Kennedy Chandler led Briarcrest to multiple tournament appearances. (Photo: Terry Davis)
Terry Davis

Memphis has a history of placing players on the McDonald’s All-American team. Former East High School star James Wiseman, the last local talent recognized, now is running the court in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors.

The newest member to that distinguished list is Kennedy Chandler, although he is not currently playing in Memphis.

Chandler, the former point guard who led Briarcrest High School to multiple tournament appearances, is playing basketball this season at Sunrise Christian Academy prep school in Bel Aire, Kansas.

Sunrise (20-2) is the No. 3-ranked school in the Max Preps High School basketball rankings. The school has impressive victories over some of the top schools in the country. They have their sights on winning the national championship at the end of the season. 

Chandler, a 6’0” point guard, is ranked the No. 1 point guard in the country by several ranking services. 

He has committed to play college basketball at the University of Tennessee, but that may not be a done deal. The NBA has been luring the top players to commit to playing in the elite team with the G-League.

Chandler took Briarcrest to three state tournament appearances. He won his sophomore year, lost in the championship game his junior year.

He was named Mr. Basketball Tennessee for two years. He is in the running to be the Gatorade Player of the year and Mr. Basketball Kansas this year.

Kylan Chandler wanted his son to go to Sunrise because the AAU (MoKan Elite) team that Kennedy plays on has a lot of the same players who play for Sunrise.  It also was a chance for him to play against higher-caliber players all season long.

 “I sent him to Sunrise because he is being challenged every day. He had accomplished a lot here in the city. The goal was for him to get better. He is playing against some of the best players in the country and getting him ready for college,” Kylan Chandler said.

Regarding his son being named to the McDonald’s team, the elder Chandler said, “I was just a proud parent. That was one of his dreams and goals. I am very excited and humbled for the honor.

“He has worked hard; 5 in the morning with Javonte Holmes and Drew Grant with Excel. I tell him all the time you get out of what you put into it.”

Kennedy improved his game in the summer by playing with Lester Hudson and Ja Morant. Both players have taken the younger player under their wings and he has benefited from their knowledge.

On getting the award Kennedy said, “This is a great accomplishment. It shows that you are recognized as one of the top players in the country. This is one of the reasons I did not go to college early. I wanted to be a part of this team. My last goal (is) to try to win a national championship.”

He continued, “It has been tough being away from home. … It has been a great experience not only getting to know my teammates, but also meeting new friends off the basketball court.

“It has been a great experience. It was tough in the beginning, but once I got to know the players I did not know, it got better. Now we are all like brothers.”

Kennedy wants to play college basketball.  He is not being pressured by his friends and family of going the elite team of the G-League.

 “I am looking forward to going to Tennessee and lead them to their first ever Final Four appearance,” he said.

Memphians can see Kennedy play in his last high school in Memphis on Friday (March 12) at Arlington High School. Sunrise will play Monteverde at 7:30 p.m. for the number one seed in the GEICO National Championship that will be played in Florida.

A limited number of tickets are on sale on EventBrite. The event is called the NIBC Conference Championship. The tickets are $25 and all floor seats are sold out.