News broke over the weekend that Tennessee basketball would have a mid-season addition. Freddie Dilione, a borderline five-star prospect, has enrolled at Tennessee and plans to join the team immediately. However, Dilione will take a redshirt, meaning we won’t see him play this season for the Volunteers.
Rick Barnes confirmed all of that on Tuesday morning, meeting with the media ahead of Tennessee’s matchup with Mississippi State.
“Freddie decided he wanted to get here as early as he could,” Barnes said. “We’ll get him here, I don’t know how long it will really take him to get to practice with us, but we’ll get him going in school, get him going that way.”
Dilione, a 6-4, 185 pound guard prospect out of North Carolina, is the 24th ranked player in the 2023 class, per 247Sports. He committed to Tennessee back in August, and signed with the Volunteers in November.
“Garrett (Medenwald) will start his deal with him, helping his body, nutrition, all that coming together,” Barnes said. “But he’ll be in practice. How much he does, he’ll probably start out really helping our scout team. And as he continues to learn our system here, it’s going to be great for us and it’s going to be great for him. We’re excited about it.”
Barnes confirmed he would not play this season.
“He’s not going to play. He won’t play this year. He’s coming in to get himself ready for next year.”
Tennessee has added a key player midseason before, welcoming in Santiago Vescovi a few years back. The difference was, Barnes had an immediate need at point guard after an injury to Lamonte Turner. Vescovi arrived and ended up starting just days later. That won’t happen here, though.
Dilione does have a great opportunity to get comfortable and set for next year. Tennessee will lose Santiago Vescovi, Josiah-Jordan James and Tyreke Key at least, leaving a ton of minutes to be divided out for next year. It’s going to be the end of an era type of change, and Dilione has a shot to start from day one — especially considering this head start of sorts that he’s getting for the rest of the year.