Ranking the Contenders: Kennedy Chandler
Kennedy Chandler, the top-ranked point guard in the 2021 class, solidified his standing as a elite recruit with his breakout showing at last summer’s Nike Peach Jam.
The five-star prospect has kept a busy recruitment and narrowed the focus of his recruitment down to a final five earlier this spring. It will be either Duke, Kentucky, Memphis, North Carolina or Tennessee for Chandler, and his addition could immediately catapult one of his finalists into the national title conversation.
Rivals.com Basketball Analyst Corey Evans ranks the contenders for Chandler's commitment.
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The Vols sit in the best spot for the five-star guard at this point. Rick Barnes' Tennessee outfit has had a lot of success based with the play of underrated but hard-playing standouts, but the Vols have since turned into one of the more successful programs on the recruiting trial. That will not change in the 2021 class. It's fair to classify Chandler as a Tennessee lean, and there is a decent chance that he pushes for someone such as Paolo Banchero and/or Jabari Smith to join him in Knoxville. Chandler hasn’t been willing to outline a timeline, but if does decide soon, the Vols would be the choice.
Kentucky may not have as great of a need at the lead guard position as it does in most seasons. Yes, the Wildcats will see Davion Mintz graduate after the season, but there is also a decent chance that Devin Askew returns for his sophomore season. Keep an eye on Skyy Clark, too, who has not been shy about his deep affection for UK and could reclassify into the 2021 class later in the year. Chandler and Banchero have often talked about playing together in college and if they were to do so, UK would be able to offer that opportunity.
Memphis remains involved with Moussa Cisse in the 2020 class, but no one has become a bigger priority in the 2021 class for the Tigers than Chandler. Penny Hardaway has known Chandler dating back to his pre-high school days, which should benefit Memphis. However, Chandler deciding to leave Briarcrest Christian for his senior year of high school does not help the Tigers' cause. Memphis is playing catch up and Chandler no longer living right around the corner makes the climb a bit steeper.
The supposed dream school for Chandler, Duke remains involved for the five-star’s commitment. The Blue Devils' success in the backcourt in the 2020 class, bringing in Jeremy Roach and D.J. Steward, could come back to haunt them as they both may remain in Durham past the upcoming season, leaving less room and fewer opportunities for Chandler. It does help that Duke connected so quickly with Chandler and could accommodate his often-discussed potential package deal with Banchero. Coach K’s bunch may have a greater need on the wings and in the frontcourt, but would never say no to someone of Chandler’s talent level.
5. NORTH CAROLINA
Possibly the sleeper in the Chandler sweepstakes? North Carolina, despite its blueblood pedigree, has received the least amount of talk in Chandler's recruitment. There could be a major need at the lead guard spot after the season, but the Tar Heels are in major catch-up mode and have continued to broaden their recruiting board in recent weeks. Carolina is in the race but it is a distant fifth.