Luke Kennard honored to join USA Basketball U-18 team

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Kennard, the Franklin High School 2015 shooting guard, was named to the USA Basketball Under-18 team Sunday morning in Colorado Springs. He is one of 12 players on the team as the final cut was made early Sunday.


“It’s an honor,” Kennard told The Enquirer by phone before practice Sunday. “I am really blessed to have this opportunity – not just for me but for my hometown.”


Kennard, who verbally committed to Duke in March, was one of 24 players invited to the national training camp at the start of last week.


“It’s a great day of celebration,” Franklin coach Brian Bales said. “He’s going to be a great ambassador for our school and the state of Ohio representing the USA.”


Kennard’s selection was a very good Father’s Day gift for his father, Mark, who said the family was very happy to hear the news Sunday. Luke was able to speak with his family and Bales early Sunday.


“Awesome day,” Bales said. “So proud of Luke Kennard – so happy for him and his family and our school and our community.”


The U18 National Team will compete in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship June 20-24 in Colorado Springs. The USA team will continue its training until June 19 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs.


Kennard said USA scrimmages Canada Monday and will have its first game Friday when it plays Uruguay at 5:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT).


“I am really proud to present the USA,” Luke said. “…It’s been really great to be a part of.”


The FIBA Americas U18 Championship will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, including: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Uruguay. The top four finishing teams will qualify for the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men. Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1996.


University of Florida coach Billy Donovan will coach the U18 squad for a third consecutive summer. Providence coach Ed Cooley and Arizona coach Sean Miller are also on the staff.


“I’m really excited about the team. As it is every year, it was a really hard selection process because only 12 guys can be on the team. We just tried not necessarily to take the 12 best players, we tried to take the guys that were going to make up the best team,” Donovan said in a statement.


Kennard was named Associated Press Ohio Mr. Basketball and the Gatorade Ohio player of the year last winter among numerous other honors.


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

Franklin’s Luke Kennard Kennard, named Associated Press Ohio Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Ohio player of the year last season, is practicing with the USA Basketball Under-18 camp in Colorado Springs.

Franklin standout guard Luke Kennard started practice Tuesday night with the USA Basketball Under-18 camp in Colorado Springs. Kennard, who is verbally committed to Duke, is one of 24 players nationally participating.


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