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#FeatureFriday: Chandler Comes Full Circle With Return To GC
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Features - Fri, Feb. 5, 2016

During the 2015 fall semester, students in the Writing For Media class taught by professor Duane Stoltzfus produced a variety of articles. Among these articles were feature stories. The Goshen College sports information department is pleased to publish several features centering on GC athletics in the coming weeks and thanks professor Stoltzfus and the authors for granting permission to do so.

Michigan Standout Returns to Goshen
By Chandler Ingle

Three years and four schools later, former Goshen College basketball standout Kody Chandler finds himself back in a Maple Leaf uniform.

Chandler came to Goshen as a highly touted recruit. As a 6'1" guard out of Schoolcraft High School in Schoolcraft, Michigan, Chandler was a two-time all-state winner and Kalamazoo Gazette player of the year.

In his illustrious high-school career, Chandler averaged nearly 22 points per game and led his team to two state finals. As a senior, Chandler led his team to an undefeated season and state championship. Following his senior season, Chandler decided to continue his career as a Maple Leaf.

"I knew and had played with three guys already on the team, and really thought we could be something special," Chandler said.

As a freshman, Chandler did not disappoint. Leading the team in scoring, averaging 14 points per game, Chandler earned third-team all-conference and all-newcomer team honors. The team started off 13-1, but the wheels seemingly fell off the bus as they finished the second half of the season with a 5-12 record.

Chandler and four others decided to take their talents elsewhere. "I was looking for more in a program," he said. "I didn't quite agree with the coaching staff at times, and I really felt I needed a greater challenge. Looking back at it, I was definitely a little immature and probably didn't make the wisest decision at the time." 

On to Indiana Tech he went. "I decided to go there because it was a competitive NAIA program that I could start at right away," he said.

Chandler quickly learned he made the wrong decision. "The coach and I butted heads a lot, and it caused me start to hate basketball," said Chandler. With the loss of passion for the game, Chandler decided to quit Indiana Tech after his first season and take some time off of basketball. He signed up for online classes at Western Oklahoma State University.

"During that year off I kept working on my game, because in the back of my mind I knew I wasn't done yet," he said. "I was putting up 40 points a game in a local rec league, so I knew I still had it."

"Everyone would ask me where I played college ball and I told them nowhere. It started to get to me because I knew I was wasting my talent," said Chandler.

Chandler moved on. This time it was a small Division III school, Olivet College, in 2014. His stay at Olivet was once again short-lived: he lasted only a semester. "Olivet was just way too uncompetitive," he said. "It wasn't a good fit academically or athletically. I didn't view myself as a Division III athlete."

So what next?

"I considered pursuing a professional career overseas, but got advice to build my game by staying in college," he said. Due to being viewed as a risky player, not many colleges were willing to give Chandler another shot.

 "I had no clue what to do, because no program wanted me," said Chandler. With nearly no other options, Chandler decided to swallow his pride and contact Goshen.

Luckily for Chandler, the head coach, Neal Young, an assistant when Chandler was in high school, was willing to give him another shot.

"When you are a head coach or leader of any organization or team, you will find that oftentimes the most talented individuals bring some baggage," Young said. "A huge part of my job is evaluating each individual and their story independent of all others. What I found in Kody was a genuine sense of humility, multiple signs of maturation, remorse for how things ended last time and a very intense desire to return here and essentially prove to people that he isn't a washout, or a failure. I have full confidence that the end of Kody's story at GC will be one of growth, perseverance and success."

In accordance with NAIA transfer rules, Chandler will have to sit out this season. Chandler will have two years of eligibility on the court, giving him time to focus on building his skills and majoring in psychology.

"I'm hungry," he said. "I haven't played in three years, and I feel like I'm better than I have ever been."

As practice, the season and his career all continue, Chandler is quickly learning how to be a leader. At the age of 22, Chandler is the oldest player on the team. With age comes experience, and Chandler has a lot of advice and wisdom to share with his teammates.

"Like it or not, I have to be a leader," he said. "I'm still learning, but coach Young has challenged me to be a positive leader at all times and I'm up for the challenge."

"Even though I can't play this year I'm still going to work my butt off," he said. "I feel like it's my duty to work hard every day and continue to get better. I honestly feel like I can play at an All-American level when I step on the court next year."

"I truly think Goshen is where I'm meant to be," he said. "I'm blessed and fortunate to get another chance, and I promise I won't disappoint this time."

Chandler hopes he has finally found a home.

"Fourth time's the charm," said Chandler. "I can't wait to put the Maple Leaf jersey back on and do my thing."

The series of features will continue on Friday, Feb. 12.