2022 Draft Watch: Analyzing Kendall Brown and Kennedy Chandler in the Sunrise Christian-Prolific Prep Game

September 10th, 2021

By Alan Lu

In trying to get to know more about the incoming 5-star recruits that are coming into college basketball, I decided to watch Oregon’s 6-11 incoming freshman center, Nathan Bittle play.  He’s a highly touted recruit across numerous recruiting services, so I decided to watch him play for Prolific Prep in an April 1st game against Sunrise Christian that featured Kendall Chandler and Kendall Brown in the GEICO Nationals tournament, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via Sports

In analyzing the match itself, it was a sloppy, very defensive basketball game in which it was a low scoring affair.  I wasn’t very impressed at all with Bittle’s performance, but Kendall Brown and Sunrise Christian made enough solid plays to get a comeback win over Bittle and Prolific Prep.  Here are my thoughts on how Brown, Chandler, Bittle, and other various prospects fared in that game, as well as where they may stack up as prospects for the NBA.

Kendall Brown is a very athletic, high-motor forward that could be a first round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
(Photo:
Gregory Payan/Associated Press, via Bleacher Report)

Baylor’s 6-8 incoming freshman forward, Kendall Brown had a solid showing for Sunrise Christian, and he played well on both ends of the floor to lead them to a narrow win over Prolific Prep at the GEICO Nationals. Brown did a tremendous job of scoring on hustle plays.  He would often sprint down the court to get the ball, which would frequently enable him to score on layups and dunks on fast breaks.  He would sometimes catch long outlet passes or jump passes quickly to do so, and he was able to quickly drive up the court to score on powerful, two-handed slams.  He also managed to score on a thunderous dunk off of a backdoor cut another time.

Plus, he also showed off a decent mid-range jump shot.  Brown was able to run off of a ball screen to make a mid-range floater.  He also used a pump fake and drove in to score on a smooth, turnaround mid-range jumper from the baseline.  He would sometimes miss on tough pull-up jumpers off the dribble.  He didn’t take many threes in this game, but he missed on an open, spot-up three on his lone three-point attempt, as he ended up missing it short.

He struggled to consistently score on drives in the half-court.  On one good play, Brown was able to drive quickly to his left, as he used a quick ball fake and spun to his right to score on a turnaround layup.  However, he would tend to miss on tough shots in traffic, and he would sometimes tend to try to overtly force the issue when looking to score on those plays.

He also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  Brown will look to make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he can make an assortment of passes off the dribble to get the ball to his teammates.  He also took very good care of the basketball.  Plus, he also would leap up to get his fair share of defensive boards, and he would often push the ball quickly up the court afterwards.

Brown also played good defense in this game. He did a great job of getting his hands on passes to quickly get steals and deflections, and he is a very athletic, rangy defender that excels at making plays on the ball to prevent opponents from getting their passes through.  He also would poke balls away to nearly get other steals.  He also would contest threes and shots off the dribble to force misses.  Every once in a while, he’ll be too aggressive on that end, which can lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.  On one play, he over-helped off his man, as his team allowed an opponent to score on a dunk off of a roll. 

In general, Kendall Brown played well, as he looked to have played the best among all players that played in this game.  It was a hard-fought, defensive battle all the way through, but Brown consistently made solid plays in the second half to help get Sunrise Christian a comeback win.  Brown is a very underrated prospect, and he is a very athletic forward that can make hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He will need to improve his jump shot and trust it more.  His athleticism, versatility, and skill set could enable him to be a first round pick in 2022, and he could end up being a solid role player similar to San Antonio Spurs’ veteran forward, Thaddeus Young in the NBA.

Watching this game allowed me to take another look at Tennessee’s incoming freshman point guard, Kendall Chandler to get a longer look at his skill set, and to see if his game would translate well to the NBA.  He’s a very athletic playmaker that definitely has plenty of upside, and he made plenty of solid plays early on in this contest.  His outside shooting and defensive play really caught my eye, as he seemed to really show that he is a very talented player.  However, he was also just as mistake prone as he was against Montverde Academy, if not more so, and his tendency to commit careless turnovers and still inconsistent shooting display was fairly alarming, even despite leading Sunrise Christian to a narrow one-point win over Prolific Prep.

Chandler showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  On one play, he drove to the rim and probed around the defense prior to using a nifty pump fake move to score and draw an extra free throw afterwards.  He also managed to score on a smooth layup off of a speedy drive in transition.  However, he had his shot blocked when taking it to the rim on a quick fast break drive another time.  He also generally excelled at scoring on hustle plays, and Chandler was able to run in to score on a quick, tip-in that banked in shortly after he leapt up to get an offensive rebound.

He also displayed an adequate outside shot in this game.  Chandler dribbled left off of a screen to make a deep, pull-up three early on to show off a promising three-point shot. He also dribbled left to score on a fadeaway jumper from just inside the arc.  On the downside, he struggled to make pull-up jumpers consistently, and he threw up one air-ball when dribbling to his right in an attempt to score on a mid-range floater once.  He also missed on a deep three off the catch after getting the ball on a dribble handoff, so it may be uncertain if Chandler would excel as a spot-up shooter at higher levels.

He also looked to be fairly average as a playmaker in this game.  For the positives, Chandler is a speedy playmaker that can quickly get past defenders, and he can make an assortment of passes off the dribble and in transition to notch assists.  He can throw long outlet passes as well as find teammates on the move, and he can make drive and kick passes to find open shooters.  On the downside, he was very turnover prone, and his tendency to play too fast and wildly would make it difficult for him to take care of the basketball.  He would tend to over-dribble and mishandle the basketball, and it would sometimes lead him to lose the basketball or to step out of bounds.  He also telegraphed an interior pass that ended up getting intercepted.  When running off the ball, he grabbed and took an opponent down with him that led him to commit an offensive foul and a turnover that time. Chandler was able to get his fair share of rebounds, and he was active at chasing down balls to help get boards on both ends of the court.  He also managed to push the ball quickly up the court after helping his team get a defensive rebound late in this contest.

He also played solid defense in this game.  Chandler is a quick, very active defender that did a great job of getting steals and blocks to disrupt his opponents on that end of the floor.  He would often swipe balls away and get his hands on passes to get steals.  He also would hustle back to poke balls away to nearly get other steals, and he also ran in to tie up an opposing ball handler another time.  Plus, Chandler was able to hustle back to make an impressive, chase down block on a drive in transition, as then he directed the ball to his teammate.  He also would contest threes to force misses, and he also applied heavy ball pressure that helped force a ball-handling turnover late in this match.

On the downside, he would tend to be caught ball watching and space out, which would lead him to lose track of his man to allow scores.  On one play, he didn’t stay with a shooter and he also lost track of a cutter another time.  Sometimes, he would get beat off the dribble, which would lead his teammates to have to rotate to commit fouls.  On another play, he took a bad angle when defending a screen, which led to a scramble situation and to his team to allow a basket that time.

Overall, Kennedy Chandler made some very good plays at times, but his play was inconsistent in his team’s win over Prolific Prep.  His defense looked to be the most impressive aspect of his game on this day, but he was way too turnover prone on offense.  Still, he’s a talented playmaker that seems to be a high-upside prospect, and he could end up being a first round pick in 2022, as he could end up being a similar player to Eric Bledsoe in the NBA.

Oregon’s incoming 6-11 freshman center, Nathan Bittle had his ups and downs in his team’s loss to Sunrise Christian. He is a strong, physical big man that showed some range, passing skills, and interior defensive skills in his team’s loss to Sunrise Christian.  On the other hand, he didn’t shoot the ball very often and he struggled to protect the basketball, and his lack of lateral mobility made it tough for him and his team to get stops defensively.

He struggled early on as his team would try to force-feed post touches to him, but opponents kept swiping the ball away from him, which would cause him to commit turnovers and really limited his effectiveness in the first half.  Bittle had trouble getting going, and Sunrise Christian’s athletic, rangy defenders really made it difficult for Prolific Prep and his teammates to get the ball down to him on the block. Bittle started to get going midway through the game on offense.  He was active at scoring on hustle plays.  He scored on a strong dunk off of a roll to the rim, and he would score on quick tip-ins, which included a powerful tip slam that he managed to throw down after grabbing an offensive rebound later on.

He also showed off a promising outside shot in this game.  Bittle was able to take two corner threes, and he made one of them against Sunrise Christian.  On one play, he ran off of a ball screen to get the basketball, and he was able to knock down a quick, open corner three off the catch.  He showed off a smooth shooting stroke and a solid outside shot.  He’ll need to take more outside shots and trust his jump shot more, but it’s clear that he can shoot the basketball when he wants to.  He also tried to score down low in the post late in this game.  He was open around the basket to get the ball, but he ended up missing the shot that time.

He also showcased adequate playmaking skills.  Bittle is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and that was able to allow him to notch a couple of easy assists.  He also was able to make a patient drive and kick pass to get the ball to an open shooter to set up a score for him early on.  However, he had trouble protecting the basketball, especially early in this game, and he ended up having the ball swiped away from him several times to lose the basketball to the opposition when trying to make plays in the post.  He also threw an entry pass that led his teammate right into the opposition, as his teammate later had the ball swiped away by a defender immediately afterwards.

Also, Bittle did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He was active at crashing the glass on both ends of the floor, and he was able to chase down balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor. However, he struggled defensively in this game. For the positives though, Bittle was able to rotate to block a shot hard off of a drive late in this game to help his team protect the paint.  He also rotated to contest a mid-range floater to force another miss.

On the downside, Bittle especially had trouble guarding out on the perimeter early on and for most of the first half.  He had trouble defending drives out on the perimeter, as he would get beat off the dribble and bite on pump fakes, which would lead him to allow scores to his opponents.  He didn’t move his feet very well out on the perimeter, and he had trouble guarding quicker opponents.  He also struggled to guard three-point shooters, and sometimes he would not communicate screens to his teammates, which would make it difficult for his teammates.  He also committed a loose ball foul in the backcourt when diving for a loose ball early on in this contest.

Overall, I was just not very impressed by Bittle in this game, and he did not look to be the elite prospect that he was advertised to be.  He did show some promising offensive skills, and he also blocked a shot late in this game, but his struggles to protect the basketball in the post combined with his inability to defend out on the perimeter really made it difficult for him to be effective on a consistent basis in this game. 

Bittle seems to be quite overrated as a five-star prospect, and to me, he looked more like a three-star prospect in this game.  He just didn’t seem to be very mobile, and it’s uncertain if his outside shot will translate to higher levels due to the relative uncertainty of big men shooting threes at higher levels.  I’m just not convinced that his game would translate well to the NBA, as he’s only an average athlete, it’s uncertain if he will continue to shoot threes at higher levels, and he’ll likely struggle to defend more athletic opponents.  If Bittle does end up in the NBA one day, perhaps he could develop into becoming a Mike Muscala-type of player, but most likely, Bittle will need to stay at least two or three years in school to develop and hone his game at the collegiate level.

Prolific Prep’s 6-9, soon-to-be high school senior big man, Adem Bona had a fairly solid showing in his team’s loss to Sunrise Christian.  He did a tremendous job of blocking shots, and he excelled as an interior player in this game.  He did foul out, but he showed some of his considerable upside by making solid plays on both ends of the floor.

Bona showed a knack for scoring on hustle plays.  He would tend to score on rolls to the rim.  He also ran the floor to catch a lob pass, and he then scored on a high-flying, alley-oop dunk.  He also was able to back down his man to score on a strong, left-handed hook shot while drawing an extra free throw out of the post.  He also showed that he can absorb the contact to get fouled by defenders.  However, he struggled to score consistently on low post plays, as he would tend to miss on tough, contested shots in the paint.  He also didn’t look to take outside shots, and he will need to improve and extend his shooting range in the future.

He also was able to set a solid, on-ball screen to help his teammate get an open jump shot.  However, Bona struggled to protect the ball at times when looking to make a play on offense, and on a left-handed drive, and he had a ball swiped away to commit a turnover that time.  He didn’t get many rebounds in this game, but Bona was able to chase down a couple of balls to help his team get a pair of defensive boards.

Bona also played good defense in this game.  He did a tremendous job of blocking shots, as he would often swat shots off of drives, and he also made one impressive chase down block to prevent an opponent from scoring in transition.  He also did a good job of directing the shots he blocked to his teammates.  Bona also was able to poke balls away to nearly get steals, and he also deflected a ball off of an opponent to help force a turnover.  Plus, he would often contest jump shots to force misses.  Sometimes though, he would be too aggressive on the defensive end, as he would commit touch fouls when contesting shots, and he ended up fouling out of this game.  On another play, he over-helped in the paint and was late to rotate back to his man, which led his team to give up a three-point basket.

Overall, Adem Bona played well in his team’s loss to Sunrise Christian, and he looked to be his team’s best prospect in this game.  He is a very athletic, strong big man that especially excelled as a shot blocker and interior defender.  He’ll need to expand upon his skill set offensively, but he is a talented prospect that could end up being a future first round pick when he declares to enter the NBA draft someday.

Kansas’ 6-10 incoming freshman big man, Zach Clemence quietly played very well for Sunrise Christian to help lead his team to a close win over Prolific Prep.  He is an athletic, skilled big man that shot the ball well and showed off versatile scoring skills, and he excelled as a defender in this game. Clemence showed a knack for knocking down open, spot-up threes off the catch to showcase his sharpshooting prowess.  He was able to make open three off of a pick and pop play early on, and he also made an open corner three later on.  He also excelled at scoring on quick, right-handed drives, and he was able to throw down an emphatic, reverse dunk off of a baseline drive.  Plus, he ran off of a curl cut, and he used a pump fake to score on a turnaround, mid-range jumper. He also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  Clemence was able to pass out of the post to find an open shooter to notch an assist.  He also managed to successfully bring the ball up quickly another time.  On one play though, he was called for an offensive foul when jostling for position off the ball.

He also was able to chase down boards to get his fair share of defensive rebounds, and he also would tip balls to help his team get defensive boards other times.  Clemence also played solid defense.  He was able to rotate to steal a ball away in the post, and he also would contest jumpers as well as shots in the post to force misses.  He also would hold his ground when defending down low to get stops for his team.  On the downside, he would sometimes take bad gambles on the defensive end.  He whiffed on a steal attempt when defending out on the perimeter and then over-rotated later on that play, which led his team to be put in a scramble situation as they later gave up a three-point basket.  He also over-hedged and was late to get back to a roll man, which led his teammate to have to rotate to commit a foul.  On another play, he got beat off the dribble to allow a score.

Overall, Zach Clemence is an athletic, skilled big man that made solid plays on both ends of the floor.  He is a versatile offensive player that can shoot, pass, and handle the basketball, and he tended to make sound plays defensively.  He’ll need to be more assertive on offense, but he was a good get for Kansas, and if things pan out for him, he could end up being an effective role player in the NBA someday.

SMU’s 6-7 incoming freshman point forward, Stefan Todorovic had a decent showing for Prolific Prep in his team’s close loss to Sunrise Christian.  He is a talented, mobile ball handler that can shoot and pass the basketball, but he also made some costly turnovers that hurt his team down the stretch. Todorovic is a good shooter that excelled at knocking down three-pointers in this game.  He would move off the ball to score on quick, spot-up threes.  He also used a crossover move as he then pulled up to score on a three off the dribble another time.  He also ran off of a ball screen and then drew three free throws after hoisting up a three on a separate possession.  He did miss on his fair share of outside shots, as he sometimes would take too long to shoot the basketball, and he also missed a three awkwardly once when trying in vain to try to get the foul call.  Still, he still shot the ball well, nonetheless.

On the downside, he struggled to score inside the arc.  He had his shot blocked on a drive in transition.  He also tried to post up after getting an offensive rebound, but then missed around the basket.  Todorovic was also turnover prone in this game.  For the positives, he is a tall, agile ball handler that can throw long, accurate passes to find the open man, and he also was able to set up a score for a roll man once.  However, he would struggle to handle the ball when dealing with heavy ball pressure.  He was called for a push off when driving to his left once to commit an offensive foul.  He also lost the ball when handling it later on as he fell down on that play.  He also threw a hasty pass that got intercepted late in this match.

Todorovic also was able to chase down balls to help his team get boards on both ends of the floor.  Defensively though, he struggled.  For the positives, he was able to pounce on a loose ball that an opposing ball handler lost to get a steal.  He also contested a shot off of a drive to force a miss.  On the downside, he can struggle to stay in front of his man on the defensive end.  On one play, he didn’t rotate to the open man, but there was also no communication between him and his teammate, as his team gave up a three-point basket.  He also would get beat off the dribble and bite on pump fakes, which would lead his team to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Stefan Todorovic is a tall, playmaking point forward that can shoot and handle the basketball, but he committed a couple of costly turnovers late in this contest, and he also struggled with his position defense in this game.  Still, he was a good get for SMU, and if he continues to progress as a player and hone his game, he could end up competing for a roster spot in the NBA someday.

Prolific Prep’s 6-8 forward, Kamari Lands was able to make some solid plays in his team’s loss to Sunrise Christian.  He showed off some shooting ability, and he also rebounded and defended well.  He was a bit turnover prone and he was streaky with his outside shot, but he is an athletic combo forward that may possess plenty of upside as a prospect for the NBA.

He was able to knock down a couple of threes in this game.  Lands moved off the ball to get the ball, which enabled him to make an open, spot-up three early on.  He also used a pump fake and then dribbled to his left to knock down a pull-up three another time.  He struggled to consistently make threes later on, but he showed that he can make threes in bunches when he is dialed in.  He also showed an adequate ability to score off the dribble.  Lands managed to score on an aggressive baseline drive.  Another time though, he missed on a right-handed drive in traffic.

On the downside, he was fairly turnover prone in this game. He at times struggled to handle the ball when pressured, and he would get balls poked away to nearly turn the ball over.  He also would throw hasty passes, and he had a couple of them get intercepted by his defenders.  Lands also showed a solid ability to rebound the basketball.  He would chase down balls to get multiple boards on both ends of the floor, and he would tend to push the ball up the court after getting defensive rebounds for his team.

He also played good defense in this game.  Lands was able to swipe a ball away to get a steal early on.  He also intercepted a pass, and would track down loose balls to help his team get other steals.  He also would active play passing lanes and apply heavy ball pressure, and he helped force an over and back violation by making it difficult for an opponent to recover a loose ball after his man dropped the pass.  Plus, he also contested a mid-range shot to force a miss.  On the other hand, there was one play where he was caught ball watching, as he lost track of his man on a cut to allow a score.

Overall, Kamari Lands is an athletic, high-motor forward that showed promising skills on both ends of the floor.  He’ll need to show that he can make outside shots consistently, and he will need to improve his ability to pass the basketball.  He is a talented prospect, and he could be an NBA draft prospect to keep tabs on in the future.

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