Tennessee picked up a huge commitment last week, landing five-star wing Julian Phillips. Now it’s official — he has signed with the Volunteers and is set to join the team for the 2022-23 season.
Phillips is the 12th ranked player in the 2022 class, per the 247Sports composite rankings. The 6-8, 200 pound prospect picked Tennessee over Auburn, Florida State, USC and an offer from the NBA G-League.
He now joins Tennessee, where he will be added to a veteran-filled rotation ready to go after another SEC crown.
“First of all, we love Julian and his family,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. “He has the type of character and humility that we value in our program.
“Basketball-wise, his versatility and ability to impact the game in so many different ways is special,” Barnes continued. “Julian is a three-level scorer, which is extremely valuable in our system. Defensively, we’re very excited about his combination of length and athleticism, as it enables him to effectively guard multiple positions. We expect Julian to blend into our current team nicely and make an immediate impact.”
Phillips comes from South Carolina, following in the footsteps of current Tennessee wing Josiah-Jordan James. Phillips was a 5A all-state performer in South Carolina before moving to Branson, Missouri to attend Link Academy.
He scored nine points on 4-5 shooting in the 2022 McDonald’s All-American game, adding three assists, two rebounds and a steal.
Where he fits inside of the Tennessee lineup will be interesting — he may open the Volunteers up to a bit of a smaller look next season. Tennessee brings back Olivier Nkamhoua, Uros Plavsic and Jonas Aidoo in the frontcourt. If Phillips were to start right off the bat, that lineup likely looks like Zeigler-Vescovi-James-Phillips-Nkamhoua.
It remains to be seen if Tennessee will add another big to the roster this summer. We’ve seen Josiah-Jordan James play a bit of a hybrid role and make a real impact as a rebounder, and Phillips could follow that same plan this season.