Is Tennessee basketball in prime position to land elite point guard Kennedy Chandler?

Tennessee played its final basketball game in Knoxville last season on March 7.

Then coach Rick Barnes and assistant coach Kim English headed to Nashville to see elite prospect Kennedy Chandler play at Lipscomb in a state championship final.

“I think everything you can do in recruiting, Tennessee has done well (with Chandler),” 247Sports national analyst Brian Snow said to Knox News on Wednesday.

Tennessee has positioned itself well in Chandler’s recruitment as the battle for the nation’s No. 1 point guard appears to be winding down. A trio of blue bloods – Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina — and Memphis joined Tennessee in Chandler’s top five, which he announced in April.

“Everyone seems to think Tennessee is the leader,” Snow said. “But anytime you are holding off schools like Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky and schools like, the longer it goes on, the worse it can be. 

“Tennessee has done a very good job of getting themselves in a prime position.” 

Chandler, a five-star guard and the No. 11 prospect in the 247Sports Composite, has not publicly indicated a timeline for a decision.

“I think it is one of those things that could happen any day,” Snow said. “Any day could mean today. It could mean tomorrow, or it could mean February. I don’t think anybody besides Kennedy and his father know that right now. You just always wonder what is he waiting for, and who knows what the answer to that question is.”

Chandler took an official visit to Knoxville on Oct. 26 along with five-star forward Paolo Banchero. 

Snow believes the key for Tennessee’s efforts to land Chandler center on trust with Chandler and his father, Kylan.

“They built a very good relationship with him and his father,” Snow said. “I think there is a lot of trust there. Just a general understanding of respect and the fact that they like him as a player and they like the situation (at) Tennessee. I think they sold him on the system. … 

“Obviously, Memphis isn’t just down the road from Knoxville, but nearby relatively speaking is not a bad thing.”

Chandler is expected to play his senior season at Wichita (Kansas) Sunrise Christian after playing at Memphis’ Briarcrest Academy. 

Tennessee does not have a 2021 basketball commitment.

The Vols have recruited impressively in the past two cycles. UT has landed three five-star guards in Josiah-Jordan James in 2019 as well as Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer in 2020.

Tennessee signed the No. 4 class in the nation in the 2020 cycle with four-star forward Corey Walker joining Johnson and Springer.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at michael.wilson@knoxnews.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. 

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