This much we know from the first weekend of the July live period: Brother Rice’s Marquise Kennedy has arrived.
In the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s July primer last week, it was stated that the recruitment of Brother Rice guard Marquise Kennedy was “just silly” and “laughable, really.”
After all, it’s very rare and odd for a player ranked among the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 15 prospects in the class to be without an offer heading into the summer of their senior year.
The recruitment of Kennedy is no longer silly or laughable.
There wasn’t a player in the Class of 2019 who raised his stock more in the eyes of college coaches this past weekend than the athletic 6-1 point guard.
Heading into the July evaluation period, Kennedy had offers from Bradley and Division II Lewis. That was it. And those two both came in late June.
“I was feeling a little frustrated,” says Kennedy of his thoughts heading into the summer. “I was getting impatient, especially with everyone telling me to be patient. Everyone kept saying, ‘Be patient, be patient. It will come.’ But I didn’t see the results.”
He started to ask his parents, “What’s going on?” The answer, Kennedy says, was always, “It’s in God’s hands.”
Now Kennedy, who is inching his way up towards top 10 status in the senior class in Illinois, has opened the door for his college basketball future. He’s a hot commodity among mid-major programs. Since that Bradley offer, he’s received offers from Missouri State, Hofstra, Northeastern, UNC-Greensboro, Loyola, Towson and Southern Utah in the past week.
By Monday morning, Kennedy was able to take a deep breath, along with a sigh of relief.
“It feels amazing,” Kennedy admits. “It’s been an amazing week. You finally see the appreciation and how the hard work has paid off. I now look at the options that are out there for me, whether it’s an East Coast school, West Coast school or here in the Midwest. They are there for me.”
And about those options …
It’s all so new and fresh for Kennedy. At this point he says he can’t even begin to sort it out yet. He’s only been on one unofficial visit –– to Western Illinois –– and is set to play July out and not worry about the recruiting just yet.
“I will see how far I can go here in July,” says Kennedy.
Kennedy was simply too talented, too fast and athletic in the backcourt to not be recruited more heavily. He catches your eye with his explosiveness off the dribble and ability to turn the corner and relentlessly attack the rim. Kennedy has that extra gear in him.
But the strides he’s made as a point guard is what has really put him at a new level. Kennedy plays with a better pace and patience while still maintaining that attack mentality.
“I am way more comfortable with the ball in my hands,” says Kennedy, who played more off the ball at Crete-Monee before transferring to Brother Rice prior to his junior season. “Coach [Bobby] Frasor put the ball in my hands and over time I felt more and more comfortable and confident with it.”
When you add the fact he does things guards don’t typically do, including rebounding and an uncanny ability to block shots — he blocked 37 shots as a point guard this past season for the Crusaders — it’s all coming together for a player who was overlooked a little too long.
How about his stat line from the six games he played this past weekend with the Illinois Wolves? In the give games he played more than 18 minutes a game, Kennedy averaged 18.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game. How efficient was he? He shot a whopping 67 percent from the field and was 8 of 14 from beyond the arc.
It’s not as if he didn’t produce as a junior at Brother Rice. He averaged 17.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists a game. Plus, he made a living at the line where he shot 81 percent from the free-throw line.
It did take a little while for Kennedy to be fully appreciated by college coaches. But in the end the prophetic words of “patience” were spot-on.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the City/Suburban Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport