Throughout the 2017 ACC Tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Duke’s sensational sophomore shooting guard Luke Kennard got busier than a horny rabbit, earning the tourney’s MVP trophy after the Blue Devils 75-69 victory over Notre Dame in the championship game.
My man’s offensive repertoire is vicious, delicious and nutritious. If you think he’s simply a jump shooter who operates solely on the perimeter and needs others to create opportunities for him, and are willing to admit that you’ve “watched” him play numerous times this year, I’m gonna suggest that you refrain from offering up any other player analysis in the future.
Luke’s instincts are exceptional, and his ability to create enough space off the dribble to squeeze off shots, ball-handling and passing are a joy to behold. His game is what a keen observer would call polished and mature. He makes few mistakes and is as efficient with the rock as anyone in college ball. Straight up, he’s got a smoothness to his style that can’t be taught. He can bang it from deep both off the catch and the bounce and his hezzo’s (that’s hesitation dribbles for those that don’t speak the NYC basketball vernacular), along with his midrange arsenal, is funkily eclectic.
Watch him without the ball and peep how adept he is at getting open off screens, and how well he gets his feet set once the ball arrives in his soft hands. And it doesn’t matter if his shots are contested. When he flicks that left wrist on his pretty release, chances are that it’s about to be straight cash, homie.
Jayson Tatum also had a legit claim to some strong MVP consideration and was Duke’s most complete player during their four victories in four days in Brooklyn. In the title game, he took over in the last few minutes with his offensive and defensive prowess.
The freshman forward topped off his stellar tournament with 19 points against the Fighting Irish. Against Clemson, he had 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists and followed that up with 25 points and six boards against Louisville in the quarters and 24 points, seven rebounds and two steals against UNC in the semi’s. He also chipped in with eight rebeounds in the championship game.
Bonzie Colson had 29 points and nine rebounds in the loss, and no one throughout the tournament had an answer for him. He dropped 21 points and grabbed 10 boards against UVA in the quarters and gave Florida State 18 points and six rebounds in the semi’s.
Kennard had 16 points and was deserving of his tournament MVP, but Tatum, and even Colson, despite Notre Dame’s loss, could have easily won the award.
Kennard had 20 points and five rebounds against Clemson, 24 and 10 against Louisville in the quarterfinals and he scored 20 in the semifinal win against North Carolina.