By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — Below is a Q&A from Sunday interviews with 2021 Arkansas offer Kennedy Chandler, and his Dad, Kylan Chandler, following their Saturday unofficial visit to Arkansas … it’s 8 questions and 15 answers from 20-plus minutes of interview time … following the Q&A is my story from August 1 when we reported Chandler’s planned visit dates to Arkansas in addition to other details about his game, spring/summer performances, and his recruitment …
Q: What are your initial thoughts about your visit to Arkansas?
Kennedy Chandler: “I really enjoyed my visit. I had a great time there.”
Kylan Chandler: “We went up Saturday morning, left early from Memphis and spent the whole day with the staff, going through some things. It was a great visit, though, it really was.”
Q: What were the specific high points of your visit?
Kennedy Chandler: “I have a good relationship with all of the coaches, they all text me and call me a lot — not just one, but all of the coaches. That’s one thing I like about Arkansas and the coaching staff: I had a great time communicating with them and them getting to know my family better. Great campus, and I learnd a lot.”
Kylan Chandler: “What impressed me was the presentation, on how much they knew about Kennedy as far as strengths, what he needs to work on, breaking him down as a player. Also the staff, everyone was involved and everyone knows about Kennedy. And then the facilities. You know I had not been down there since ’93, and it looks totally different than when I was going to see Todd (Day) play, Corey Beck and Dwight Stewart, guys from Memphis that I watched play at Barnhill Arena. Almost everything has changed, and the facilities are nice.”
Q: What are your takeaways about Arkansas’s coaching staff and how that lines up with what you’re looking for at the college level?
Kennedy Chandler: “I think they could help me because they have a lot of guys with NBA experience, and that’s one thing I think that could take me to the next level. Yeah, I think they could. Coach (Musselman) has coached in the NBA, coached big-time players, coached overseas, he’s coached everywhere. They all have NBA experience, which I did not know about.”
Kylan Chandler: “Kennedy is looking for a great relationship with the head coach. He’s always had that, and it’s very important to him. Especially being a point guard. He’s looking for a second dad that he can have a great relationship with and fit his style of play. My personal opinion from the unofficial meeting, I feel he (Musselman) would be … I think it would be a good relationship. Being a first meeting he had a lot of energy, and I like that in a coach and Kennedy likes that in a coach. I think he’d have a great relationship with the assistants as well — Corey Williams, Clay Moser, and Chris Crutchfield. All of those guys have really been keeping up with Kennedy. That (relationships with the coaching staff) is very important to Kennedy.”
Q: What did you learn about this Razorbacks program, including style of play and what the coaches told you / your son about the fit in their system?
Kennedy Chandler: “One thing I was surprised by: They had all my stats from the (Nike) EYBL games. They knew what I need to work on, what spots I make a lot of my shots from. They knew everything. I was really shocked, they really studied me and knew what I can do and what I can’t do, and what I need to work on. They said if I come there they can work with me on all that. He (Musselman) said they’ve got a lot of plays for me if I come there.”
Kylan Chandler: “Of course we haven’t seen the new coach, Musselman, and that style. But we’re definitely going to get a chance to go back down there and visit, go to a couple of practices, maybe catch some games and just see how they play.”
Q: What can you tell me about your relationships with Arkansas greats Lee Mayberry (Kennedy’s uncle) and Todd Day (Kylan’s high school teammate at Memphis Hamilton), and what impact, if any, those ties might have on your / your son’s Razorbacks’ recruitment?
Kennedy Chandler: “You know, my uncle Lee Mayberry went to Arkansas so for me to go there was like tradition. Everyone told me he was a heck of a ball player. I heard he was an outstanding player and good person. I know Todd Day went there, too, and they told me it was going to be a good visit.”
Kylan Chandler: “I used to go down there (to Fayetteville) all the time to see them play. I think it does (impact Kennedy’s Arkansas interest) a little bit. Todd and Lee, Oliver Miller — what they accomplished when they were in school. He saw a lot of that this weekend, their names on the hall of fame wall. He saw a lot of that history this weekend.”
Q: Do you see similarities between Kennedy’s game and Lee’s game?
Kylan Chandler: “I remember Lee — he was a shooter, athletic, and he played defense. Kennedy does the same things. They both are very poised, their expressions never change when they play. Lee is a humble person, Kennedy is very humble. So they do have some similarities.”
Q: How do you see yourself / your son as a player, including strengths and areas to work on for improvement and development?
Kennedy Chandler: “First thing I try to do is find my teammates open as a point guard, to be a leader out there and try to get my teammates open first. That’s the main thing I try to do. This was my first year playing in (Nike) Peach Jam, and I was a little nervous the first couple of games but I focused on being a leader and helping my team get the win, not worrying about myself. I can score and make plays off of pick-and-roll. It’s what I love to do and one thing I’m good at. I can use or reject the screen to make plays. I’ve got fast- and slow-pace, and I use it in different situations. I’m trying to work on my pull-up game. I’ve got to work on my jump shot. That’s where I’m trying to get better.”
Kylan Chandler: “Of course everyone knows Kennedy’s a 2-way player — defensively and offensively. I call him the pick-and-roll king. I mean that’s just what he does. He’s great at making plays, great at reading and reacting, and he can shoot the ball as well. He has great court vision, and his IQ has always been his bread-and-butter, too. He’ll see a play before it happens. I told those guys as well, the big guys on his AAU team and even on his high school team: ‘If Kennedy gets the rebound, run the floor and he’s gonna get it to you. He might take one or two dribbles, or more than that, but if you run you’re gonna get a lot of layups.’ Things we’ve been working on for the last month or so — extending his range, pull-up off the dribble, mid-range.”
Q: What other visits — unofficial or official — are in the works, and what about the impact of the hometown Memphis Tigers and Penny Hardaway?
Kennedy Chandler: “I know Penny’s going to recruit me hard to come to Memphis. There’s a lot of pressure on me because everyone in my city wants me to go there. But for me, I’m just looking for the best fit right now.”
Kylan Chandler: “Louisville, Michigan, definitely a lot of unofficial visits coming up over the next two years. As far as official (visits), we are not sure yet. I think (taking a future official visit to Arkansas) is a possiblity, not for sure but it’s a strong possibility. But we will be coming back down this year during football and basketball season.”
Linked below are highlights of Kennedy Chandler from the 2019 Nike EYBL Peach Jam …