The college basketball season is officially over, and all sights have already been set on the 2021-22 season. For Tennessee fans, that means getting ready to enjoy another five-star guard prospect, one that is expected to lead the team from day one.
Kennedy Chandler will be the latest elite guard to join Rick Barnes in Knoxville, following in the steps of Josiah-Jordan James, Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer. With Johnson and Springer already off to the NBA, Chandler will be tasked with replacing quite a bit of production right off of the bat.
The 2021 top 20 overall prospect will give Tennessee a legitimate NBA prospect running the point, which is something that they haven’t had since Jordan Bone’s final season. That level of athlete playing that position can truly make everything go, which is exactly what Barnes is hoping for.
Following the Geico Nationals, ESPN gave a scouting report on Chandler, who was one of the stars of the event. Here’s Jonathan Givony on the Memphis native.
He’s one of the quickest end-to-end players you’ll find outside the NBA ranks, and he significantly improved as a perimeter shooter, hitting 41% of his 3-pointers on the season, per Synergy, with a significant chunk of his attempts coming off the dribble when opponents went under on ball screens.
Chandler has the ability to get anywhere he wants on the floor. He can stop and start with a change of pace and has elite footwork and ball-handling skills. That, paired with the fact that he can make every pass in the book using either hand and on both sides of the floor, gives him significant potential to grow into. He’s disruptive and engaged on the defensive end as well, often using his quickness and anticipation skills to get in passing lanes and generate turnovers and surprising at times getting off his feet for blocks.
Givony went on to compare Chandler to Mike Conley, who has played in the NBA since 2007 at a high level.
Chandler led his team (Sunrise) to a championship appearance in the Geico Nationals, but couldn’t finish the job in the final game. He registered 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in a Friday semifinal matchup.
Per 247Sports, Chandler is the 13th-ranked player in the class. The 6-1, 165 pound guard will have a chance to play alongside of Josiah-Jordan James, Victor Bailey Jr. and Santiago Vescovi in the Tennessee backcourt. He joins the Volunteers with four-star guard Jahmai Mashack, and French guard Quentin Diboundje. Barnes isn’t quite done just yet either, still waiting on a final decision from John Fulkerson, while also looking to add another post player regardless.
Make no mistake about it though, whoever joins the program will be playing on Kennedy Chandler’s basketball team. We’ll see how quickly he adjusts to the college game and how he handles the pressure next winter.