With the NBA Draft now behind us, it’s now officially time to turn the page to next season in the college basketball world.
Tennessee saw Kennedy Chandler go 38th overall last week, landing with his hometown Memphis Grizzlies. It was a bit of a slide for Chandler, who was dinged for his 6-1 frame. Still, Chandler became the third Tennessee draft pick in the last two years, following in the footsteps of Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer. Before that, it was Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bone.
Who might be next? According to ESPN, it’ll be Julian Phillips. The five-star Tennessee signee appeared in Jonathan Givony’s 2023 NBA Mock Draft, which was posted on Friday. We’re exactly one year out from the event, but the freshman is now officially a projected first-round selection.
Givony has Phillips going 17th overall to the Lakers, with the pick coming via the Pelicans.
The 6-8, 190 pound wing is the 18th ranked player in the class of 2022, per 247Sports. He’s long and athletic and will be expected to do a little bit of everything for the Volunteers next season.
“First of all, we love Julian and his family,” Barnes said when Phillips signed with Tennessee. “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. 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 will be added to a lineup that features Zakai Zeigler, Josiah-Jordan James and Santiago Vescovi. That’s a really nice core for Rick Barnes as he reloads and looks for another successful season in Knoxville.
Clearly, just like Chandler, Johnson and Springer ahead of him, Phillips is expected to go one-and-done — so enjoy him while you can.