Luke Kennard may be the hottest underclassman in the country.
Franklin’s heralded rising junior picked up three big-time offers in a span of three hours earlier this week, from Kentucky, Duke and Michigan State. On Tuesday, defending national champion Louisville joined the chase for Kennard, who already held offers from Michigan, Ohio State, Indiana and others.
“I was a little surprised,” said Kennard, who’s taken his ballooning basketball profile in stride. “It’s going to be a tough decision to make.”
Louisville has also offered Kennard in football but has no interest in playing both sports in college. Michigan and Ohio State have been viewed as serious contenders for a while. He also has some UK and UL ties — his father played at Georgetown College (Ky.) — and he hopes to visit Duke in August.
So the gifted 6-foot-5 scorer’s recruitment may be a semi-open race. But probably not for long.
“We’ve always said that I would commit after my junior season,” Kennard said, “but if I feel right about a school, I could commit right now.”
Kennard is now the No. 1 shooting guard in the Class of 2015 according to 247Sports.
Middletown Madison standout Olivia Philpot was experiencing some soreness in her knee but decided to give it a go in a few summer league games earlier this month. Then came more severe pain and a few days later, a startling diagnosis: Philpot had torn an ACL and could miss her entire senior season.
“It was very disappointing for Olivia and her family and me, but injuries do happen,” Madison coach John Rossi said.
Philpot, a 5-foot-10 forward who averaged 12 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists while helping the Mohawks to a 24-3 record as a junior, could conceivably return in January. But even if she does miss the season, she’ll have Division I offers awaiting her.
“Youngstown State, Navy and Quinnipiac all offered before the injury. I’ve talked to two out of the three, and they said it doesn’t affect their offers,” Rossi said.
Quietly, Bethel guard Patrick Bain is emerging as a D-I prospect.
Bain’s been on a tear while playing with the Dayton Metro AAU program, including a 23 point-per-game average last week at the high-profile Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis. Little known to recruiters prior to this summer, Bain’s picked up interest from D-I schools like Wright State, Mount St. Mary’s (Md.) and Canisius (N.Y.)
“He is a Division I basketball player. He’s athletic, he’s smart and he can shoot the ball,” Dayton Metro coach Dan Christie said.
Christie said Beavercreek’s Jared Waters, Carroll’s Xander Smart, Fenwick’s Kevin Christie and Monroe’s Chris Sloneker have all received attention from a mix of NAIA, D-II and D-III schools as well. But the biggest sleeper — literally and figuratively — may be Troy Christian’s Nathaniel Boone. Boone, a 6-10 rising senior, has NAIA interest so far and is improving his game.
“He’s just really long and just now coming into his body,” Christie said.
On the girls’ side, Dayton Metro doesn’t have any full-fledged D-I prospects yet, but one local has been drawing increased attention. Centerville’s Bethany Krause, an all-GWOC performer for the 26-2 Elks last year, has ramped up her game.
“She doesn’t have any offers yet, but she has a lot of schools looking at her. Her defense is excellent. She might just be the best defensive player who’s a guard in the area,” said Dayton Metro Under-17 coach Leah Zimmerman.
Zimmerman said St. Bonaventure and Eastern Illinois are among the schools showing serious interest in the 5-9 Krause.