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UK recruiting target Kennedy Chandler “has more tools than people realize”

Tennessee Mr. Basketball Kennedy Chandler with his father Kylan.

By LARRY VAUGHT

Yahoo Sports and Rivals.com basketball writer Krysten Peek says point guard Kennedy Chandler is a “top 10 player nationally” who is gaining more national recognition.

“I think he has more tools than people realize. Most see him as a playmaker and shifty point guard. But he has hops. He can play above the rim,” Peek said. “He’s a very versatile 6-1 point guard. I remember his first time at USA Basketball and he played with confidence because he knew he belonged because he knows he’s a good player.”

Several prep schools reached out to Chandler about playing for them his senior season but his family’s relationship with the Mokan AAU program, based in Kansas, moved Sunrise Christian Academcy to the top of his list when he decided to lead Briarcrest Christian in Memphis.

“We are familiar with the family at Sunrise. He helped them win a Peach Jam title. They know him, he knows them. It’s a great fit for both,” Kylan Chandler, Kennedy’s father, said. “He’s ready for the move and the challenge.”

Chandler’s explosive speed could be his biggest attribute — and obviously one reason he’s a major UK recruiting targer.. His father says he’s got faster as he got older in part because the footwork drills he’s done along with the way he’s worked with strength coaching and training on his lateral movement.

“When he was younger his athleticism was not like it is now. He’s getting better and is able to go to the hole, take you off the dribble and dunk on you,” Chandler’s father said. “It’s kind of crazy how all of a sudden he hit a spurt and his athleticism took off. It has been a great last year and a half.”

Chandler has found a way to stay basketball-ready during COVID-19 thanks to workouts arranged by his trainer, Jevonte Holmes. Recently they’ve had scrimmages which have included players such as Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant (the likely NBA rookie of the year), five-star prospect Moussa Cisse, NBA players Ian Clark and Cameron Payne, Memphis sophomore DJ Jeffries, a one-time UK commit, and Memphis junior Alex Lomax.

“Just playing against older, stronger guys that think and react quicker is good for him,” Kylan Chandler said. “They all love and respect Kennedy. Morant has given him some really good advice and also really challenged him because Kennedy is not used to playing against guys faster than him.”

Kylan Chandler says there’s a lot for the family to like about Kentucky.

“Great staff, Calipari produces players who get to the next level, style of play is something I really like,” the recruit’s father said. “He lets his guards play. He plays with three guards most of the time. It’s just a great school and they have been recruiting him a long time.”

He admits they hear often from Kentucky fans on social media.

“A lot of Kentucky fans follow Kennedy (on social media) and they are always commenting about him coming to Kentucky,” Kylan Chandler said. “Kennedy is a very humble kid. If you see him play, he’s not emotional. He’s let his game speak for itself. He doesn’t mind interviews and understands that media comes with it and you just answer to the best of your ability. Same with social media.”

His father hopes he’ll pick a school that plays an uptempo style on offense along with an aggressive, man-to-man defense because that’s what fits Kennedy Chandler best.

“He knows any school he picks that he has to go in and compete. He doesn’t want anyone to promise him this or that,” Kylan Chandler said. “He is ready to go at full pace and do what he needs to compete and hopefully start his freshman year. That’s why it (his college choice) is all about the right fit.”

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