Updated: Jun 11
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?
CC: Off the court, which is kind of a short term goal now, is my LDS mission. I’m planning to leave in the spring or early summer of next year, so that’s kind of my biggest short term goal other than picking a college, which is coming up. Long term I want to get back and make an impact at the program that I’m going to attend. I want to be able to go there and be a part of it and have a big role in the place that I’m going to play. I want to bring winning to whatever program I’m going to.
PI: You’ve jumped up the rankings pretty significantly — what does that mean to you?
CC: I mean at the end of the day rankings are just a number, but I think it’s good to be noticed for all of the hard work you’ve been putting in and being considered with all of those best players that are very good and who have worked hard, also. It’s just cool to be in that company with those guys. I think it opens up new opportunities, like the NBPA Top-100 Camp that I was able to go to with all of those guys. It just opens up new opportunities to be able to play with high competition and people who have your same goals.
PI: What do you feel like you still have to prove?
CC: I think I’m always going to have something to prove. There aren’t many people, except me and Jaxon [Kohler] out of Utah, we’re always being counted out as not being athletic or whatever. There are always going to be doubts about you. Always got more to prove.
PI: Do you feel any internal or external pressure to succeed?
CC: I mean there’s always pressure, but it’s always better than not having any. It’s what you train for, expectations can be good or bad and it’s a big motivator, but I can’t imagine it any other way. It’s got to be like that.
PI: What’s the latest with your recruitment? You’ve recently narrowed your list down to six schools — elaborate a bit on why each school made the cut.
So I’ve got it down to 5, I said no to Gonzaga. So it’s down to all of those Pac-12 schools and BYU.
- Utah, it’s obviously close to home and I’ve grown up being around the Utah culture so that’s a big one. Also with the Craig Smith coaching change, I love Craig Smith and his coaching staff. They’re awesome and especially what they did with Utah State. They brought them from not as much winning to putting them on the map and winning the Mountain West. Having coached Sam Merrill and having him make it to the next level is a big thing. Having proven they can produce talent going to the next level is a big one.
- BYU, they’re in-state too. Also with the Big 12 news that came out recently, I mean that’s looking like it’s going to be a big conference for basketball. Playing in that conference would be awesome. Coach Pope has an awesome staff, too...they’ve all played high-level basketball with Pope in the NBA, Coach Burgess was a great player, Nick Robinson, they’ve all played. So I think it’d be a good thing to be coached by players who have been in my position.
- Arizona, the program kind of speaks for itself. They’ve had a bunch of wins. Tommy Lloyd coming from Gonzaga, he’s had a bunch of success with developing guys into big NBA talent. They’ve had a lot at Gonzaga recently. So that’s a big draw and his coaching staff is awesome, as well.
- Oregon, I mean I think all of the Pac-12 schools are awesome basketball schools. The conference is awesome and you’re playing against good competition every night. Oregon has had awesome success at sending guys to the league, too. Being a basketball player with that being your ultimate goal is getting to the league, having programs that have shown they produce NBA talent like Payton Pritchard, Chris Duarte, etc. is a big draw for me.
- Stanford has a big draw with academics. I mean that’s one of the best in the country and also being in the Pac-12 is a big draw. Also getting good recruits that can compete in the Pac-12 like Ziare Williams, it’s a big opportunity as well.
PI: Why was Gonzaga eliminated from contention?
CC: So they came into my recruitment kind of late and I was getting recruited mostly by Coach Michaelson. All of the programs recruit differently, but I hadn’t talked or been recruited by Coach Few as much as I [would’ve] liked and with me going on an LDS mission and being gone for two years, I just felt like I needed a better relationship with the head coach in order to go to the school that’s recruiting me. So I just didn’t feel like I had a good enough relationship with Coach Few in order to go on my LDS mission and come back knowing I’d have a spot and have a role where I’m playing.
PI: What’s the most consistent pitch you hear from each school?
CC: I think all of the schools know me as loving basketball so just telling me about their program and what they envision me being at their program is something I’ve been talked to a lot. The style of play and playing fast because I feel like one of my strengths as well is playing in transition. I feel like I’m pretty talented at getting in transition. I think they all have that sort of playing style in trying to play fast and get out as fast as you can. So that’s probably their biggest pitch is their style of play and where they see me playing as a combo guard bringing up the ball and [playing] off the ball, as well.
PI: With BYU having recently announced their move to the Big 12 — what are your thoughts on that? Does that have any impact on your decision?
CC: No disrespect to the WCC, but weighing the WCC vs the Big 12...playing against good competition. There are good teams in the WCC, but I feel like in the Big 12 there are good teams across the board whereas the WCC not as much. But joining the Big 12 I think in order to make it to the next level, proving you’re playing against high-level teams, being in the Big 12, that conference is stacked with great teams. And that is a big draw in playing against better competition and in one of the best conferences in the country, in my opinion. So it is a big draw.
PI: Any upcoming visits?
CC: So my junior year visits got narrowed into June due to COVID-19. I took official visits to Stanford, Arizona, and Utah State as well as two unofficals to BYU and Utah. So I think I just wanted to get a feel for the programs and the campuses before I went into the live period. Now planning for the fall, I go to Stanford next weekend [Sept. 24-26] for another official, the following weekend [Oct.1-3] I’ll be in Arizona for an official, then the following week I’m not going anywhere, then the next week [Oct. 15-17] is Oregon, then [Oct. 22-24] BYU, and the last week [Oct. 29-31] is Utah. Then a week or two after that is when I’m planning on deciding. Beginning of November [is when I plan on deciding], I want to sign in the early signing period.
PI: What are you ultimately looking for in your school of choice?
CC: There are a lot of things — being at a school where I feel like home is a big thing. Where I feel like I belong. I want to go to a school that values my future in basketball and also in academics, as well. So I think all of the schools I’ve narrowed it down to are awesome and I can see myself fitting in all of them. Also it’s going to come down to going to all of the programs and going with my gut with where I feel the best at, where I feel the most comfortable, and where I feel like is home.
PI: What type of system do you feel best fits your playing style?
CC: I think all of the programs remaining have similar playing styles where you’re running and gunning. Running in transition. Where defense leads to offense. I think that’s probably going to be the best fit for me. That’s [the style] I played in AAU over the summer and that’s where I feel I’ve had great success doing that and having started defense, getting out in transition, and playing fast. I think I fit in that playing style rather than walking the ball up and having set plays in the half-court.
PI: Who have you leaned on during this recruiting process? What type of advice have they shared with you?
CC: My mom and dad obviously are big sounding boards for me. They don’t tell me where they want me to go or state their opinion, but they just listen to me and give feedback. Also Tim Davis and Lynn Lloyd from the Utah Prospects, they’ve been through it with other kids and they tell me things that help me decide what’s truthful and what’s not. What they feel like in the past with different relationships that they’ve had, how they’ve treated the players. Them having been through it has definitely helped me. I trust those guys a lot.
PI: How do you see your role playing out at the next level?
CC: I have a lot of confidence in myself that I can be a big contributor at the next level. I feel like I can score the ball with anyone in the country. Being able to score the ball, facilitate, etc. I can just see myself as someone who can be a key to a really good team, in a really good program.
PI: Who are some players you like to model your game after?
CC: I don’t know, I think I just watch and take different things from different players, but there’s not a specific player that I model my game after.
PI: With your dad being a former collegiate athlete, what has he instilled in you over the years?
CC: I think the biggest thing is hard work — obviously you have to be a hard worker to make it in this game, so that has been instilled in me. And also loyalty — not everything is going to be perfect, you’ve got to work through the different trials that come at you and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. I mean obviously you’ve got to do what’s best for you, but I think sticking it out somewhere and just working through the adversity because everywhere you go is going to have adversity. So just being loyal and sticking through and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Always keep your head down and work.
PI: Many ranked players look to attend larger programs towards the end of their high school career — does that loyalty play a role in why you’ve stuck it out at Farmington?
CC: For sure. I’ve had different programs reach out for me to go and play on a national schedule. It’s a tough thing to turn down because you’re playing against really good competition. It’s tempting for sure, but I think I’ve got some unfinished business here with losing in the semi-finals and then losing in the finals last year. I don’t want to quit on the program and my hometown. I want to bring a championship this year and that’s a big motivator to stay.
PI: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Why did it stick with you?
CC: I think I saw something the other day, speaking about college basketball and picking a school that said, “you need to go somewhere that loves you.” I saw a thing on twitter on Spencer Dinwiddie talking about it, on why he chose Colorado over different universities like UCLA and bigger universities that have a bigger name than Colorado. He said, “picking somewhere that loves you is a big thing” because he thinks that he might not have gotten the opportunities that he got at Colorado and he might not be at the next level if he didn’t choose that. So going somewhere that loves me and I think all of the programs have done a good job at showing me how much they want me. But going somewhere where you feel like the coach values you the most is some good advice.
PI: What are your plans in terms of serving an LDS mission?
CC: Yeah, so I’m planning on serving a mission. I’ve thought about graduating early and leaving as early as possible, but still haven’t made that official. I just want to get back as early as possible to get back in shape and be ready to play. To get a little bit spiritual, my decision to go on a mission, I just feel like God has given me the chance to go on a mission and also play basketball. It makes the decision a lot easier when having coaches who are okay with me doing that and are okay to work with it and are excited for me. So I think I’ve been given all of the opportunities in the world to go serve on a mission and go take two years out of my life to go serve somewhere in the world. So I’m excited to do that.
PI: There are a lot of things to weigh, being in your position, when it comes to serving a mission — what led you to that decision to go?
CC: Yeah I think ever since being a kid and growing up in the church it’s been a big thing for me that I’m going to go serve a mission. Obviously going through the whole recruiting process there are people who call you crazy for taking two years when you have a lot more basketball to play. But I just think if it’s the plan for me to play basketball that it’ll all work out. Having people talk to me, for sure it’s tempting not to go and there’s a lot of good points to be made, but at the end of the day there’s a bigger picture other than basketball. So I think going out to serve for two years, if it’s meant for me to play basketball after, then it’s meant for me. That’s kind of my mindset through it all.
PI: Why is that important to you?
CC: Being a boy and member of the church it’s a commandment to go out and serve my mission. I think it’s a big thing and in the church, service is a big thing. Listening to so many stories of people that I know who have gone on missions, there are people like Sam Merrill who have gone on a mission and been super successful and I don’t think they’d take that back for anything. I mean I think even if you come back from your mission and it’s harder than it would’ve been if you didn’t go, I think it’s all worth it. And anybody who has gone on their mission, they’ve haven’t had any regrets and that’s really motivating, having people that have actually done it have a testimony about how much it affects your life and work ethic. Talking to coaches, they love mission kids who come back and have a big work ethic and better leadership skills than maybe some other high schoolers coming right out.
PI: What motivates you to push yourself?
CC: For some playing basketball we all have different motivations. I come from a very blessed family, I’m not going to try to play professionally to try to support my family, they’ve been fortunate enough to be able to support me and support themselves. I think I have different motivations as just a dream to be able to go [pro], there’s an ultimate goal and love for the game and just working hard to be the best that you can be at this game. I think that’s my biggest motivation, just to be the best that I can be.
PI: Describe yourself in just a handful of words.
CC: When I’m with my friends and stuff I’m pretty outgoing, I talk a lot. On the court I’m more quiet, I don’t really talk that much. I mean it depends on the game, sometimes it gets super competitive. I don’t really go into talking trash right out of the gate, I just let my game do the talking. So I’m more of a quiet person on the court.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for on and off the court?
CC: I want to be remembered as someone who brings more to the game than just basketball. I mean that has to do with my religion and stuff, too. I want to be able to spread the gospel on the platform I’ve been given. Being remembered for that and being able to use my platform for good and spreading what I believe in is a big thing for what I want to be remembered for.