The outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States has not only brought the sports world to a screeching halt, but it’s put recruiting visits across the country on hold as well. But that’s not stopping Tennessee from showing one of their top targets in the 2021 recruiting cycle in men’s basketball that he’s still a major priority.
Kennedy Chandler, a five-star point guard who plays for Briarcrest Christian in Memphis, has been one of the Vols’ highest priorities in the 2021 cycle for quite some time. Tennessee’s coaches have visited Chandler multiple times, and he’s been to UT’s campus a few times, including an official visit back on October 25th along with fellow five-star prospect Paolo Banchero.
Right now, Chandler can’t visit Tennessee and Tennessee’s coaches can’t visit him, but the Vols are still finding ways to show Chandler he’s on their mind.
According to an interview Chandler did with Jake Weingarten of StockRisers.com, Tennessee is one of the schools that has reached out to Chandler via FaceTime to talk with him while the US is currently in the COVID-19 pandemic. Tennessee assistant Kim English recently had a FaceTime call with Chandler, as did Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis. Other teams, such as Duke, Michigan, and Kentucky, have also been calling and texting Chandler as well.
The uncertain nature of the sports world hasn’t altered what Chandler wants to do in the future for his recruitment, though.
“No, it hasn’t changed anything because I still have to take my other visits,” Chandler told Weingarten about his visit schedule.
Tennessee, Michigan, Syracuse, Ole Miss, and Florida State have all gotten official visits from Chandler, and Kentucky got him on an unofficial trip in February along with Duke getting him on campus for an unofficial visit in January.
Back in January, Chandler made a top 10 list of teams that included Tennessee. The Vols were joined by Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, Memphis, Michigan, Kentucky, Florida State, Ole Miss, and USC.
But that list could be trimmed soon.
“Decision is still questionable right now,” Chandler told Weingarten. “I’m going to cut my list [again], I just don’t know when.”
Chandler is the No. 15 overall prospect, No. 2 point guard, and No. 2 player in the state of Tennessee in the 2021 cycle per the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Though he’s just 6-foot-1 and only just finished his junior year, Chandler is already a match-up problem for teams. He’s quick and can create his own shot at all three levels of the court. Chandler is capable of hitting threes but tends to use his quickness and play-making ability to drive to the hoop. Once there, he’s good at finishing, but he can also dish the ball back out and find open teammates. He has good vision and exceptional passing ability all over the court. He looks like an absolute star as a floor general. He still needs to work on his consistency as a three-point shooter, but everything else about his game is superb.
As a sophomore for Briarcrest Christian, Chandler averaged 19.5 points, four rebounds, 3.6 steals, and three assists per game according to MaxPreps. He was also voted TSSAA Division II Class AA Mr. Basketball for his sophomore season and his junior season this past year, winning the title in back-to-back seasons. As a junior, Chandler averaged 22.2 points and 4.3 assists. He helped lead Briarcrest to the state title game where they lost 50-47 to Knoxville Catholic. Chandler totaled 13 points and five assists in the game.
During the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in April through July of last year, Chandler played for the MOKAN Elite squad. In 19 total games during the EYBL, Chandler averaged 14.7 points, 5.9 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.2 steals a game while shooting 50.5 percent overall, 31.1 percent from three, and 72.9 percent from the free throw line according to D1Circuit.com.
In football, Tennessee signed two players who went to the same high school as Chandler and are friends with him. Four-star defensive tackle Omari Thomas and three-star running back Jabari Small attended Briarcrest Christian, and both signed with the Vols in the 2020 class in football.
Tennessee doesn’t have a prospect committed to them in their 2021 class at the moment, but the Vols did sign an elite group of prospects in the 2020 cycle. Five-star guards Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson were joined by four-star forward Corey Walker Jr. in signing with Tennessee in the fall signing period for the 2020 class.