The beginning of September isn’t a typical time for elite recruits to be visiting Duke but the Duke coaching staff thought that would be ideal for 5 star power forward Kevon Looney. Looney, if you don’t know, is a stretch four that can space defenses out to the three point line but looks his best as a shot blocker and rebounder in the paint. That combination breeds one of the highest sought after recruits in the 2014 class.
Duke will host the 6-8 forward this weekend as they look to wrap up a perfect front court match with Jahlil Okafor. Coach K and company are looking for a monstrous class in 2014 and Looney is one of the key components because of how his skill set compliments the once-in-a-decade Okafor. While Jahlil has every fundamental post move gifted to us by George Mikan and Kevin McHale, he lacks in shotblocking and aggressiveness on the glass. Well, as much as an elite center can lack in those traits. Looney is the perfect compliment because where Okafor might shy away from that kind of dirty work, Looney has thrived on it.
Defensively, he’ll allow Okafor to man the paint but give him a safety net in case he is drawn into disadvantageous positions. Looney is also big enough and strong enough to defend most post players in college, although it is likely he’ll need to add weight to be a post defender in the NBA.
Offensively, he presents Okafor with space to roam and work inside while Looney works in the high post and out to the three point line. Everything you saw Ryan Kelly do the last two years, Kevon Looney will do but perhaps better.
There is no home football game this weekend so I expect the visit will center around meeting the staff, meeting with an academic advisor, hanging out with the players, pick up games, and generally feeling out the campus to see how he fits in. His family is reportedly over the moon for Duke and Looney was rumored to be favoring Duke and Michigan before he unexpectedly cut Michigan from his list citing their lack of a relationship with his parents.
Most of these signs point to Duke being in the drivers seat and some expect the swing forward to join Grayson Allen as the next member of Duke’s 2014 recruiting class.