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Some (possible?) good news on Tennessee’s top 2021 target

City Of Palms Classic Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Long-standing Tennessee sports radio host Tony Basilio dropped a nugget of news in his blog about the Baller Vols’ top 2021 target Kennedy Chandler.

‘Kennedy Chandler’s father has told people this week that his highly regarded son will be making his announcement this fall before the early signing period and before his HS season. The story from the family is that Kennedy wants to take “a couple” visits and then make his commitment. Should be very good news for Tennessee as he’s the cornerstone of what Volunteer recruiters are selling to the other elite players in the class. Having both Chandler and Kim English recruiting Banchero, Smith, Ingram, etc. would be huge. It appeared that Chandler had decided to wait until spring 2021 to sign but that being out the window is a tremendous development for the Vols.’

You can think what you want about Basilio, and I have no way of verifying if these comments about Chandler are true.

But, if Chandler was to jump on board with the Tennessee class early, it would absolutely mean only good things for the rest of the recruiting class. Chandler is the No. 1 player in Tennessee, the No. 1 point guard in the country and elite players usually want to play with other elite players.

Basilio’s tidbit mentioned a few other prospects who Chandler’s decision might have an impact on: Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith and Harrison Ingram. All three players are five-star prospects.

Outside of Chandler, Smith and Banchero are probably two main targets for the Vols’ 2021 recruiting class. And there’s been some chatter than Banchero and Chandler would like to play together in college. Lots of kids say those things, and most of the times those team-up scenarios don’t end up happening, but even still, it’s something worth keeping an eye on. Chandler announced his final five finalists one day after Banchero announced the final six schools remaining on his list. Coincidence?

Chandler recently announced he’s transferring from Briarcrest Christian in Memphis to Sunrise Academy in Kansas. It sure would be nice if he committed before he goes to Kansas for his senior season.

While I was looking at all that, I noticed that the Tennessee football team signed two players from Chandler’s former high school in defensive tackle Omari Thomas and running back Jabari Small. Now, I don’t know if Chandler knows Thomas and Small, but I’d say it’s more likely than not that the trio are least familiar with each other, if not friends. That may mean something, and it may mean nothing at all. But with a player as good as Chandler, I’m looking for anything possible that may provide a positive link to Tennessee.

The Vols join Duke, Kentucky, Memphis and North Carolina in Chandler’s final list of schools. The prevailing narrative seems to be that it’s really a two-school race between Tennessee and Duke, but Chandler hasn’t said anything about that publicly.

In early May, Chandler did an interview with a radio station in Memphis. During the interview, he called Duke his “dream school.” He also mentioned that he could see himself in orange and white playing for the Vols.

“Tennessee, I have a great relationship with them. Coach (Kim) English and Coach Rick Barnes. I had a great time when I went down there on my official visit. Just the atmosphere down there was crazy. I could see myself playing for the team.”

I’m not aware of any official timetable for his decision, but there’s no doubt his commitment would jump start Tennessee’s 2021 class.