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Mark Pope speaks publicly for the first time on BYU signing Collin Chandler

Pope says Chander has the talent to be something special for BYU’s program

Farmington High guard Collin Chandler (middle standing) announces Wednesday he will play his college basketball for BYU. Tyler Haslam, Deseret News

Mark Pope believes recently signed four-star BYU recruit Collin Chandler has a chance to be a special basketball player in the Cougar program.

Chandler, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Farmington High, chose BYU over Utah, Stanford, Oregon and Arizona earlier this week.

After Friday’s 66-60 win over San Diego State in the Marriott Center, Pope spoke publicly about Chandler for the first time since the prospect signed a letter of intent on Wednesday at his high school.

“It’s a huge deal, guys,” Pope told the media in his postgame press conference. “It’s a huge deal for our team. It’s a huge win for what these guys are building here.”

With star guard Alex Barcello standing nearby, Pope said he believed part of what Chandler learned about playing at BYU was through a visit with Barcello, who transferred from Arizona and is having an All-America experience as a super senior in the Cougar program.

“He doesn’t come here if these guys haven’t built what they’ve built,” said Pope.

“On a selfish level, I’m super happy because, you know, good players make coaches look smarter than they are. He’s got a chance to be really, really special. He has a chance to be incredible.”

Pope said he watched Chandler at the NBPA Top 100, where the best 100 players in the country played.

“He walked in the first two sessions and he’s like, just playing good and kind of checking out the field. He’s going to be so mad at me because he would never say this and he’s never said it to me, but my impression was after the second session, he looked around like, ’I’m the best player here,’ and in the next few sessions, he just put on a show that was like, I mean, just incredible.”

Pope said Chandler is a perfect fit for BYU and has great insight as to what he wants in a school to play for.

Some have equated the significance of BYU signing Chandler to what may have been if the Cougars had been able to corral former recent big time members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Jabari Parker (Chicago) and Frank Jackson (Lone Peak).

Both decided to sign with Duke out of high school. Jackson now plays for the Detroit Pistons and Parker is with the Boston Celtics.

Brandon Jenkins of 247Sports posted the following evaluation of Chandler:

“Chandler is a competitive guard who always plays in attack mode. He is still a baby physically but has great length, burst, and solid skill. He beats defenders off the rip or bounce with an excellent first step.

“A plus athlete who is bouncy and is an exciting athletic finisher at and above the rim, Chandler thrives in transition and enjoys attacking the rim when driving lanes are available. He is a great shooter off the catch or dribble and knocks down the three-point shot with consistency.

“He still needs to improve his handle on the ball versus high pressure but Chandler will likely thrive in an up-tempo system with his play style. Chandler plans to embark on a two-year mission and will be 21 by the time he starts his freshman season.

“His upside is clear, immense, and due to his work ethic, it should be counted on to transform into immediate productivity once he begins his college career.”