Kennedy Chandler picked in second round of NBA Draft

Kennedy Chandler was picked at No. 38 overall pick in the NBA Draft Thursday night, sliding to the second round before being picked by the San Antonio Spurs. The pick will reportedly be traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Spurs received a future second-round pick and cash in exchange for Chandler.

The Grizzlies signed Yves Pons a year ago after he went undrafted. He played in 12 games with Memphis on a two-way contract, spending most of his rookie season with the Memphis Hustle in the NBA’s G-League.

Chandler, the five-star point guard who starred at Tennessee during a one-and-done freshman season, is the sixth player the Vols have had drafted since 2019, joining Grant Williams, Keon Johnson and Jaden Springerall selected in the first round, and Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bonetwo second-round picks.

Last season Chandler led Tennessee in scoring (13.9 points per game) and assists (4.7) and was second in minutes (30.7), starting in all 34 games he played. He scored a season-high 27 points in a win at Colorado on December 4 and had 23 in a win at Missouri on February 22. He had double-doubles against South Carolina (11 points, 10 assists) and USC Upstate (15 points, 10 assists).

Chandler, on his way to becoming a Second Team All-SEC and SEC All-Freshman team pick, finished the season strong, scoring in double-figures 14 times over the final 15 games of the season, averaging 11.5 points and 4.5 rebounds over the final 11 games while scoring in double-figures in all 11.

In the 2021 recruiting cycle, Chandler was ranked No. 9 nationally according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. He was the No. 1 point guard in the country and the No. 1 overall player out of the state of Kansas, too, where the Memphis native attended Sunrise Christian Academy for his senior season.

With a 0.9966 rating, Chandler is the third highest ranked recruit to sign with the Vols during the recruiting rankings era. He trails only Tobias Harris (0.9978) and Scotty Hopson (0.9978). Among other five-star talents during the Rick Barnes era, Chandler was rated ahead of Julian Phillips (0.9966), Jaden Springer (0.9946), Keon Johnson (0.9932), Josiah-Jordan James (0.9913) and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (0.9902).

Last summer, Keon Johnson was picked at No. 21 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers a year ago, just ahead of Jaden Springer at No. 28 to the Philadelphia 76ers. Grant Williams started the run in 2019 as the No. 22 overall pick, selected by the Boston Celtics. Admiral Schofield 42nd overall pick in 2019, landing with the Washington Wizards after a draft-night trades. Jordan Bone was the No. 57 overall pick in the same draft, going to the Detroit Pistons after multiple trades late in the draft.

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Chandler was hoping to become the 13th player in Tennessee program history to be picked in the first round.

Tobias Harris was the No. 19 overall pick in 2011, Marcus Haslip was drafted at No. 13 overall in 2002 and Allan Houston went at No. 11 overall in 1993. Dale Ellis was the No. 9 overall pick in 1983 and Reggie Johnson was picked at No. 15 overall in 1980.

Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld both heard their names called in the first 11 picks of the 1977 NBA Draft, with King going at No. 7 overall to the New York Nets while Grunfeld went at No. 11 to Milwaukee.

Tom Boerwinkle in 1968 was the first Tennessee player to be picked in the first round of the NBA Draft and remains the highest pick in program history, going at No. 4 overall to Chicago.

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