Luke's decision."

For now the focus for Kennard is on having a strong start to his season, but with the ability to make official visits for juniors beginning in January, things could begin to pick up soon with him on the recruiting trail.

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