Chandler focused on improvement

Michael Chandler, a 2011 Louisville commit, showed flashes of brilliance at the Spiece Run-N-Slam Memorial Day Tournament. Now, the 6-foot-10 center has to consistently play the way he did in Fort Wayne, IN.

Though Michael Chandler started slowly Saturday morning in a pool play game against Triple Threat, the Louisville-bound big man turned up the intensity in the second half and showed why he's considered one of the top center prospects in the Class of 2011.

A typical, young big man, Chandler is still a work in progress. He struggled to finish around the basket in the early going of his Saturday morning game. He missed a dunk – and another point blank shot before halftime. After the break, however, Chandler was a different player - assertive at both ends of the court.

In the second frame, Chandler hunted rebounds, challenged shots and attacked the rim offensively while posting 16 points, 10 boards, and three blocks. It was the type of dominating performance that could make him a five-star recruit in two years. The challenge now for Chandler: Playing that way on a consistent basis.

"You can't come soft, you've got to go hard, draw fouls and get buckets," Chandler said. "I'm looking to be more aware and active on both ends of the court. I'm just getting stronger and in (better) shape, and working on my moves."

Chandler is still developing his offensive skills but possesses good hands and solid footwork. He also runs the court well for his size and has a willingness to challenge shots in the paint. These days Chandler is facing constant double-teaming in the post and he's still learning how to deal with that kind of defense.

"I think my strength is getting to the bucket and scoring," said Chandler. "And then on defense just getting rebounds and blocking shots. I think I've got to improve my face-up game because now I'm getting double and triple teamed."

Chandler, who committed to Louisville last winter, says he remains firm in his commitment to the Cardinals despite recent NBA (and other) rumors about Rick Pitino.

"I talked to Coach Pitino (recently) and he said that his NBA days are long over," Chandler said. "I'm very solid with Louisville and I'm planning to visit this summer. I'm just getting ready for the Big East. That's what I'm looking forward to."

Chandler, a teammate of UofL commit Ryan Taylor, also is working hard to convince friend Marquis Teague to join him and Taylor at Louisville in two years. Teague, the second ranked point guard in the junior class, lists the Cards among his favorites.

"We're working real hard on Marquis and getting in his ear about Louisville," Chandler said. "I think if he came to Louisville that would be the perfect situation because we know how he plays and it would be easy for us because he creates for himself and other people. He's the perfect combination for Louisville, plus he plays hard. He's exactly a Louisville player."

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