NY2LASPORTS.COM - INTERVIEW WITH KEVON LOONEY
Antonio Curro — NATIONAL RECRUITING DIRECTOR - NY2LASPORTS.COM
Top 10-15 prospects nationally are always a hot commodity and the 2014 class is no exception as a number of talented players continue to field phone calls from coaches across the country. One such prospect is highly regarded wing Kevon Looney of Milwaukee Hamilton High School in Wisconsin. We caught up with the fast rising forward earlier this week to get the latest…
Fresh off an explosive summer campaign that saw his stock boost to consensus top 10-15 status on virtually every major recruiting board in the country, Looney currently holds offers from Tennessee, Marquette, Georgetown, Wisconsin, Michigan State and indicated he recently added ones from Texas and Florida. There is no clear favorite at this point.
“I’m wide open right now,” Looney said, “I’m looking for a school that’s in a good conference, plays up-tempo, and has a coaching staff that I can trust who will push me to be the best I can be.”
Still very early in the process, Looney is already fielding calls from some high major programs and expects that to continue moving forward.
“The difference for me right now is I don’t really like talking on the phone a lot and after this summer I have to do that a lot more than before.” “My dad handles a lot of the calls so that takes some of the pressure off but I’d rather be recruited hard than not at all so it’s fun at times right now.”
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF KEVON LOONEY FROM THE NBA TOP 100 CAMP COURTESY OF NY2LAHOOPS.TV
While no clear favorites have emerged at this point, Looney has a few thoughts on some of the schools already on his trail.
“Florida is a solid program, they’re in the SEC, they have a national championship tradition, and they’ve had some success with pros like Brad Beal last year,” he said.
“Texas just offered so I need to watch them more as they always have a strong program as well.”
In-state power Marquette has been recruiting the top 15 talent as well.
“Marquette is always good and they play very hard,” Looney said. “They have a lot of local kids in their program and it’s fun to watch them play.
The trust and work ethic of Head Coach Buzz Williams has caught the attention of the talented forward as well.
“I really like Buzz. He works his players very hard to be the best and he really seems to support the guys that play for him. Every player I’ve talked to that plays for him or has played for him like him and really enjoy playing for him and that’s important.”
In-state rival Wisconsin is also pursuing the talented wing.
“Wisconsin is always well coached and at the top of the Big Ten. They consistently win and you’re always on a big stage there.”
Looney has a lot to like about the Hoyas as well.
“Georgetown has a nice tradition and they’re always one of the best programs in the country so they definitely interest me.”
Michigan State is also heavily pursuing the Milwaukee Hamilton standout as of late.
“The Spartans are good every year and I watch them from time to time. Coach Fife asked me to come to Midnight Madness but we haven’t decided what we’re going to do this fall.”
Tennessee is also a school that has been actively recruiting Looney for some time.
“I like Tennessee and they are fun to watch at times. They’re in a strong conference and have had some success over the years.”
While North Carolina and Kansas haven’t offered, both are among the many schools expressing interest in Looney as well the past few months.
“I had a chance to talk with Coach Self once and he said they were interested, they’re obviously one of the best programs in the country each year so I would look at them.”
The Tarheels were visible in the month of July at Looney’s games and they’re always in the middle of any recruiting conversation with elite prospects.
“They’re very good each year, they’re in the ACC, and they’ve had a lot of success with lottery picks so they’re an interesting possibility as well.”
With success comes the opportunity to play in high level events and Looney definitely had his fair share.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS OF KEVON LOONEY FROM THIS SUMMER COURTESY OF NY2LAHOOPS.TV
“It’s definitely a lot of fun right now and I had a great summer. I had a chance to play in the Lebron James camp so I got to meet some of the players and watch the USA team. I also had a lot of fun playing with the Milwaukee Rebels and had a chance to play in the Summer Jam at home which had some excellent competition so that was a lot of fun.
Looney was also selected to play in the Under Armour Elite 24 game but could not attend due to state high school association rules prohibiting it, something that was disappointing to the young standout.
“I really wanted to play as it was one of my goals before the summer started so to have an opportunity to play against the best on ESPN and meet guys like Brandon Jennings and James Harden is a once in a lifetime type situation. Not being allowed to play was really disappointing.”
After a huge summer that saw his recruiting stock skyrocket, Looney realizes that he has a target on his back every time he hits the court.
“Not much has changed for me personally but on the court other players are paying attention to me more because of the high ranking. That’s fun though because I look forward to the different matchups and teams are focused on me so I have to produce at a high level and keep improving.”
Despite the high level of attention and added media attention in recent weeks, Looney remains humble and grounded with improvement on his mind.
“It’s fun to go through the process but I need to get better and I’m working to get better each day,” Looney said, “I’m focused on getting stronger, faster, improving my ball handling and continuing to improve my perimeter stroke right now.”
A solid student in the classroom, Looney knows how important that is as well.
“It’s been a fun summer but school is right around the corner and I have to make sure I’m on top of my classes this year. That’s very important for me and my family.”
Looney played with the Milwaukee Rebels during the grassroots travel season.
Note: Antonio Curro is the National Recruiting Editor for NY2LASPORTS.COM, GENERATIONNEXBASKETBALL.COM and 414HOOPS.COM. He is also a national consultant for ESPNU and the HOOPSCOOP.