Updated: Jun 11, 2022
Coming off a strong summer with the Utah Prospects on the adidas 3SSB circuit, class of 2022 guard Collin Chandler has firmly established himself as one of the top players in the country and is currently ranked 28th nationally on ESPN. After narrowing his college list down to a handful of finalists, Chandler has been busy taking visits and meeting with coaches as he gets set to announce his decision during the early signing period in November.
Pro Insight recently caught up with Chandler after he participated in a private workout directed by trainer Tanner Lind at the Lace ‘Em Up facility, near Salt Lake City. During the interview, Chandler discussed his background, his development over the past year, his recruitment update, his decision to serve an LDS mission, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 prospect Collin Chandler, from Farmington, Utah:
Pro Insight: Can you talk a bit about your background?
Collin Chandler: I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, that’s where my dad started his schooling. Then we lived four years in Iowa and moved here [Utah] and we’ve been here ever since. I’ve got four other siblings, one older sister who finished a year at Utah Valley University and is working in fitness right now. I’ve got a younger sister who is a freshman in high school, she’s on the drill team and dances. Then I’ve got another younger sister, she’s getting into dance right now...the others started a little bit earlier, but she’s getting into it now. Then I’ve got a little brother who is trying to follow in my footsteps. He’s a little baller and he’s 10 years old right now.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
CC: So my dad played volleyball at the University of Utah and my mom did gymnastics, but decided not to go do it in college. My grandpa played basketball at BYU. My dad was an only child so there’s no aunts or uncles on that side of the family.
PI: You’re an explosive vertical athlete — where do your hops come from?
CC: Probably my dad. All volleyball players do is jump and I think he had a pretty gnarly vertical. Yeah, I think that’s pretty genetic from him...maybe my mom, I don’t know.
PI: Describe the basketball culture out here in Utah.
CC: People kind of sleep on Utah, I think there are some pretty good athletes here. I think the culture growing up is a lot of shooting and things that stereotype for AAU. Utah players that just play as a team, but I think it’s completely different than that. People are pretty skilled here and take it seriously.
PI: Who were some local players you looked up to growing up?
CC: We’ve actually had a bunch who have been successful with Frank Jackson [Detroit Pistons], Sam Merrill [Memphis Grizzlies], Brekkott Chapman [Heidelberg Germany], all of those guys. They’ve just set the path on Utah basketball. Frank was highly recruited out of high school and was one-and-done. There are completely different paths taken out of Utah with Frank being a one-and-done at Duke, then Sam Merrill who played four years at Utah State and is now playing with the Grizzlies. Those two kind of brightened the future and showed that it’s possible to make it to the next level both ways.
PI: Have either of them shared any advice with you?
CC: So I trained with Sam a little bit with Tanner [Lind]. He trained a little bit before the NBA draft combine so I got to spend a few hours with him, talking a little bit. It’s fun to watch how he works, he’s a hard worker so it’s good to look up to him.
PI: Describe your game — what are your greatest strengths?
CC: So I feel like my biggest strength is getting to the hoop and finishing. I feel like I can finish over people and get above the rim. I’ve been working on the mid-range game more to be an elite three-level scorer because I think I can score it at three levels, but there’s obviously still room for growth. Still working on the shot, not just spot-ups, but working like we worked on today on off-movement, movement, and moves. Getting deep and getting your range deeper. So I think those two are more the spots to work on as of right now.
PI: What about some improvement areas?
CC: Yeah, I think every basketball player has to work on their conditioning, but I need to be able to go full-speed the whole game. Being able to go [hard] in the fourth quarter and stuff like that. Then in more specific areas, like coming off of ball screens with different reads. Like after watching the NBA playoffs and talking to coaches, that's something they go in depth about is making reads off pick-and-roll and being more patient. Getting people in jail, getting them on your butt and making reads off of there. So just that and also what coaches pointed out is I get to the hoop and it’s an all or nothing finish when I’m going up and either I score it or I’m not getting out of it. So I’ve been working on keeping the dribble alive, dribbling through the paint, making more reads instead of just having a bucket or having them rebound it.
PI: What are some underrated aspects of your game?
CC: I think my passing is underrated. I think I can score the ball and that’s the thing that gets highlighted, but I feel like when I need to make the extra play I can see the court really well. I think that goes undervalued.
PI: Is that something that’s always been part of your game?
CC: Yeah, I feel like I’ve always had a good feel for how the defense moves and openings there. So I think that’s always been there since I’ve been little. It’s more the scoring aspect that has come more as I grow up...it gets better and better.
PI: You train here at Lace ‘Em Up facility with Tanner Lind — how has he been able to take your game to the next level?
CC: So I’ve been fortunate to know him pretty much my whole life ever since we moved here. One of our really good friends, he’s their uncle, so I’ve really gotten to know him more closely than probably most. But him having experience training people like Victor Oladipo and all of the people at the next level helps me because I’m getting the same kind of training and insight that they’re getting. So I think it’s a special opportunity to be able to have that close to home especially.
PI: How much has your game grown over the past year? Talk a bit about your development.
CC: So 12 months ago it was the middle of COVID-19 and it was tough to get out. Playing in camps and getting out to the little things that were happening [was important], because the live period and AAU tournaments weren’t happening. Getting out to those events was a big thing and playing in those is completely different than playing in AAU. My growth is learning how to play both [styles] because playing in camps, in AAU ball, and in high school are three completely different things so learning to adapt to your surroundings is a big thing that I’ve learned.
PI: You seem more confident in your abilities now more than ever — how have you been able to tap into that more?
CC: Yeah last year I was kind of off the radar of many media outlets and college coaches so having that chip on your shoulder is big. You’re in there working every day towards a big goal. So that helps with my confidence, knowing that you’re in there putting in the work like everybody else. I’ve also had coaches around me who have believed in me and have given me opportunities to really show what I’ve worked for. Now that I’m on the radar and stuff there are different goals to work towards. There’s growing your game, and especially with my mission, there’s growing your body and different things to get you ready for the next level. There are different motivations. I’m just motivated to play at the next level in college, so [I’m] motivated to getting college coaches attention, but I’ve been put in those positions and I’ve gotten there. So now I’m just focused on being a really good college player. Not just making it to that level, but having an effect there and that gives me a lot of confidence to go out there and know I belong there.
PI: Was there a certain moment where things clicked and you realized you could go far in basketball?
CC: So I had a little bit of a rough freshman year with injuries because I was having a huge growth spurt and my body couldn’t really handle it while I was playing basketball. After that my muscles started getting bigger and I felt like I could hang with people more physically. Now I can hang with people physically. But I think when I joined the [Utah] Prospects and started playing against better competition I think my confidence was a little lower. Looking at people and being like, “man these guys are so much better than me and they’ve been here before and I just barely made this team.” But getting out on the court I really felt like I belonged out there and playing with those guys and being able to hang with them. Then as a team going out in the Adidas circuit and beating those teams who are better athletically, more highly recruited, etc. Being able to go out and show them what we can do as a team and individually too was eye-opening like, yeah I can hang with these guys who are projected to go into the NBA before they even go to college.
PI: Expound on your growth spurt — how tall were you and what did you shoot up too?
CC: Yeah, so in junior high I was little. I was probably 5’7’” until my eighth grade year. Then in ninth grade I probably grew to about 6’0”, that’s when I had the big spurt. I’ve grown steadily since then — in 10th grade I was probably 6’1”-6’2”, junior year I probably made it to 6’4”, and now it’s 6’5”. So ever since the huge growth spurt it’s been steady growth.
PI: Describe this past season with Farmington.
CC: The year before this past year we had a completely different team. Going into my junior year we had two players that had played varsity before, so we were a new team. The players who were juniors looking to play varsity their senior year I think had some confidence issues, they didn’t have the experience or felt like they belonged out there so it took us a little bit to grow their confidence and get the feel for the other teams that we were playing. So we started off the year with a little bit of a struggle, we were maybe 6-4 and we were getting killed by all of the good teams that we were going to go up against in the state tournament. Then once we got to our region play, we started to pick it up and we ended up going 9-1, so we won our region. In state play we were ranked as the fourth seed and we made it to the semi-finals against the top seed who was Timpview High School. They had beat us the previous year in the semi’s off a buzzer beater so that was a super emotional game. But we ended up beating them and making it to the state finals and lost by four [points] the next day.
PI: Describe this past summer — what were you able to show coaches and evaluators on the 3SSB circuit?
CC: So there’s a difference between looking on film and actually being there in person. I think I was able to show them my energy and competitiveness. I didn’t like to lose. I think we probably didn’t have as much talent as some of the other teams that we were playing against, but being a team you have to win with five players so I think as a team we found our role and we were able to take third in the 3SSB circuit. So yeah it’s completely different from watching on film than being [in person] and I think I opened up some eyes. My recruitment kind of took off a little bit from being on film to being seen in person, it’s just a different feel for the game.
PI: Talk about your time with the Utah Prospects — how have they developed you on and off the court?
CC: Being on the Prospects, they give you a platform to go play against the best competition and coaches. Also Lynn [Lloyd] and Tim [Davis] do a great job in finding — they’re not finding guys to just grow their program — they’re finding good guys who fit their program and they’re fighting for you everyday. They’re on the phone and calling coaches. So it’s really personal being on that team. I think we all had a bigger bond than just basketball. So it was all kind of big to have that bond and to be able to go play, it made us all look so much better. Rather than everybody worried about playing in front of coaches and getting theirs, we were all playing as a team trying to win. And I think not being worried about who’s watching or who’s around you and just winning was a big thing with the Prospects.
PI: What are your short and long term goals on and off the court?