Another guard is leaving Tennessee’s basketball program.
Approximately a month and a half after freshman guard Kwe Parker opted to transfer, sophomore Shembari Phillips made the same decision on Wednesday afternoon, the school confirmed in a press release.
“Shembari is a great young man, and I know this wasn’t an easy decision for him,” Rick Barnes said. “We always need to do what’s best for our students. And in Shembari’s case, we’re going to do everything we can to help him find the school and program that’s the best fit for him. He’ll have plenty of options because of the kind of person and teammate he is.”
Originally a three-star recruit out of Tucker, Ga., Phillips inked with Donnie Tyndall during the fall signing period of 2015. He stuck around after Tyndall was fired and Rick Barnes was brought in the following spring.
Playing as a combo guard as a true freshman in 2015-16, Phillips started the final 11 games of the season and averaged 5.4 ppg and an average of 16.2 minutes per contest. He started 13 games in 2016-17, averaging 6.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg and 1.7 apg in his 31 total games. He played some of the best basketball of his career towards the end with an average of 8.3 ppg and over 32 minutes per game in the final four contests of the year.
Phillips’ departure leaves the Vols with just three scholarship guards – Jordan Bone, Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden – on the roster who have ever appeared in a game. The Vols will also have redshirt freshman Jalen Johnson available in 2017-18.
Tennessee signed junior college combo guard Chris Darrington, ranked by 247Sports as the 13th best JUCO player in the class, last week to give the Vols more options in the backcourt. There will also be one open scholarship in this class going forward, giving Barnes the ability to add a graduate transfer – such as Howard guard James Daniel III, who has named Tennessee a finalist – or another recruit if he decides not to carry that scholarship forward into the next class.
Phillips also released this message via Twitter on Wednesday afternoon:
— Shembari Phillips (@IDunkOnU23) May 10, 2017