Dyer Straight: Promoters pitch Huntington Prep, other opponents to Franklin and Superstar Kennard



Dyer Straight

By Mike Dyer

Everybody wants a piece of Duke-bound Mr. Basketball

Franklin boys’ basketball coach Brian Bales received an email the other day from a Kentucky tournament asking if his program would be interested in playing Huntington Prep (W. Va.) next season.Bales undoubtedly has a once-in-a-lifetime player with junior shooting guard Luke Kennard, but the 37-year-old coach understands to keep things in perspective with his Franklin program.Dyer-Column“As far as promoters for tournaments we have had a ton of offers to go play in some great tournaments,” Franklin athletic director Rodney Roberts said. “I think Brian has done a good job staying loyal to those who reached out to us first, as well as putting our program and Luke in a position to play against top competition to get the necessary exposure needed.”

The interest will certainly continue around the Franklin program given Kennard’s stature as Ohio Mr. Basketball, a Duke verbal commit and one of the nation’s top players in the 2015 class.

Kennard averaged 40 points, 10.4 rebounds, four assists and two steals this past season for Franklin. He has 1,910 career points.

Franklin (20-4), a Division II sectional runner-up, returns all five starters next season including Kennard and junior Evan Crowe (15.1 ppg.).

Bales was named last week the school’s athletic director for next school year since Roberts is leaving to become the Centerville football coach. Bales said next season’s schedule is not completed yet and surely many teams would like to get the exposure associated with Kennard.

“Brian has done an outstanding job with handling all the attention around Luke,” Roberts said.
“It is a fine line between giving Luke the attention he deserves and not alienating the rest of the team. Luke and Brian have done a good job of navigating that. Both always put the team first.”

Kennard is playing some high profile camps this spring and summer including those of LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. He has been invited to a Team USA Under-18 Training Camp in Colorado Springs in early June.

A USA Today blog already predicted Kennard as a lock for the 2015 McDonald’s All American Game in Chicago.

Still, Bales said Kennard’s demeanor hasn’t changed much since he announced his verbal commitment to Duke in front of 1,000 fans, friends, family and teammates on March 24 in the school gym.

Bales said the Franklin community still can’t get enough of their superstar. Bales said his father recently went to Dayton Mall to purchase a Duke cap and was told by the store that almost all of the Duke gear had been sold out.

Kennard, who is 6 feet 6, has started working out after school with a personal trainer to improve his core strength and jumping. He is also working on his flexibility.

Bales said this week Kennard still hasn’t made a decision about football this fall for Franklin and is focused on basketball this spring. Bales said Kennard won’t graduate early and wants to completely enjoy his senior year.

Each step of the way, Kennard has remained true to his nature – very humble.
“I felt at peace about (the Duke commitment) and now I can enjoy my senior year and that’s what it is all about,” Kennard said at the time of his announcement.

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