Michigan Feels Like "Home" For Kennard

A dominant Wolverine Team Camp performance preluded by dinner with the Michigan basketball coaching staff, 2015 Franklin Ohio shooting guard Luke Kennard gives GBW the latest on his relationship with the folks in Ann Arbor, the improvement in his game, and why he could see himself in the Maize and Blue.

Heading into his freshman year at Franklin (OH) High School, 2015 shooting guard Luke Kennard made quite the name for himself at the Michigan team camp a little over a year ago. Fast forward to June of 2012 and the 6'5 scorer lived up to the hype and then some, scoring 40 points in game after game as the Michigan coaching staff looked on with eyes wide open.

"They thought I did good," said Kennard of the Michigan coaches. "They like how I passed too, they like how I can look up the floor and I can keep my vision and get guys open, create shots and create ways to get people open, and they just thought I did a great job of doing that. They really like how I play."

Playing in front of college coaches fully engaged in a thorough game evaluation could be somewhat overwhelming for a sixteen year old. But for Kennard, the spotlight and pressure that comes with being a highly coveted basketball prospect has no barring on his performance or production level once the ball goes up.

"I just try to do what I do, but I kind of knew that they were going to be watching me—but I feel comfortable when they are," said Kennard. "I don't really get nervous or anything, I'm just trying to get out there, have fun and be myself, and just show them what I can do."

"I want to be the leader on my team," Kennard said. "I just want to step up and make big plays, and I try to pick guys up when they're down or when they miss a shot—but I still try and do what I do. I try to be myself out there on the court, and if I'm the one scoring then I would like to keep scoring if I'm hitting them or on fire. But it was a good weekend and I had fun with it too."

The trip north for the Kennard's wasn't all about filling it up on the basketball floor. The family took the time to fill up at dinner with the Michigan coaching staff as well.

"We had dinner and just had normal conversation," said Kennard. "We talked about school and AAU a lot, and what's been going on, and then we took a tour of the campus. We took one earlier last time I was there, but we took another one just to review they said and we took a couple new stops. The facilities are just amazing and the coaches are just, they've been great to me. They make me feel like I'm at home when I'm there, and that's what I really like about them. It was fun. I'm glad I could get up there early to get a chance to spend time with them, cause I really, I just look forward to going up there every time we get the chance."

The Wolverines are hoping that comfortable feeling continues and that Kennard makes Ann Arbor his home in a few years. While Kennard won't be receiving an offer until June 15th of next year according to Michigan's way of giving out scholarships, Beilein and the rest of the staff did everything they could to convey the fact that there's going to be a spot with his name on it.

"It was the last day before I left, and we went up to Coach Beilein's office and they just kind of told me that even though they haven't offered me that that doesn't mean that they don't want me," said Kennard. "They do want me to play and want me to be in a Michigan uniform and they do want me to keep calling them and keep building the relationship with them. They didn't offer me, but they still said that they really want me to play for them one day."

Should Kennard make the decision to become a Wolverine down the line, the rising star out of Ohio wouldn't be alone. Also in attendance at Michigan's team camp over the weekend were 2013 commitments Mark Donnal and Derrick Walton. Although Kennard wasn't able to chop it up with the future Wolverines off the court, on the court their talent was more than evident.

"I didn't get a chance to talk to them, but I knew the guard that plays for Chandler Park (Walton)—I've seen him play before but I really didn't get a chance to play with him," said Kennard. "They are great players and I could look forward to playing with them someday."

With the Wolverines coaching staff doing such an eloquent job of selling Michigan to Kennard and his parents, as well as building on an already strong relationship, could a leader already be emerging in this race?

"I actually wouldn't say there is one, cause I like a lot right now, and it's just hard to pick them out cause they're just all real great," said Kennard. "I really like a lot of them."

Still so much time left before Kennard needs to make a decision of any kind, the slick lefty continues to work on his game as a very busy July AAU season sits just a couple of weeks away.

"I want to get a lot stronger," said Kennard. "I've been in the weight room three days a week, I've been shooting, working on my ball handling, working on driving to the basket. And I really want to work on getting stronger and gaining some weight over the summer."

Look for more coverage of Kennard this July as GBW heads out on the road for some AAU action.

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