Tennessee Volunteers PG Kennedy Chandler Says He’s Entering NBA Draft, Hiring Agent
Tennessee freshman Kennedy Chandler will enter the 2022 NBA Draft and waive his remaining college eligibility by hiring an agent, he told Malika Andrews on ESPN’s NBA Today on Tuesday. .
“I’m staying in the NBA draft and signing with Rep 1 Sports agent Ryan Davis,” Chandler told ESPN.
Chandler, the No. 17 ESPN 100 prospect, was named All-SEC second team and freshman team after averaging 13.9 points, 4.7 assists and 2.2 steals in 31 minutes per game this season.
Tennessee won its first SEC tournament championship since 1979, with Chandler receiving MVP honors. Chandler led a Vols defense that ranked No. 3 in the nation, according to Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, helping the team finish 27-8.
Chandler, a top 10 rookie at Sunrise Christian Academy, was tested in college combat, leading his high school team to the Geico National Championship finals, then winning a gold medal with USA Basketball at the FIBA World Championship U19. It had its ups and downs in the early months of the season, with Tennessee playing a tough schedule and Chandler struggling at times against some of the best defenses he faced early on.
“I learned a lot this season, from start to finish,” Chandler said. “I knew it was going to be tough and that Coach Barnes would put together a tough schedule. I learned a lot, especially from that loss to Texas at the end of January, especially since I wasn’t in the game at the end. I feel like I really started to grow after that and it changed the type of player I am after a heart to heart I had with TJ Ford.”
Chandler became arguably the best point guard in college basketball over the months of February and March, helping Tennessee win 13 of their last 15 games, while becoming more of a vocal leader, shooting 47% from 3 points, improving his midfield. range play and play lock defense thanks to his speed and 6-foot-5 wingspan.
“Adjusting to the speed of the college game was the big thing in the beginning. Coach Barnes made me watch a lot of Chris Paul and Tony Parker movies. Learning to do different readings and understanding that every team is going to have a different game plan. I’m lucky to have a close relationship with Ja Morant, which has helped me. Being able to pick his brain on what he sees in the game and how he sees it. Also Trae Young, because we are both part of the Mokan [Nike EYBL team] family. These two have given me valuable advice.”
Chandler appeals to NBA teams because of his natural ability to handle the ball, his ability to play at different speeds, and his quick first step, which allows him to go virtually anywhere he wants on the floor. The improvements he’s shown over the season as a shooter and defender are raising his floor as an NBA prospect, as is the success he’s found at the college level.
“I want to show NBA teams how much stronger I will be through the pre-draft process,” Chandler said. “Being ready to physically play in the NBA, a 6-foot guard like me can play anyone in the league. Just being coachable, cerebral, that’s how I can separate myself in this process.”
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analysis service used by NBA, NCAA and international teams.