Michael Chandler Thriving at Northwest Florida; Small Forward Cook Visiting Oregon & Gonzaga

Remember Michael Chandler?

The 6-foot-10 big man out of Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence North was the No. 5 center in the Class of 2011 and committed to three different schools – Louisville, Xavier and Central Florida — before being deemed academically ineligible by the NCAA.

Chandler has resurfaced at Northwest Florida State where he is playing for coach Steve Forbes, the former Tennessee assistant, and alongside Louisville-bound point guard Chris Jones.

“Michael sustained a leg injury late in October that slowed his overall progress, which in turn limited the minutes he could play before Christmas,” Forbes, whose team is 24-2, 10-1 in the Panhandle Conference, told SNY.tv.

“Since Christmas, Michael has become one of the best post players in the Panhandle Conference and will be one of the best, if not the best post player in the country next year. He’s shooting 61 percent from the field since that time.”

Chandler is averaging 5.2 points and 2.6 rebounds on the season, but has had several breakout games. He went for 16 points and six rebounds in a recent win over Chipola, had 12 and four against Tallahassee and 15 and eight against Gulf Coast.

Forbes said Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, Auburn, Butler, Pittsburgh, Marquette and N.C. State have shown interest in Chandler, who will be eligible for a Division 1 school in 2014.

“Michael is very coachable and has a sincere desire to become a dominant player,” Forbes said. “He is starting to draw double-teams which tells me how much respect his opponents have for his abilities”

“His positive attitude and bright outlook is refreshing to be around.”

COOK VISITING OREGON, GONZAGA

Elgin Cook, a 6-6 small forward at Northwest Florida, is visiting Oregon and Gonzaga next weekend, Forbes said.

The former Iowa State pledge and son of former NBA player Alvin Robertson is averaging 15 points and six rebounds and shooting 61 percent from the field.

Cook will choose from among Illinois, TCU, VCU, South Carolina, New Mexico and Arkansas for his final three visits.

He will have three years of D-1 eligibility.

“Elgin is an explosive athlete with a very high skill level,” Forbes said. “He is an elite-level defender who is going to keep getting better and better.”

Photos: NWF Athetics

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