BYU’s best basketball recruit in nearly a decade now Mark Pope’s 1st commitment at Kentucky

Collin Chandler, one of BYU’s best basketball recruits in modern history, is following Mark Pope to Lexington.

On Tuesday, it was announced that Chandler — who was a four-star signee in BYU’s 2022 recruiting class— would be coming to Kentucky, according to a report by 247Sports.

Chandler will be released from his national letter of intent with the Cougars, which he signed in November 2021, in order to follow Pope to Kentucky.

A 6-foot-4 combo guard prospect, Chandler was ranked as a four-star recruit and the No. 37 overall player in the country by the 247Sports Composite in that 2022 recruiting class.

Former Kentucky head coach John Calipari brought in three players in that 2022 recruiting class: Cason Wallace (No. 10 overall recruit), Chris Livingston (No. 12) and Ugonna Onyenso (No. 36).

Wallace and Livingston were one-and-done players who were both selected in the 2023 NBA draft. On Monday night, Onyenso entered the 2024 NBA draft.

With Pope as BYU’s head coach, Chandler was the highest-ranked recruit to directly sign with BYU. Furthermore, Chandler was BYU’s highest-ranked recruit overall since Eric Mika in 2013.

Chandler opted to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prior to enrolling at BYU, and is set to return home from his two-year service this summer. This means that Chandler will be significantly older than most other college basketball freshmen.

But with Pope, Kentucky’s new basketball coach, on the move from Provo, Chandler has opted to follow suit and join the Wildcats.

“Growing up, my biggest dream was to play against the best players in the world,” Chandler told 247Sports’ Travis Branham. “I am beyond grateful to be given the opportunity to do just that. Through the past couple of days, the path I had before envisioned has been blurred. After talking with my family and many prayers, this vision has become clearer than ever. I am humbled to get the opportunity to continue this journey at the University of Kentucky! Go Wildcats!”

Chandler took official visits to both BYU and Utah in his recruitment, with the Cougars winning out in that in-state recruiting battle. He was BYU’s first commitment in the 2022 recruiting class.

“Chandler demonstrates an all-around game and scores at a high rate. He can make shots from both inside and outside the arc, and his aggressive drive game creates fouls and he’s capable of finishing with both vertical bounce and body control,” ESPN wrote of Chandler when he committed to BYU.

“Chandler’s passing ability doesn’t get enough credit. He can find teammates for shots, plays a team game and has terrific energy on the floor. Chandler is a legitimate three-level scorer who draws fouls and gets to the free throw line for easy points.”

Chandler is the first new piece to be added to Pope’s first roster at UK. And it’s a roster that’s essentially being built from scratch.

Aaron Bradshaw (Ohio State) and Zvonimir Ivisic (Arkansas) have both transferred to new schools. Joey Hart, Adou Thiero and D.J. Wagner are other Wildcats from the 2023-24 team that have entered the transfer portal.

Also from last season’s squad, Rob Dillingham, Justin Edwards and the aforementioned Onyenso have declared for the 2024 NBA draft. Tre Mitchell and Antonio Reeves have exhausted their college eligibility.

Five of the six players that Calipari had lined up as part of Kentucky’s 2024 recruiting class have decommitted from the UK program, including all three of Kentucky’s McDonald’s All-American recruits.

In-state guard Travis Perry, the all-time leading scorer in Kentucky high school boys basketball history, is the only one of those six recruits expected to remain committed to UK.

Pope has a transfer portal visitor lined up for next week (former Drexel big man Amari Williams), and former BYU center Aly Khalifa is considering three schools from his spot in the portal: Kentucky, Louisville or a return to BYU.

Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart introduces new men’s basketball coach Mark Pope to a capacity crowd at Rupp Arena on Sunday.
Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart introduces new men’s basketball coach Mark Pope to a capacity crowd at Rupp Arena on Sunday.

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