Richard Davenport covers recruiting for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. He is the host of Recruiting Thursday, a weekly radio show that airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on 92.1 FM in Fayetteville; 93.7 FM in Little Rock; 95.3 FM in Fort Smith; 96.3 FM in Hot Springs; 104.3 FM in Harrison/Mountain Home; and 106.9 FM in Arkadelphia.
The Recruiting Guy:
Memphis guard shows his mettle at Peach Jam
Basketball coaches watch a game during the Nike Peach Jam at Riverview Park in North Augusta, S.C., in this 2017 file photo. (AP Photo/Todd Bennett)
The Nike Elite Youth Basketball League started the spring with a record number of top national prospects from ESPN's 2020, 2021 and 2022 classes.
A total of 124 of the 185 prospects in the three classes started play in April and ended at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam Championships last weekend.
Kennedy Chandler highlights
Highly regarded junior point guard and University of Arkansas target Kennedy Chandler made a strong case for the best performance at the tournament which lasted five days by leading Kansas City-based Mokan Elite to the 17-under championship.
Chandler averaged 14.1 points and 6 assists a game while being a mismatch for opposing guards with an explosive first step and strong defensive play during the event. Chandler received scholarship offers from Memphis, Kansas, Syracuse, Oklahoma and Arizona during and after the event to go along his more than 20 other offers.
ESPN National Director of Recruiting Paul Biancardi rated Chandler a 4-star prospect, the No. 7 point guard and No. 38 overall prospect for the Class of 2021 in the rankings released in late June.
"Super fast and athletic point guard, great in transition," Biancardi said. "His on-ball defense can be stiffing, especially when he picks up the ball in the back court. His blow-by dribble and his vision to complete the assist is special."
Chandler, 6-0, 164 pounds, of Memphis Briarcrest Christian had scholarship offers from Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Ohio State, Alabama, LSU, Florida State, Texas A&M, Missouri and others prior to Peach Jam.
He was named to the All-EYBL Underclass Team after averaging 14 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.8 steals a game during the three sessions before Peach Jam. He shot 48.9% from the field and 36.4% from beyond the three-point line.
Chandler had 21 points, 9 assists and 6 rebounds in the 85-84 overtime victory over Team WhyNot in the Peach Jam Championship game while often going against ESPN 5-star junior point guard Devin Askew.
"What impressed me the most at the Peach Jam was his lack of facial expression regardless of what just happened," Biancardi said. "He displays poise at a young age."
He led Briarcrest Christian to a 29-2 record and the DII-AA state championship while being named the tournament MVP. Chandler was named the DII-AA Mr. Basketball after averaging 19.5 points, 4 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He also earned second-team MaxPreps sophomore All-American honors.
Chandler, who plans to visit Arkansas in the near future, has been invited to the prestigious Chris Paul Elite Camp and the USA 18-under basketball training camp this month.
Biancardi would like to see improvement on Chandler's shot.
"The next step is the jump shot," Biancardi said. "It needs practice as he is an average shooter. Small in size, but has a big impact on the game."
Email Richard Davenport at [email protected]
Sports on 07/19/2019
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