Five-star senior Julian Phillips, the last available five-star basketball prospect in the class of 2022, announced his commitment to Tennessee Thursday.
Phillips chose the Volunteers over Auburn despite the G League Ignite team only emerging as an option late in the process. He had originally committed to LSU in October, but was released from his letter of intent in March after coach Will Wade was fired following an NCAA allegation notice alleging that the program had five Level I violations.
Phillips, a 6-foot-7-small forward from South Carolina who attended Link Year Prep (Missouri), is ranked No. 13 on the ESPN 100 for 2022 and is Tennessee’s sixth five-star recruit in the last four classes . He plays as the No. 6 small forward in the class.
Phillips averaged 19.6 points per game for Upward Stars at the Adidas Gauntlet track last summer and then helped lead Link Year Prep to last month’s championship game of the Geico Nationals tournament. He averaged 15.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in three Geico Nationals games, including 20 points and six rebounds in a quarterfinal win over Oak Hill Academy (Virginia).
“Phillips is a seasoned and seasoned wing with the unique talent the NBA covets,” said Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s national recruiting director. “However, he needs to hone his talent and work habits to maximize his tremendous advantage. He plays effectively both indoors and outdoors. Phillips was full of potential at a young age. His versatility on both ends and physical metrics make him a desirable recruit.”
Phillips immediately upgrades Tennessee’s frontcourt and is likely to have an immediate lead. Coach Rick Barnes and the Volunteers are expected to bring back Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi on the flank and the versatile Josiah-Jordan James on the wing. Phillips and James should form a forward tandem capable of creating matchup trouble for most opponents.
They also bring back Olivier Nkamhoua, who started 22 games before suffering a season-ending ankle injury, and starting center Uros Plavsic. Indiana transfer Tyreke Key was averaging 17.2 points per game two seasons ago before sitting out last season and will add further clout to the backcourt.
The Volunteers ranked #19 in ESPN’s most recent update of the Way-Too-Early Top 25.