In one of the biggest home games of the season with the Florida Gators in town last weekend, the Kentucky basketball program not only hosted former Wildcat superstar John Wall, but also 2021 five-star prospect and No. 1 point guard Kennedy Chandler on a highly-anticipated visit.
Chandler, the No. 15 overall prospect in the 2021 247Sports Composite Rankings, was in Lexington on his second unofficial visit, with his first coming last February. A 6-foot-1 point guard out of Memphis, TN, Chandler holds offers from the likes of Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, North Carolina, and Memphis, with Florida State, Michigan, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and USC rounding out his top ten.
Coming off his trip to Kentucky, what does he think about John Calipari and the UK basketball program? And most importantly, are the Wildcats a serious contender in his recruitment?
The five-star point guard joined KSR’s Sources Say Podcast to break down his unofficial visit to Lexington, his “good talk” with John Wall, why he wants to play with Paolo Banchero and Jaden Hardy in college, and when he plans on making a decision, among other topics.
Check out the entire interview below.
What were your initial takeaways with your visit to Lexington? What did you enjoy most about it?
I had a great time when I went down there. It was my second time for me going [to Lexington], I went last year when Kentucky played Tennessee. Me going again, I just had a really fun time down there and it was a great game.
What is the Kentucky coaching staff’s main recruiting pitch to you and your family?
They feel like I’m a good fit in a solid program. They feel the way they play is the style of basketball I play.
As the No. 1 point guard in your own class, what was it like to have former Kentucky superstar John Wall in attendance? What conversations did the two of you have together?
Yeah, I met with him as soon as I got to [Rupp Arena] before the game started. He just told me about the program, John Calipari, and how you have to fight for your position at Kentucky. There are no guaranteed positions. You go hard in practice and you’re going to get better every day in practice. He just told me that Kentucky is a school I should be at [when I make a decision].
What is it like to have players around the program like John Wall be there to help during the recruiting process? Is joining that “family” something that interests you about Kentucky?
It shows me that Kentucky is a great school to be at. The stuff John Wall told me really made it feel like it would be a good fit and a good school for somebody like me to be at. I’m glad we had a good talk.
Your dad mentioned to [the Sources Say Podcast] that you’re interested in teaming up with 2021 top-ten prospects Paolo Banchero and Jaden Hardy about possibly teaming up in college. What attracts you to playing with those guys in particular?
Oh man, if that ever happened, I feel like that would be a great team to play with. Me, Jaden [Hardy], and Paolo [Banchero], man. I played with both of them at USA [Basketball Camp], so I feel that we have a good connection. If that happens, that would be phenomenal.
What is it like to have a top-five prospect and arguably the best frontcourt player in the nation in Paolo Banchero point you out specifically as a recruit he wants to team up with at the next level?
It’s just a great thing, him wanting to play with me. I like to think I’m a great team player, a great person to play with. For me, playing with one of the best big men in the nation is just, it’d be a blessing. So for us, if we ever team up, I feel like we would be hard to stop.
What do you like about Banchero’s game that makes you want to team up with a guy like him?
The way he plays hard. Like I said, we played together at USA, so I know he’s a competitive guy. Strong, great pick and roll guy. Great post-up guy. He’s just a great player.
When it comes time for a decision, what are you looking for specifically in a school?
I’m looking for the best fit, the best style of play, a great relationship with the coaches, and a place that feels like home. I want it to be a place that feels like family.
You just named your top ten, are you close to cutting it down even further? Which schools do you feel are certain to make the cut?
I still have to sit down and discuss that with my family, I haven’t really thought about narrowing it down again yet. If I do cut it down more before making a decision, I’ll sit down, talk about it with them first, and then come up with something.
What schools would you say are prioritizing you the most right now?
Basically all the schools in my top ten are recruiting me really hard. All of the schools in my top ten are calling me a lot and recruiting me hard.
It has been said before that Duke was your “dream school” growing up. Is that something that still holds true?
Duke was always a “dream school” when I was young, but at the end of the day, I’m going to pick the place that is the best fit for me.
Who do you try to model your game after? What would you say are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
I try to model my game after guys like Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul. I’ve watched all three of them ever since I was little and I’ve tried to model my game after all of them. That’s who I look up to.
What does it mean to you to have a reputation as a competitive floor general and a “pit bull” kind of player?
For me to be able to do that, it’s just a part of my game. It’s who I am, a floor general. I want to look out for my teammates, get them open looks. I want to get everybody involved.
Outside of basketball and recruiting, what is Kennedy Chandler like off the basketball floor? How would you best describe your personality?
I’m just a fun person to be around, great friend, great teammate. I’m usually in the gym or hanging out with my friends, having a good time with them.
What are some hobbies you might enjoy off the basketball floor that people might not realize about you?
Hobbies? I like to play video games or spend time with family. I also watch middle school games. [When I play video games] I like to play Call of Duty and Madden.
As far as a decision is concerned, do you know when you’re planning on choosing a school? Your dad said you were considering an announcement before senior year. Would that be late August or early September, somewhere in that range?
Yeah, somewhere around there. I don’t have a specific date yet, but I’ll probably make my decision before my senior year starts.
To close things out, when it comes time for a decision, what will your future school be getting as a point guard and as a person? Why should fans be excited for your potential commitment?
I’m a competitive player, and I play hard. I play hard to win. My dream is to win a national championship, that’s one thing I want to do. I want to go to March Madness and win it all, win a championship. That’s my goal for college.
To listen to the entire interview, along with the rest of last week’s episode of the Sources Say Podcast breaking down KSR’s trip to St. Louis to see future Wildcat Cam’Ron Fletcher and whether or not Kentucky is a legitimate title contender , you can check it out below:
Missed KSR’s interview with Fletcher prior to his Senior Night? You can find it, along with all future episodes, by subscribing to the official Sources Say Podcast feed to get the show sent directly to your phone weekly on iTunes right here. Not on iTunes listener? You can also subscribe to the show on Spotify.