Former Tennessee point guard Kennedy Chandler was drafted 38th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in the second round of the 2022 NBA draft. According to NBA Insider Shams Charania for the Athletic, Chandler will be traded to the Memphis Grizzlies, meaning Chandler will play in his hometown of Memphis.
Chandler became the sixth Tom in the last four years selected in the NBA draft, and the 55th in the history of the program. Chandler is the first VFL to be selected in the second round since Admiral Schofield in 2019. The Vols made a couple of first round picks in 2021 with Keon Johnson and Jayden Springer.
Chandler was selected in the first round in almost every tryout draft leading up to draft night, making him a surprise second-round pick. Chandler returns home in the fall, however, as the Memphis native kicks off his NBA career with his friend and longtime supporter, Ja Morant.
The former volunteer point guard becomes the sixth SEC player selected in the 2022 draft.
Chandler’s selection makes him the 30th pick in the NBA draft and was coached by Rick Barnes, six of whom were Oxen. Chandler is the 13th second round pick for Barnes in his 35-year coaching career, and he is the eighth pick of the same in Barnes’ coaching career.
Chandler was and will be the only volunteer selected in the NBA draft this year after Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James announced they were returning to Tennessee for their senior seasons.
The Memphis native is among the pros after a terrific freshman season in Tennessee, in which he accounted for 33.6 percent of Tennessee’s offensive scoring. Chandler’s efforts in the SEC Tournament earned him the SEC Tournament MVP title and helped the Vols capture their first conference tournament title in over four decades.
The second point guard to have been drafted so far — behind Kentucky’s T.T. Washington Jr., who finished 29th overall — Chandler believes he could serve as a useful off-bench option for the Grizzlies to start. his career in the NBA. Chandler’s use in the first year will depend on whether Memphis retains Tyus Jones in the roster for the 2022–23 season.
Chandler has done an incredible job for himself and others in the orange and white uniform, but it is his defensive prowess that has greatly improved under Barnes in 2021.
“I think Kennedy’s biggest improvement since playing in Texas is that his defense is so much better,” Vols head coach Rick Barnes said ahead of the SEC tournament. “He became more reserved on defense and he got a lot better because of that. this position requires a lot of preparation. Kennedy, after playing in Texas, has also become a different player in terms of his defense. The thing is, he has improved a lot.”
The 6-foot-0 and 171-pound point guard was even compared to the current NBA star from ETSU head coach Desmond Oliver last season.
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“He reminds me of a young Kyrie Irving. I felt like his opponent, there was no one on the court who could slow him down,” Oliver said of the comparison between Chandler and Irving.
Chandler will be looking to fulfill his potential at the next level in Memphis. The 2022-2023 NBA season kicks off this October.
The following are Chandler’s additional accomplishments in his only year on the Rockies:
Information provided by UT Athletics.
Click here a list of all 55 volunteers who will enter the NBA draft over the years.
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