Kenny Koplove Discusses Life as a Freshman in the ACC

By Greg Williams
PA Director of Scouting

Kenny Koplove had a decorated career at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia. His abilities as a shortstop, pitcher and hitter earned him Gatorade Player of the Year honors during his senior season in 2012. Koplove has since taken his two-way talents to Duke University and while he has seen limited time on the mound to date he has adjusted just fine as a shortstop and hitter.

Through the first month of the season Koplove has started in roughly half of the Blue Devils' games. He is currently hitting .333 with a .400 on base percentage. Defensively Koplove has handled 36 of 37 chances cleanly for a .973 fielding percentage. Click Here to see Koplove's complete statistics for 2013.

Prep Baseball Report was able to catch up with Koplove to discuss life as a freshman in the ACC.

                              Koplove Duke

PBR:  Now that your first season of college baseball is in full swing what has been your biggest adjustment to college baseball?

Koplove: The biggest adjustment I had to make was time management.  Between class, practice, games, and sleep I have to be on top of everything. I need to make sure I finish all my class work before the weekend starts because I don’t want to be doing anything school related during an ACC weekend series. The weekend series really takes a lot out of me and since Monday is our off day I have to really catch up on all my schoolwork and sleep on that day.

From a baseball aspect it is all about staying healthy so I can be on the field. I recently tweaked my hamstring so I am spending a lot of time in treatment so I can be on the field at 100%. Arm management is another thing that I have to focus on. This is the most throwing I have ever done so I need to keep on top of my arm strength and maintenance. All of my teammates keep telling me it is a marathon and not a sprint and it is most important to stay healthy so you can actually play.

PBR:  High school players don’t always give a lot of thought to the time constraints placed on college athletes. Could you describe a typical day for you from the time you get out of bed until you turn in for the night?

Koplove: A typical day in the fall I would wake up at 5:30 am and try to grab breakfast. We would have to be at the field at 7:00 am to stretch out and then we would all go to the weight room for an hour lift. After our lift we would then have team practice. I would then have class until about 4:00 pm. After class I would go back to my dorm and try to grab an early dinner and do some homework. I would then try to get a second dinner in around 8:00 pm and try to be in bed ready to go to sleep at 10:00 pm.

Now that the season is here I have class starting at 8:30 am and my latest class ends at 1:00 pm. On game days we usually have to be dressed and ready to go at 3:15 pm for a 6:00 pm game. I probably get back to my dorm around 9:00-9:30 and do my homework then hopefully be in bed by 11:00 pm. Weekends it all depends on what time the game is, but usually we have to be there about two and half hours before the game or three and a half if you need pregame treatment.

PBR:  What type of advice would you give to potential recruits who are just beginning the recruiting process?

Koplove: The best advice I can give is to let the coaches know that you are interested in their school. Contact them early in the process by email or call them. By doing this you’re getting on their radar and potentially making them come watch a game or two. Just as much as a school is recruiting you, you have to recruit the school. Showcases are great stepping-stones to being recruited but don’t become a “showcase player.” Make sure you play in as many games as you can. That is how you become better and the more you play the better chance you have of being seen by a college. It only takes one game to leave a lasting impression on a coach.

PBR:  Many talented high school position players are also talented high school pitchers. Can you describe how difficult it is to be a two-way player at the college level?

Koplove: As I mentioned earlier arm management is key. Coach Pollard is excellent in terms of arm management. He has a set-throwing program for our position players, our pitchers and our two-way guys. Two-way guys obviously have the most throwing of any type of player but he lets us be managers of our own arms. If we are scheduled to throw a bullpen on a certain day and our arms are feeling fatigued he will push back the bullpen so we can give our arms a day to rest. That is the difficult part of being a two-way player but it has a ton of benefits. As a shortstop I understand how pitchers are going to pitch certain batters and that allows me to position myself in ways that would help me get balls that I may not normally get to. Being a two-way guy is just the best of both worlds.

PBR:  What are your plans for summer baseball and do you envision remaining a two-way player throughout your college career?

Koplove: This summer I will be playing with the Chatham Anglers in the Cape Cod league. I am really excited about this. My brother played for them when I was three and I spent the entire summer up at the Cape. I am looking forward to playing against the best competition college has to offer and look forward to getting better.

I have primarily been playing SS at Duke and haven’t really been pitching that much. I am hoping to get a few more innings on the mound but I love playing shortstop and that is what I want to do in the future. With that said, I will do whatever it takes to help Duke win whether it is pitch more or play shortstop more.

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