Recruiting Rewind: Kevon Looney

The first of several remaining Duke targets in the class of 2014 will make his collegiate decision on Thursday when Kevon Looney announces his decision at 11AM CST. Here's a primer for fans heading into the final hours.

Evaluation by Rob Harrington:

Looney fits the word "rangy" to a tee. He has very long arms and high shoulders, making him functionally much taller than 6-8. He rebounds extremely well on both ends of the court, due to both his length and outstanding anticipation, matched with commendable effort.

He's a good dribbler and passer at 6-8 and is very fluid in tight spaces. Control and efficiency are Looney trademarks, and that applies to defense as well. He's a fine shotblocker who, along with his defensive rebounding prowess, projects more naturally on that end as a four than he does as a three.

In terms of intangibles, his hard work and competitive nature make him a safe bet to compete for an immediate starting position in college. Many have bemoaned the relatively non-competitive nature of summer basketball, but he's a determined competitor who doesn't play down to even more casual settings.

While long and fluid, Looney isn't tremendously explosive. He doesn't possess the lightning-quick reactions or quick leaping ability displayed by some other elites, and of course athleticism concerns always cast at least something of a shadow on a player's long-term potential.

His key will be to become a dead eye jump shooter. He's lengthy enough to score against even superior leapers, but his ticket to stardom is to enhance already-solid shooting mechanics.

As mentioned above, Looney is far more effective as a power forward defensively due to so-so lateral quickness. Few players at that size can guard on the perimeter, however, and thus that's not at all troubling for college.

Highlights:

Blind Duke Comparison with Jim Sumner:

Sumner Says…: ANTONIO LANG (1991-1994)

Antonio Lang began his career as a reserve, playing just under 12 minutes per night as a freshman. He would steadily find his way into the Blue Devils'rotation over the next two years before becoming a full-time starter as a senior alongside Grant Hill.

In four years, Lang never really established himself away from the basket. He missed all three permitter shots he attempted in four seasons, but that was just fine with Duke. Much like former Blue Devil Lance Thomas, Lang made his mark on the defensive end as well as on the glass where he was always one of the team's top three rebounders over the last two seasons.

As a senior, Lang doubled his career scoring average (to 12.5 points per game), and shot 59 percent from the field while playing the "4" alongside Grant Hill. Prior to that season, which ended with a loss in the National Championship game to Arkansas, the senior from Mobile, Alabama had a chance to sit down with Coach K to talk about expectations as he told the staff at Duke Blue Planet:

"Before the 1994 season, Coach invited me to his house and told me that my leadership was the key to our team being successful. I didn't have the chance before that to lead because we had great leaders like Bobby, Christian and Brian in the years before. We also had the best player in the country on our team, Grant Hill. Coach told me to believe in myself. He saw something in me that I didn't. I didn't want to let him or my team down. That year, we were one possession away from winning our third championship in four years." (Full Article Here)

After being drafted in the second round by the Phoenix Suns (29th pick) in 1994, Lang saw limited action with the Suns before being traded to Cleveland in 1995. Before retiring from action, the former Blue Devil had logged stints with Toronto, Philadelphia, and Miami. He also played in the CBA and abroad in Japan.

Recruiting:

Looney's final list consists of Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Tennessee, UCLA, and Wisconsin. He took official visits to Florida (Aug. 30), Duke (Sept, 6), Tennessee (Sept. 20), Michigan State (Oct. 11), and UCLA (Oct. 20). He has also visited Wisconsin multiple times unofficially.

Most recruiting analysts are handicapping this recruitment as a race between the Blue Devils, Volunteers, and Gators.

In their recruitment of Looney, the Duke coaching staff has made it clear they plan to utilize his versatility should he choose to play his college ball in Durham.

"They've talked about a lot of the great players they've coaches before that you see on TV a lot," Looney told TDD of Duke's pitch. "On their [in-home] visit, they even brought me a video to show me with guys like Grant Hill, the Team USA guys, and it was a nice presentation. They see me as a three-four player, and it seemed like Coach K had a lot of plans for me."

Quotable:

"The visit to Duke was real good, it was a great visit, I got a chance to spend time with the players, I talked with Jabari and he talked with me about the coaching staff, I got to go to Coach K's house and I got to sit down with Coach Nate James, I have a great relationship with all of them, it was a lot of fun, I had a good time." - Kevon Looney

"I want to be a wing. I want to be 6-foot-9 around 225-pounds. I look at people like Paul George and the things he does good. He is around my height. I would like to play like him. Lebron (James) is too big. I watch (Kevin Durant) a lot, but I don't know if I going to be like him. I just watch people like that body type." - Kevon Looney


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