THE Sports & Swag Report

SEC March Madness: Vandy’s Luke Kornet could help NBA contenders right now

Luke Kornet Vandy

Vanderbilt is a team to watch for March Madness, due in large part to Luke Kornet. (Photo Credit: AP/NewsOK)

Much like his Father, Frank, Luke Kornet is having great success as a Vanderbilt Commodore.  Also, like his Father, that success is potentially paving his path to the NBA. However, Luke has the skill set that could take him to new heights his Father never really enjoyed at the next level.

Frank Kornet, is unquestionably one of the best players to ever wear a Vanderbilt Commodores uniform. The elder Kornet, an SEC All-Conference player as a senior in 1989, went on to be drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. However, he ended up playing only two seasons (89 games), averaging 1.9 points. His son has a shot to be much better. In fact, with his skill set, Luke Kornet could help some NBA contenders almost immediately.

Although, Kornet could put on a few pounds at 7’0″ 250 lbs, he has adequate size. His claim to fame is his ability to step out and knock down perimeter jumpers. He’s not a great shooter at nearly 35 percent from three point range, but at his size that’s more than adequate.

Knocking down perimeter j’s is one strength, protecting the rim is another, which is of course essential to any team’s success. Kornet, ranked third in the SEC in blocks at two per game, behind Arkansas’ Moses Kingsley (2.6 per game) and Texas A&M’s Robert Williams (2.5 per game).

With four years of college ball under his belt, he also has the maturity so many young players don’t have.

So, he has the skill. He has the maturity. Then, why couldn’t Kornet leave Vanderbilt and help an NBA squad right now.

Before you go Lee Corso on me and say, not so fast my friend, think of a team like the Cleveland Cavaliers that’s missing Kevin Love right now. Filling a role off the bench could be very possible. Think of a team like the Golden State Warriors who lack size, and are also missing Kevin Durant. Kornet, could also be a nice fit with the Houston Rockets who love to shoot three’s more than Donald Trump likes to tweet.

We’re not talking about Kornet coming in and being a star. We’re just talking about the big guy filling a role and making an impact.

Vandy fans are hoping Luke Kornet continues to make an impact and show why he’s quickly grown from the player that wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school, into the player that’s a legitimate NBA prospect. He’ll get that opportunity Thursday in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament against the Northwestern Wildcats. The Commodores come in to Salt Lake City as the ninth seed in the West Region. They look to improve on winning only one game in their last five tournament appearances.

Northwestern, the eighth seed, may be the biggest story of the tournament so far. The Wildcats are making their first ever tourney appearance. The Wildcats first NCAA appearance continues an incredible year of sports in Chicago. First, the Cubs took the world by storm, winning their first World Series in nearly 100 years. Now, it’s Northwestern in the NCAA’s.

Just like most other 8 vs 9 matchups, both teams come in evenly matched. The Wildcats give up only 65 points per game. However, their defense will be put to the test by Vandy, a team that averages making 10 three-pointers per game. If Vandy is hitting their perimeter shots, they should be ok. Despite losing 15 games, Vandy comes in as one of the hotter teams in the SEC and the nation.

For Luke Kornet, it’s time that he introduce himself to the rest of the nation. The SEC knows what the big man from Lantana Texas can do. So, do a lot of the NBA scouts and GM’s that now have him on their draft radar. With a couple of wins and a nice stat line, everyone else will know, not only about Luke Kornet, but also the impressive job Bryce Drew has done so far in Nashville.

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