Duke might have lost to No. 14 seed Mercer in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament last Friday, but some of the sting of that early exit went away on Monday evening as elite 2015 shooting guard Luke Kennard committed to Duke at a press conference at his high school.
The 6-foot-5 Kennard, who Rivals regards as the No. 16 player in the 2015 national class, chose the Blue Devils over his final list of Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan and Ohio State.
“Luke Kennard is another in a long line of shooters that have gone to Duke,” Rivals national recruiting analyst Eric Bossi told College Basketball Talk. “A sharpshooter with a college-ready frame, Kennard is a savvy player who doesn’t waste dribbles. He gives the Blue Devils yet another weapon on the perimeter.”
Kennard is Duke’s first commitment in the 2015 class and he took a visit to campus on March 7th before making his decision. The native of Franklin, Ohio attends Franklin High School and plays his grassroots ball with the King James Shooting Stars.
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: