BREAKING: VFL Kennedy Chandler Taken in Second Round of 2022 NBA Draft

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    Former Tennessee freshman phenom Kennedy Chandler has officially been selected in the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

    With the eighth pick in the second round, the San Antonio Spurs selected Chandler and then immediately traded Chandler’s draft rights to the Memphis Grizzlies.

    Chandler, a Memphis native, will now be playing for his home city’s NBA team after playing for the flagship university of the state.

    Chandler makes up Tennessee’s sixth NBA draft pick in the last four years. Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, and Jordan Bone were all drafted in 2019, followed by Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer in 2021. Chandler also becomes Tennessee’s 12th NBA Draft pick in the last 20 years.

    The Grizzlies finished the 2021-2022 NBA season with a record of 56-26 and finished second in the western conference regular-season standings. In addition, the Grizzlies also made it to the Western Conference Semi-Finals but lost to the Warriors in six games.

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    As a Memphis native, Chandler has become great friends with Memphis superstar Ja Morant. Throughout Tennessee’s season, Morant routinely gave Chandler shoutouts on social media. The two players have been friends, on and off the court, for a long time now.

    Morant quickly tweeted out his excitement to be teammates with Chandler late Thursday night.

    Chandler was dynamite in his first season at Tennessee as he helped lead the Vols to their first SEC Tournament title since 1979. Despite a few rough patches throughout the season, let’s call them freshman mistakes, Chandler was Tennessee’s starting point guard the entire season. Chandler’s ability to score was evident from day one, but what is more impressive though is how his defense improved throughout the season. By the end of the Vols’ season, Chandler had significantly improved his on-ball and off-ball defense knowing how important that would be to his play at the next level.

    Kennedy Chandler finished the season as Tennessee’s leader in scoring, assists, and steals. In 34 games played, the freshman from Memphis averaged 13.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game.

    It does seem as though Chandler slid on draft night. In five mock drafts that were examined by Rocky Top Insider one week ago, all five had Chandler as a first-round pick, ranging from picks 19 to 27.

    “I feel like it was the right decision for me to make,” Chandler said while speaking with NBA TV’s Andy Katz in May about declaring for the NBA Draft. “Just for my speed to translate over to the NBA, my quickness, and the way I can defend with the ball. I talked to coach Barnes about the decision as well. He also felt like it was right for me to enter my name into the draft and I told him how I felt. But I feel like my game translates great to the league, and my quickness and my speed.”

    After just one season in Knoxville, Chandler was named a Second Team All-SEC player and was selected to the All-SEC Freshman team.

    Recent NBA Draft Picks from Tennessee:

    • 2022 – Kennedy Chandler – San Antonio Spurs/Memphis Grizzlies – Round 2, Pick 8
    • 2021 – Keon Johnson – Los Angeles Clippers – Round 1, Pick 21
    • 2021 – Jaden Springer – Philadelphia 76ers – Round 1, Pick 28
    • 2019 – Grant Williams – Boston Celtics – Round 1, Pick 22
    • 2019 – Admiral Schofield – Philadelphia/Washington – Round 2, Pick 42
    • 2019 – Jordan Bone – New Orleans/ATL/PHL/Detriot – Round 2, Pick 57
    • 2015 – Josh Richardson – Miami Heat – Round 2, Pick 40
    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.

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