Updated: Jul 9, 2020
There are some definite athletic parallels between football and basketball. Both require speed, quick decision making, good hands and leaping ability. A point guard is most often compared to a quarterback, though if one were to make a metaphorical comparison on superior athleticism, it would typically be for a running back or wide receiver. Kennedy Chandler sees himself as a slot receiver, as he is blessed with those athletic gifts. However, when you see him on the court, the quarterbacking skills really come to the forefront.
Chandler’s creativity and vision as a passer also apply to his finishing near the basket. His vertical athleticism helps him play bigger than his height and he has great body control. When you watch him, you see his penchant for getting into the lane, finishing off foot lay-ups and floaters, while also having the ability to create space for his jumpshot. On top of this, Chandler also could have seen himself playing cornerback, which manifests itself in how he’s a constant menace on the defensive end, playing the passing lanes and using his length on-ball to create turnovers.
It is a shame that Chandler may not get the chance to defend his EYBL Peach Jam championship, as he was a major reason MOKAN Elite (MO) won the 2019 title. Chandler was one of the revelations of the EYBL season last year, while also ingraining himself in USA basketball camps and garnering numerous accolades for his play at Briarcrest Christian School (TN) during the 2019-20 high school season.
Currently fighting amongst a few competitors to be the top point guard in the high school class of 2021, Chandler is set to choose among some of the top college programs in the nation. In this interview, he breaks down his final five schools, his family’s interaction with the G-League developmental program, his love for sport, what went into choosing an AAU program, his connection to his hometown, the review of his high school season, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2021 prospect Kennedy Chandler, from Memphis, Tennessee:
Pro Insight: Tell us about your background and your story.
Kennedy Chandler: I’m from Memphis, Tennessee. I’ve been here my whole life. I’ve been going to Briarcrest Christian School since I was in second grade. I played football and basketball and ran a little track in middle school. I stopped playing football in third or fourth grade. I knew that I just wanted to continue to work on basketball and get better at basketball everyday. Looking where I’m at right now, I just have to keep on working.
PI: What events did you run in track?
KC: I ran the 4x200, 4x100, 100, and long jump.
PI: Tell us a little bit about your family. Do you have any siblings or family members that play (or played) sports?
KC: I have my mom, my stepmom, my dad, one sister, and my grandparents. My dad is a manager at FedEx. My stepmom works at McKesson in medicine. My mom also works in Memphis. My sister played basketball growing up, but decided to go to Memphis for school. She lives in Nashville now where she has worked for Smith+Nephew in the medical field. My dad played basketball at Hamilton High School and went to LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis as a student. My granddad played basketball, baseball, and football in high school.
PI: Have you been a University of Memphis fan since you were little? What about the Grizzlies?
KC: I was a University of Memphis fan growing up. My dad used to take me to a lot of Memphis games when I was young. We went to a lot of Grizzlies games too. I used to go to Memphis camps when John Calipari was the coach. Derrick Rose is probably the most notable player I’ve seen at Memphis. I’ll always be a fan of Memphis as my hometown team, and I’ll always root them on.
PI: What’s your favorite thing about the city of Memphis?
KC: Just the city being a city that loves sports. Whether it’s basketball or football. That’s one thing I love about Memphis.
PI: You had a great season and came up just short from winning state, finishing as the runner-up to Knoxville Catholic and BJ Edwards. Walk us through this past season. What did you enjoy most? What did you learn?
KC: We knew it was going to be a tough season because we had a tough schedule. I knew this team was built for it because we had a tough schedule last year, and most of the team this year were seniors. We had a tough schedule, playing against IMG, going to the City of Palms, and playing some other tough teams. We fought hard and won some tough games.
PI: Was there a tough time this season that your team had to fight through adversity to get through?
KC: At the City of Palms, we didn’t play so well. We came back and beat IMG the next couple of days. We knew we had to come back and get a win after City of Palms.
PI: What drew you to play with MOKAN Elite on the EYBL circuit?
KC: Well, my dad spoke a lot with me about it. I was going to play with Hoop City on the Adidas circuit, which was Mike Miller’s team. But my dad said I really need to get my name out there and play on the Nike circuit. I flew down there and watched their practice and met the coaches. I talked with the head coach to see how I fit in, and turned out, I really liked it. I knew it was going to be a big move for me because I was going to be flying down there every weekend to practice. That was the biggest sacrifice I have taken, that whole year.
PI: MOKAN is known as one of the best programs in AAU — what makes them special?
KC: The way the organization is built. Everything was organized. Nothing was late in being organized. They always let us know a week out what things were going on. I really liked the program.
PI: Describe your game. What are your strengths?
KC: My game is to find my teammates that are open. I’m a leader, a point guard, and I’m going to get everybody involved. I can score the ball as well, but I’m going to try to find my teammates and get everyone involved first. I’m a defensive guy, too. That’s what turns my offensive game on.