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    (Photo courtesy of Kennedy Chandler’s Twitter)

    Tennessee basketball is trending for one of the best players in the country following Kennedy Chandler’s commitment to the Vols on Friday afternoon.

    Following Tennessee’s addition of Chandler, the No. 1 point guard in the country according to multiple recruiting outlets, the Vols are now trending for 2021 five-star power forward Paolo Banchero. 247Sports basketball analyst Jerry Meyer put in a crystal ball for Banchero in Tennessee’s favor on Friday evening.

    Meyer’s crystal ball prediction of Banchero is the first prediction out of five to go in Tennessee’s favor. Washington leads the way with three crystal ball predictions for Banchero, while Kentucky has one. Meyer has logged 1,370 predictions, and has been correct 75.69 percent of the time.

    Banchero is an unanimous five-star prospect by 247, Rivals and ESPN. 247 and ESPN consider Banchero the No. 3 overall player in the country, while Rivals lists the 6-foot-9, 235-pounder as the second-best player in the nation. 247 and ESPN consider him the best power forward in the country. Rivals considers him the second-best.

    Tennessee basketball assistant coach Kim English has been running point on Banchero’s recruitment and has played a pivotal role in the Vols being a serious contender for the Seattle, WA native’s services. The Vols made Banchero’s top six earlier this year on April 29 along with Washington, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Duke and Arizona.

    Chandler and Banchero’s friendship is well-documented. Both have openly talked about playing college basketball together.

    The two were teammates at the Team USA mini camp in Colorado in July of 2019. The pair played really well together at the event and its no coincidence Tennessee got them on campus the same weekend for an official visit in October.

    Banchero also took official visits to North Carolina, Kentucky and Duke in the fall, and then took an official visit to Gonzaga in January. John Calipari visited Banchero in February while Tennessee assistant coach Kim English was in to see him a handful of times since the fall.

    Will Chandler be the domino that pushes Tennessee over the edge for Banchero? Only time will tell, but Meyer seems to think so, and it sure won’t hurt UT’s recruiting pitch.

      (Photo via Jon Lopez/Nike)

      It was quite the afternoon for Tennessee’s basketball program.

      Just after 1 p.m. ET on Sportscenter’s Instagram account, five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler went live with ESPN national recruiting director Paul Biancardi to announce his commitment to the Vols over Kentucky, Memphis, North Carolina and Duke. The decision sent Twitter into a frenzy.

      Here’s a look at the reaction on social media Chandler’s commitment received.

      We’ll start with Tennessee’s social media account. Once again, @Vol_Hoops won the day with several elite tweets.

      Then, several former Vols got in on the action. Two-time SEC Player of the Year, Grant Williams congratulated Chandler, while also checking in on five-star power forward Paolo Banchero, who is yet another elite prospect that Tennessee has positioned itself well with.

      Current Vol Davonte Gaines also got in on the action of checking in with Banchero.

      Banchero let “Ticket” know he’s been good lately.

      Gaines also checked in on the other elite target Tennessee is after, five-star power forward Jabari Smith.

      Smith appeared to acknowledge the fireworks that took place in Knoxville on Friday.

      Jordan Bowden celebrated in a very Jordan Bowden-type way.

      Lamonte Turner himself took note of the decade Tennessee basketball is in the midst of. It is the ‘Decade of the Vols’ after all.

      Chandler received a very cool congratulations from current Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young. An Oklahoma native, Young stayed home and played for the Sooners.

      Ja Morant, current Memphis Grizzlies point guard and soon-to-be NBA Rookie of the Year, was looking forward to seeing who Chandler was going to commit to. Morant and Chandler have formed a tight relationship, as the two frequently work out together.

      Jordan McRae, the Orange Mamba, chimed in on the latest addition to the Tennessee basketball family.

      Former guard Kevin Punter took note as well.

      Former Tennessee offensive lineman Ramon Foster celebrated.

      Omari Thomas celebrated. The current Vol football defensive tackle played center on the basketball court alongside Chandler.

      Chandler, Thomas and current Vols freshman running back Jabari Small have been best friends since the second grade, and attended Briarcrest Christian in Memphis together.

      2021 Tennessee quarterback commit Kaidon Salter was excited to see the news.

      2021 Tennessee wide receiver commit Julian Nixon was also excited to see the news.

      There was plenty of reaction from local media members.

      Multiple national media outlets and national media members took note of Tennessee basketball’s big addition as well.

      To round out the social media buzz, current Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Chris Harris, who is the cousin of Kennedy Chandler, sent his congratulations.

         

        (Photo via @KChandler_1 on Twitter)

        2021 five-star point guard Kennedy Chandler has committed to Tennessee over Kentucky, Duke, Memphis and North Carolina, he announced on Instagram Live Friday afternoon.

        “Coach Rick Barnes, they have been recruiting me ever since they knew who I was — ever since Day 1,” Chandler said to ESPN’s Paul Biancardi on Instagram Live. “(Assistant) Coach Kim English and them, they recruited me hard. On my official visit, it felt like home. It was my first official visit and I really liked it.

        “I’ll be looking forward to winning and going to the Final Four and winning the national championship and bringing energy and excitement to Thompson-Boling Arena.”

        Chandler is considered the top point guard by multiple recruiting services. Rivals has Chandler ranked as the top point guard in the country and No. 10 overall player, while ESPN ranks the Memphis, TN native as the top point guard as well, but the No. 12 overall player in the country. Both outlets list him as a five-star. 247Sports lists Chandler as a four-star, but the second-best point guard in the class of 2021, and the No. 19 overall player in the country.

        In his commitment video that Sportscenter posted on its social media accounts, Chandler stated that he “will always rep my city, but I am going to play for my state.”

        He is the highest rated prospect (No. 10) to commit to the Vols in the Rivals.com era. Chandler is the fourth five-star to pick Tennessee in the last three classes.

        The 6-foot-1, 160 lbs. point guard is set to play his senior season of high school basketball at Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas. Chandler had previously played his first three years of high school basketball at Briarcrest Christian School, which is located just outside of Memphis.

        Tennessee, Michigan, Syracuse, Ole Miss, and Florida State have all hosted Chandler on official visits, while Kentucky hosted him on an unofficial trip in February. Duke also hosted Chandler on campus for an unofficial visit in January.

        Rick Barnes and his coaching staff made Chandler a big point of emphasis in the 2021 recruiting cycle. Chandler took multiple visits to UT’s campus in person, and Tennessee’s staff conducted multiple calls with the five-star guard since the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shut down recruiting visits.

        “Rick Barnes is a great coach,” Chandler said. “He is going to be a Hall of Fame coach one day. He tells the stories about the point guards he coached at Texas like D.J. Augustin and T.J. Ford and them. He said I could be the next T.J. Ford and I am looking forward to him coaching me.”

        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.

        Chandler is Tennessee’s first commitment of the 2021 class. The Vols are coming off a 2020 recruiting cycle in which the Vols inked the No. 4 overall class in the country. Tennessee signed a pair of five-star guards in Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson, but neither are considered a true point guard like Chandler. Four-star power forward Corey Walker Jr. rounded out the recruiting class.

        The Vols landing Chandler could have a huge impact on the rest of Tennessee’s 2021 class. Chandler is friends with fellow five-star Paolo Banchero — the No. 1 power forward in the 2021 cycle — and could be a big draw for someone like five-star Jabari Smith as well. Both Chandler and Banchero took official visits to Tennessee’s campus together back in October of last year.

        “I am looking to bring Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith and Jahmai Mashack,” Chandler said.

          (Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

          Editor’s note: This story has been updated to address a statement the University of Tennessee released late Thursday afternoon to clarify Chancellor Plowman’s comments in regards to tailgating earlier in the day.

          University of Tennessee chancellor Donde Plowman announced on Thursday afternoon that there will be no on-campus tailgating if Tennessee football is played in 2020.

          “We don’t know what will happen with football yet,” Plowman said in a livestreamed student update. “We’re hopeful they’ll play. If they do, it will not be to a full stadium, and it will likely be significant reduced capacity. If we do play football, we won’t have tailgating on campus.”

          The University released a statement later Thursday afternoon clarifying Chancellor Plowman’s comments, stating on Twitter that “details about individual fans’ ability to tailgate on campus are yet to be determined.”

          “Whatever we do will follow recommended guidelines from public health officials,” the University wrote. “We will communicate specific information as decisions continue to be made.

          “Game days will look different this fall. There will be no tailgates organized by the university, including student organizations. There is a lot of uncertainty about plans for football in general.”

          Tailgating feels like a minor detail at this point following a devastating week around college football. The Pac-12 and Big Ten both decided to cancel fall sports earlier this week in hopes that a spring season could be played. Only three Power Five conferences — the ACC, Big 12 and — are still on track to play as scheduled.

          The SEC is still scheduled to begin its 10-game conference-only schedule on Sept. 26. Fall practice is scheduled to begin for the Vols this coming Monday, Aug. 17. Practice was originally scheduled to begin Aug. 4.

          Tennessee’s 10-game conference-only schedule, as announced last Friday by the SEC, consists of home games against Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri and Texas A&M; and road games against Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, South Carolina and Vanderbilt. The SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta is scheduled for Sept. 19.

          The complete schedule that includes dates for all 10 of the games has not yet been released. It is believed that the SEC will release the full schedule next week.

            (Photo via @KaidonSalter_7 on Twitter)

            Vols 2021 quarterback commit Kaidon Salter will enroll at Tennessee in January, he announced on Wednesday afternoon.

            “Hey (Cedar Hill High School) , I enjoyed every moment on and off the field as a longhorn, but it’s time to do what’s right for my FAMILY and my FUTURE,” Salter tweeted. “VOL NATION SEE YOU IN JANUARY!”

            The Cedar Hill, Texas native committed to Tennessee over Auburn earlier this year on May 10. He’s considered a four-star prospect and a top 100 player by 247Sports. He’s ranked as the third-best dual-threat quarterback in the country, the 76th-best player in the country and the 13th-best player in the state of Texas. He was named to the Elite 11 last month after competing in the Elite 11 Finals in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

            Salter enjoyed a breakout junior season in 2019, his first at Cedar Hill High School, which he led to a 9-3 record and a Texas Class 6A Division II second-round playoff appearance. Salter threw for 2,550 yards, 28 touchdowns, and six interceptions. He completed 60.8 percent of his passes, while running for 616 yards and 10 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry.

            He has an encouraging athletic profile that includes impressive track and field participation in the 300-meter hurdles, high jump, long jump, and triple jump.

            The opening week of the 2020 season for Class 5A and Class 6A in Texas is delayed by a full month. Salter’s Cedar Hill team won’t play its first game until Oct. 2, when they’re scheduled to play Arlington (Texas) High School at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

            The plan for the University Interscholastic League, the state’s governing body for high school athletics, is to hold its Class 5A and Class 6A state championships at some point in January. Salter’s Wednesday announcement alluded to him enrolling early at Tennessee even if he is forced to decide between enrolling early or playing deep into the playoffs. He has been planning on enrolling early for months now.

            Tennessee currently has four scholarship quarterbacks in redshirt senior Jarrett Guarantano, redshirt sophomore JT Shrout, sophomore Brian Maurer and true freshman Harrison Bailey. With Guarantano set to graduate following the 2020 season, Salter will be the fourth scholarship quarterback on the roster and will likely be stepping into a quarterback battle heading into the 2021 season.

              (Photo by Jake Nichols/RTI)

              Tennessee’s Jarrett Guarantano was one of 48 quarterbacks named to the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watch list, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Educational Foundation announced Tuesday. The award is presented annually to the top senior and upperclassman quarterback set to graduate with their class.

              Johnny Unitas, who the award is named after, was an 18-year veteran of the NFL, who played his collegiate career at the University of Louisville before joining the Baltimore Colts in 1958. His career passing numbers include 40,239 yards, 290 touchdowns and throwing a touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games.

              Guarantano was one of nine SEC quarterbacks named to the list. Mac Jones (Alabama), Feleipe Franks (Arkansas), Kyle Trask (Florida), Jamie Newman (Georgia), Terry Wilson (Kentucky), KJ Costello (Mississippi State), Shawn Robinson (Missouri) and Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) joined Guarantano.

              The Vols redshirt senior quarterback enters his fifth year in the program. Guarantano is coming off of a redshirt junior season in which he played in 13 games and started in seven. He led Tennessee with 2,158 passing yards and 16 touchdowns, while completing 59 percent of his passes. His 14.2 yards per completion ranked best in the SEC.

              Guarantano started all 12 games as a redshirt sophomore in 2018. He threw for 1,907 yards and 12 touchdowns to go along with just three interceptions, which was the fewest by a Vols’ starting quarterback since Condredge Holloway also threw only three picks in 1972. Guarantano set the UT record for consecutive pass attempts (166) without an interception, breaking the old mark of 143 set by Casey Clausen in 2003. Guarantano completed 62.2 percent of his passes and finished with a 140.97 passer rating.

              The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder became Tennessee’s starting quarterback in the second half of the 2017 season. As a redshirt freshman, Guarantano started six games and appeared in nine contests. He finished with 997 passing yards and four touchdowns with a completion percentage of 62.0 percent.

              Guarantano redshirted as a true freshman in 2016 after signing with the Vols as one of the top-ranked quarterbacks in the country out of Bergen Catholic High School in Lodi, New Jersey.