Update: The plan is for Dilione to redshirt this season.
Per an article via the Charlotte Observer, and various other, local outlets, class of 2023 recruit Freddie Dilione is skipping the final semester of his senior year and enrolling at Tennessee in time for the January semester. His high school coach, Byron Williams at Word of God Christian Academy, broke the news after his team’s loss yesterday in the John Wall Invitational.
“It was mutual between the family and I,” Williams said. “It’s good for Freddie to go and get a jump start with coach (Rick) Barnes.”
Dilione scored 18 points in the loss and was named the tournament’s MVP.
Listed at 6-4, 185, Dilione is a four-star prospect, the No. 1 rated player in North Carolina and 27th-overall rated player nationally, per 247Sports.
The situation reminds me a bit of when Santiago Vescovi committed to Tennessee in late November of 2019 and officially enrolled at Tennessee in December. The Vols were in a bad way at PG that season, due to Lamonte Turner’s shoulder injury, and Vescovi started in his first game as a Vol against LSU on January 4th, 2020 — just days after arriving to the US. He hit six 3s and had 18 points in 32 minutes.
2023 4 ⭐️ Tennessee commit Freddie Dilione (@Freddiedilione5) is second in PPG in the Overtime Elite League— Alex Karamanos (@TheCircuitAlex) December 16, 2022
Dilione is averaging 23.8 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 5.2 APG, and 3.4 SPG for Word of God (NC)
Very quick first step and one of the best shot makers in the country pic.twitter.com/mrqXbp3gkc
Highlight videos are just that, highlights, but there’s no doubt we see plenty of shot-making and getting to the basket, which just so happen to be facets this year’s Tennessee team could use a boost of.
I’m not saying Dilione will come in and immediately contribute like Vescovi did — I’m just pointing out the similarity of the situations. I’m also not saying I expect Dilione to make any sort of impact this season. The plan might be to bring him in and redshirt him. I don’t know.
But if Dilione shows some of these ballhandling and scoring chops in practice, against legitimate college players, then, well, it sure would be nice to add some oomph to this team, especially with Josiah-Jordan James’ situation being more questions than answers and showing no signs of changing soon. Dilione is talented, and if he can add something, anything, to the inconsistencies of the Volunteer offense — let him play.
Here’s 247’s Director of Scouting, Adam Finkelstein’s, report on Dilione from July of 2022:
Dilione is in the mist of evolving from a volume scoring wing into a more legitimate big guard. At 6-foot-5 with a naturally strong and almost fully mature frame, he has the size and strength to play, and ultimately defend, all three perimeter positions. His best individual offense typically comes either in the open floor or when coming off ball-screens, where he can get downhill and utilize his size and strength to create mismatches and make plays. There are no glaring mechanical deficiencies in his shot, but he has historically been a steaky shooter, typically in correlation to his overall shot-selection as he can have stretches where he hunts his looks and settles for contested ones. This summer though, his game went to new levels as he become a more willing passer, utilized his size to see over top of the defense, and proved his ability to make good reads when he was willing. Dilione is older for his grade and close to maxed out physically, but his best upside is tied to becoming a primary ball-handler on a full-time basis, where his size becomes that much more of an asset. That continued transition will rely both on his mentality and also his ability to take care of the ball, as he had a very high turnover rate in 3SSB play. He also needs to show a more consistent approach on the defensive end of the floor.