Rick Barnes's staff has been as hot as any team in the country on the recruiting trail for the past two cycles, and they are bringing in at least two more elite pieces in the 2021 class. Kennedy Chandler and Jahmai Mashack have already inked their names on a National Letter of Intent to play for Tennessee. Today, they were both included among the nation's elite in the Sports Illustrated All-American 99 release.
Chandler came in as the 7th best player in the country, according to the release, which you can view here.
SI All-American wrote about Chandler: "Chandler puts you in the mind frame of Damian Lillard or Kyrie Irving. Last summer in the Peach Jam title game he dominated despite playing against a team stocked with four elite point guards on the court at the same time. Over the course of one year, Chandler went from unranked to an SI All-American Player of the Year nominee. His exceptional ball-handling ability, elite scoring ability on all three levels and rare awareness on the court promise that he won’t play in college long."
When Chandler signed with the Vols, the University released a statement with a quote from Rick Barnes saying, "Kennedy was one of our primary targets for a long time. To us, his elite speed, athleticism, defense, and basketball IQ separated him from every other point guard in America. But it was his character, work ethic, and toughness that really made him a perfect fit for our program. We're very excited to have Kennedy and his family join our Tennessee basketball family."
Chandler averaged 22.2 points, 4.3 assists and 2.6 steals during his Junior campaign at Briarcrest Christian School (Tenn.).
Mashack was Tennessee's first signee in the 2021 class, and he comes in at 94th overall on the SI All-American ranking list.
SI All-American wrote on the coveted wing, "Mashack remains in attack mode and picks his spots well on the offensive end. He lets plays develop but has the ability to make plays for himself and his teammates. His size and strength enable him to shine as a rebounder, and he regularly creates easy scoring opportunities for himself and teammates by cutting and slashing to the rim. Mashack is a workhorse in the backcourt who will likely take on the task of locking down the opposing team’s best perimeter threat, an invaluable trait that's the main reason why he’ll make an early impact at Tennessee."
When Mashack signed with Tennessee on November 11th, Rick Barnes said in a statement released by the University, "Jahmai is a big physical guard who is a great competitor and plays the game the right way. We love that he understands the importance of defense, team basketball and hard work. He's got the mindset and athleticism we look for in a Vol, and we believe he's just scratching the surface in terms of how special he can be on both ends of the floor. Jahmai comes from a terrific family and really fits our culture on and off the court. He'll be fun to coach."
Prior to announcing his commitment publicly, Mashack told VR2 on SI, " Tennessee has that culture like no other. And even though you have to have a special work ethic to want to go to that program, the players say they love it there. Coach Barnes and I connect with our faith, and all the assistant coaches are respected like they're a head coach already."
According to the University, both Mashack and Chandler are expected to enroll over the Summer.