Whenever I hear someone say, “Luke Kennard, he’s a shooter,” it makes me laugh.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take the compliment. That’s a skill that not a lot of people possess, so I’m definitely proud of it. It just doesn’t tell the whole story of who I am as a basketball player.
When Coach K recruited me to come to Duke, he didn’t do it for me just to be a shooter. He recruited me as a playmaker. That’s how I see myself, and how I have seen myself throughout my basketball career.
That label doesn’t take into account the hours I’ve spent in the gym, working to make a jump from last season. The hours spent working to be aggressive, drive the ball and finish around the rim. The hours spent working on ways to create plays for other guys and myself. The hours spent working on playing off the dribble, taking guys to the basket.
Last year was a learning experience for me. The adjustment from high school to college is a difficult one and I’ll be the first to admit that I struggled at times, specifically in the beginning of the year. The speed of the game is a lot different on this level and I had to adjust to it.
The coaches really helped me a lot with that, as did the upperclassmen on our team. They always told me they believed in me and that didn’t waver. It really helps a lot when you’re in that positive culture. Overall, despite the ups and downs, it was a great year for me.
If I hadn’t gone through that learning experience, I wouldn’t be the player I am now. I can definitely say that I’m better than I was last year.
I put in a lot of work this summer – with the coaches, with my teammates, when I was back home – so I feel like that’s going to pay off in a big way. There’s always room to improve. Nobody’s game is perfect – even the greats of all-time. I always think about that when I’m in the gym.
Our goal is to win a national championship. This is a special group. Coach has said it. It’s a legitimate goal.
At the same time, we know nothing is given. We have to earn everything. That’s the mindset we take into practice every day. We want to get better, as a team and individually, each day. That’s what it’s all about.
I’m looking forward to building on my place in this brotherhood. We have a talented team, but we also have a great group of guys. The guys who came back this year are tight and the new guys have fit right in.
We all know that playing for Duke is a special opportunity. We’re all looking forward to the season, hopefully winning a lot of games and bringing home another national championship.
Oh, and it wouldn’t hurt to make a few shots along the way.