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Kennedy Chandler commits to Tennessee

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Rick Barnes got a great one here.

City Of Palms Classic Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats had the No. 1 class in 2020. Of course, they would want to reel in the best guys for 2021 as well.

But today, one of the top guards in the class chose to take his talents to Knoxville, as Kennedy Chandler committed to play for the Tennessee Volunteers. His other finalists included the Wildcats, Memphis Tigers, Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels.

Chandler is the No. 1 point guard in the 2021 class at the No. 11 player overall, according to the 247 Sports composite. The Tennessee native has had the Vols high on his list for a while, but other contenders were happy to see Chandler move to Kansas for his final season of high school hoops this season, hoping the state of Tennessee (both Rick Barnes and Penny Hardaway) would lose their grip.

But in the end, Tennessee was too much to overcome for schools like Kentucky, who continues its search for a 2021 point guard.

Rick Barnes has really been killing it at Tennessee. Chandler is arguably his best get as a recruiter, but he has quietly built a top-tier program in Knoxville with a chance at the SEC Championship every year. And now that he is pulling top recruits each and every season, it is obvious that the Volunteers are here to stay.

Chandler was a high priority for Kentucky for 2021. However, 2022 recruit Skyy Clark could still ultimately reclassify. If Kentucky lands him, then the loss of Chandler will sting a little bit less. That is until they see him on the court during league play, that is.

Kentucky is still in on many top recruits for 2021, so it is not out of the question to believe Coach Cal can pull of another No. 1 class. The only thing that today’s announcement confirmed is that Kennedy Chandler will not be part of it.

In addition, Chandler and fellow 2021 recruit Paolo Banchero have discussed teaming up in college. Now that Chandler is committed to Tennessee, you have to think the Vols are in much better shape for Banchero, one of Kentucky’s top remaining targets in 2021.