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Franklin High graduate is 'one of the hottest names' in the NBA draft

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Posted at 9:58 PM, Jun 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-14 21:58:38-04

FRANKLIN, Ohio -- Luke Kennard will sit in the NBA Draft green room waiting to hear his name called at the Barclays Center next Thursday night.

In the most significant official sign yet that the former Duke guard and 2015 Franklin High School standout is expected to be among the top selections June 22, Kennard has accepted an invitation to sit in the green room with other expected top selections, according to his father, Mark Kennard.

RELATED: Duke's Luke Kennard giving his hometown of Franklin plenty of memories this March

That means Luke is likely to be among the first 20 players selected by NBA teams at the high-profile, nationally televised event at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

The NBA Draft starts at 7 p.m., and ESPN will televise the first two rounds.

DraftExpress cited unnamed sources earlier Wednesday saying Kennard was among the latest players to be invited and that it brought the total to 19.

Mark Kennard told WCPO Wednesday night that Luke will definitely attend the draft.

Mark, his wife, Jennifer and Franklin boys' basketball coach Brian Bales are among those expected to be at the Barclays Center that night in support of Luke.

Players have until Friday to notify the league office whether they plan to participate in the NBA Draft Media Day June 21 the day before the actual draft.

Kennard has stayed busy this spring preparing for the NBA Draft. He's worked out with several teams in recent days, including the Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons. He worked out with the Miami Heat Wednesday.

Kennard's stock has risen significantly in recent days. CBS Sports projected the Sacramento Kings to select him at No. 10 in their latest mock draft, and Kennard has also reportedly been in the conversation for the New York Knicks at No. 8.

"He's one of the hottest names in this draft right now because of an impressive pro day during which Kennard blew scouts away with his ability to make long jumpers from basically everywhere on the court," CBS Sports analyst Gary Parrish wrote Wednesday.

A consensus second-team All-American, Kennard, who turns 21 two days after the draft, led Duke in scoring with an average of 19.5 points while shooting 49 percent from the floor this past season. He was nearly 44 percent from outside the arc and nearly 86 percent from the free-throw line.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski advised the Kennard family Luke would be a first-round pick.

"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," Krzyzewski said in a statement when Kennard declared in April. "He is a wonderful person who will immediately be an asset to an NBA team."

The McDonald's All-American and two-time Ohio Mr. Basketball is set to become the area's first four-year high school product to be selected in the first round since Brian Grant (Xavier/Georgetown High School) in 1994.

Former North College Hill standout OJ Mayo is the most recent area high school product to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft when he went No. 3 to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008.