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How big of concern is Collin Chandler flip to Kentucky?

How big of concern is Collin Chandler flip to Kentucky?

Farmington’s Collin Chandler is photographed at Farmington High School on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. Chandler is Mr. Basketball 2022. | Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Kevin Young received the first commitment of his career as BYU’s new basketball coach when USC signee and four-star forward Brody Kozlowski from Corner Canyon switched his college choice to BYU.

This came after a furious week of phone calls by Young to BYU’s current roster players, some rumored to be following Mark Pope to Kentucky. He’s doing double-duty as a member of the Phoenix Suns staff currently in the NBA playoffs. Young reportedly made an offer to 2025 point guard JJ Mandaquit from Hilo, Hawaii, who played on Utah Prep and the Compton Magic Elite 17 and Under team. He has other offers from Louisville and USC.

Young is expected to announce the hiring of his assistant coaches this week. Meanwhile, former BYU players who have given their blood, sweat and tears to the program chimed in on the hiring of Young.

Cougar Insider predictions

Question of the week: How alarmed should BYU be over the flip Mark Pope pulled of recruit Collin Chandler to Kentucky after Chandler signed with BYU before his church mission?

Jay Drew: Collin Chandler’s flip from BYU to Kentucky came on the same day that BYU announced it had somehow lured Kevin Young away from a very good assistant coaching job with the Phoenix Suns, so it was kind of lost in the excitement of the Cougars’ surprising hire. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt, and won’t hurt.

It is a major blow to BYU’s 2024-25 roster, and beyond, because having watched Chandler play in high school and in some traveling circuit games, I believe he is a generational talent for a school such as BYU. It comes on the heels of BYU losing another returned missionary last year, as Jake Wahlin flipped from BYU to Utah upon his return. Of course, Wahlin isn’t the player that Chandler is, but the trend should be troubling for BYU fans.

In Chandler’s case, it is hard to blame him for following Pope to Kentucky, considering that Pope is the coach who got him to sign with BYU in the first place. Then there’s the question of NIL money, which is probably involved, to some extent. Welcome to the new world of college basketball, BYU. The rich get richer.

Dick Harmon: No question the loss of Chandler leaves a hole in BYU’s roster, a recruit that was anticipated and counted upon for years as he finishes his church mission. It hurts that he was headed for the BYU fold, is a member of the sponsoring faith, and was so close to playing before a packed Marriott Center in the Big 12.

But I look at it like it has always been. BYU loses generational five-star and four-star talent every single year in recruiting battles because they end up at Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina or Houston. The Cougars simply don’t live in that sphere and have competed with what works — players who really want to make the BYU experience part of their life.

I don’t blame Chandler for following the coach who signed him to BYU to Kentucky. I can’t fault Pope for doing what he could to get Chandler. This is called a relationship, and it’s portable in today’s college world of NIL and high-stakes transfer portal moves.

What Pope’s replacement, Kevin Young, needs to do is sell himself and his vision for the program. He needs to trigger what he says is his greatest strength in the NBA with the best players in the world — building relationships.

My advice for fans anywhere, especially at BYU during this transition, is to accept the movement as a part of life in college sports and celebrate what you have, not what you don’t. I wish Chandler the very best at Kentucky.

Cougar tales

  • In this piece by Jay Drew, a catcher from Mississippi explains his journey to BYU.

  • After an awkward delay after departing BYU to Kentucky, Mark Pope gave a farewell message to BYU and its fans as detailed by Jackson Payne here. His chief assistant, Cody Fueger, also expressed his gratitude for coaching in Provo via a tweet on X.

  • BYU’s quarterback battle will continue during the summer, a competition explained in this piece in the Deseret News.

  • BYU track and field athletes posted three top 10 program marks at the Mt. SAC Relays in California.

From the archives

From the X-verse

Extra Points

  • Ashley Hatch proves her value (Deseret News)

  • Young displays confidence, humility (Deseret News)

  • BYU offers lineman from Maine (KSLSports)


Comments from Deseret News readers:

Tad Walch, this was a very detailed column on the hiring of Kevin Young. It is amazing to see how all of the dots had to be connected, and there were many dots, before finally hiring our new coach. I never knew the process of hiring a new coach was so demanding. It took a village to get this hiring completed; this was a great effort by many. Congratulation to Kevin Young and his family.

— BoydinProvo

I love this story. Thank to DN for taking the time to put it together. Kevin is a great fit for BYU. Some will predict failure, some will predict success. I just think he is the right man at the right time. I am grateful he will influence the players at BYU in the way he should. I will be getting season tickets to support Kevin in this exciting opportunity. WELCOME to BYU Kevin. This is going to be fun.

— musfasta

Up next

  • April 25| TBA | Track and field | Robison Invitational

  • April 25| 5 p.m. | Baseball | @ Oklahoma State

  • April 26 | 6 p.m. | Softball | Baylor

  • April 26| 7 p.m. | Track and field | @ Stanford

  • April 27 | 12 p.m. | Softball | Baylor


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