Kennard to Duke

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Last updated: 03/24/2014 9:48 PM
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Basketball Recruiting
Kennard Spurns In-State Buckeyes, Selects Duke
By Tony Gerdeman

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes will have to continue their search for a shooting guard in the 2015 class as Luke Kennard (Franklin, OH) verbally committed to Duke at a ceremony at his school Monday night.

Kennard (6-5 182), a five-star prospect and the top shooting guard in the nation per 247Sports, chose the Blue Devils over OSU, Kentucky, Michigan and North Carolina.

It has already been a fairly adventurous past few days for the Ohio State basketball program as sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle left school to go play professionally in Europe, and numerous reports have emerged stating that junior forward LaQuinton Ross will be entering the NBA Draft as well.

Ross tweeted on Monday afternoon that no decision has been made, but that hasn't stopped the reports from continuing to pile up. A final decision is expected in the next few days.

If Ross does leave, OSU will only have six scholarship players on the roster for the 2014-15 season. They currently have a 2014 class of four, and would love to add a fifth, namely in five-star center Myles Turner out of Euless, Texas. Turner is a long shot, however.

There is also the possibility of a post-graduate transfer in the form of Temple post player Anthony Lee. Lee is leaving Temple and has a top five of Louisville, Indiana, Ohio State, Iowa State and Notre Dame. He averaged 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game this past season, and would be eligible to play immediately next season.

Ohio State has room for 13 scholarship players, so if Ross is indeed gone, they could still add three players in addition to the four already in the 2014 class.

The current 2014 class looks like this:

SG - D'Angelo Russell (#5 SG per 247Sports Composite)
SF - Keita Bates-Diop (#6 SF per 247Sports Composite)
SF - Jae'Sean Tate (#15 SF per 247Sports Composite)
C - David Bell (#46 PF per 247Sports Composite)

The Buckeyes will be losing four seniors following next season in Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson, Amir Williams and Trey McDonald, which means that Matta doesn't have to bank any scholarships for the 2015 class because there will be plenty available.

OSU already has two commits for the 2015 class, though the commitment of forward Mickey Mitchell is up in the air at the moment.

While there is plenty of room for players, Matta still needs to manage the roster smartly. The downside to signing a large class is that they can set a program back when they all leave at the same time.

A post-graduate transfer, regular transfer or a junior college player would be welcome additions in that regard over the next couple of years to balance out the players in terms of class and eligibility.

Another name to watch could be West Virginia sophomore guard Eron Harris, who is leaving the Mountaineers program following a season where he averaged 17.2 points per game. No possible destinations have been mentioned, and he would have to sit out a season wherever he ends up. He is originally from Indianapolis, Indiana.

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