There was good news and bad news for the Duke basketball program heading into the weekend.The bad: Luke Kennard will become the third Duke Blue Devil to enter the NBA Draft, the team announced on Thursday. The good: nearly half of Team USA’s roster at Friday’s Nike Hoop Summit may end up playing for Duke next season.Kennard leaving is hardly a surprise. The sophomore was a consensus second-team All American who led Duke with 19.5 points per game this season and was arguably the team’s best player through much of the season, while the Blue Devils’ roster was ravaged by injury and inconsistency.The only surprise is that Kennard announced that he will sign with an agent, ending any chance that he will return to Duke for his final two years of eligibility.”After considerable reflection, prayer and consultation with my family and coaches, I have decided to take the next step in pursuing my basketball dreams by entering the NBA Draft,” Kennard said in a statement from the school. “Being a member of the Duke Basketball brotherhood is always going to be special to me. I have nothing but love and respect for everyone in the Duke program.”Kennard was scoring ahead of the pace set by Duke’s all-time leading scorer, J.J. Redick. He became the 12th Duke player and just the fifth since Mike Krzyzewski took over as Duke coach to top 1,000 points in his second year. “I’ve loved coaching Luke and having he and his family in our program,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Luke’s skill set is such a perfect fit for the way the NBA game has evolved and we’re all excited to see him flourish at the next level. He is a wonderful person who will immediately be an asset to an NBA team.”Even though Duke is losing Kennard, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum, the Blue Devils will be reloading.Duke is involved with five of the 12 USA players that will participate in the 20th annual America-against-the-world event in Portland, Oregon. Each of the last seven NBA first overall draft picks played in the Hoop Summit in high school, and it’s considered one of the top showcase events for basketball prospects.Two of the members of Team USA have already signed with the Blue Devils. Wendell Carter, a 6-9 big man, and shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. gave coach Mike Krzyzewski their letters of intent last November. Both Carter and Trent were chosen McDonald’s All-Americans and played in last week’s all-star game.Coach K is also in good position in the recruitment of three other uncommitted Team USA players.Kevin Knox is perhaps the nation’s best senior wing player. The 6-8 son of a former Florida State football standout has already taken official visits to Duke and North Carolina. Trevon Duval is a five-star point guard, an area of need for the Blue Devils last season. Duval is choosing between Duke, Arizona, Baylor, Kansas and Seton Hall. Center Mohamed Bamba is a 6-11, 207-pounder. Like Knox (no. 8), Duval (no. 5), Carter (no. 4) and Trent (no. 9), Bamba (No. 3) is one of the 10 best senior prospects in the country, according to 247Sports. The World Team, who will play Team USA on Friday night, features the top under-19 players from outside the United States. While no local teams are believed to be heavily involved in their recruitment, two World players have committed to ACC Teams: Ikechukwu Obiagu, a Nigerian seven footer, will play for Florida State, and Canadian guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker has signed with Virginia Tech.
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