Vols Continue to Push for 5-Star Kennedy Chandler

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    (Photo via Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, teams across the country have had to get creative with the way they’re recruiting. Teams can’t host prospects on visits in any sport, and those same recruits can’t have coaches come visit them at their homes, either.

    Tennessee’s football team has embraced the new virtual recruiting style, resulting in a huge influx of commitments over the last month. It appears as though UT’s men’s basketball program is taking advantage of the evened playing field the current situation has presented, too.

    Over a month ago, Tennessee made sure to show five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler that he’s still a huge priority for them, reaching out to him for a FaceTime call. Assistant coach Kim English handled that call, and UT has been in constant contact with Chandler since then and throughout the recruiting process.

    This evening, Tennessee is set to virtually host Chandler once again.

    According to Jake Weingarten of StockRisers.com, head coach Rick Barnes and his staff will have a virtual meeting with Chandler and his family on Wednesday night. Chandler previously had a virtual call from Kentucky head coach John Calipari on Saturday. He’s also taken a virtual visit to Duke recently.

    According to the 247Sports Composite ranking, the talented point guard out of Memphis is the No. 13 overall prospect, No. 1 point guard, and No. 2 recruit in the state of Tennessee in the 2021 class. Chandler plays for Briarcrest Christian.

    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.

    At the end of April, Chandler trimmed his list of top 10 teams down to just five, and the Vols made the cut along with Duke, Kentucky, Memphis, and North Carolina.

    Rick Barnes and his coaching staff have made Chandler a big point of emphasis in the 2021 cycle for quite a while now. The Vols appear to be positioned well for Chandler, and he’s also good friends with fellow five-star Paolo Banchero, the No. 1 power forward in the 2021 class. The two have talked about potentially playing together in college, and both five-star prospects visited Knoxville together in October on official visits.

    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. He’s smooth as a ball handler, and he has all the tools to be a successful point guard who can also score.

    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 both his sophomore season and his junior season this past year, winning the title in back-to-back years. 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.