2019 Power Forward to Officially Visit Vols

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    (Photo via @jb_243 on Twitter)

    This week is turning out to be a very busy and very important week for Tennessee’s men’s basketball program.

    Not only are the Vols hosting Virginia Tech grad transfer Kerry Blackshear Jr. on an official visit later this week, but Wednesday will see another player taking an official visit to UT’s campus.

    Josaphat Bilau, a power forward in the 2019 class, told RTI late Tuesday night that he will be taking an official visit to Knoxville on Wednesday. Bilau confirmed to RTI that Tennessee extended an offer to him last week and that the Vols’ offer to him is legitimate.

    Bilau is a 6-foot-10, 230-pound forward who is originally from France and has played for Quality Education Academy in North Carolina and Spire Academy in Ohio here in the US. Tennessee gave him a scholarship offer on Friday of last week. He’s not currently rated on 247Sports but has a three-star rating on Rivals.

    Right now, Bilau is gaining a lot of interest from several high major schools. Pitt seems to be the slight favorite, but he also included West Virginia, Georgia, and Wake Forest in his list of top four teams before he started to pick up more interest. He’s also recently picked up offers from other schools, and he holds offers from teams like Kansas, Georgetown, Illinois, Nevada, Texas Tech, Wichita State, and Virginia Tech. He’s visited Nevada recently among other schools.

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    Bilau has only played basketball for about four years, meaning he’s pretty raw still. But for only being on the court for a few years, he already possesses a solid array of skills and has a lot of upside.

    Though he’s 6-foot-10, Bilau actually has pretty good ball-handling skills. He can dribble very effectively and has a good handle on some more complex maneuvers. Bilau can also pass the ball pretty well and has a good eye and feel for how to set up teammates. He’s a strong presence in the paint and moves well on defense. On offense, Bilau has a few moves other than just taking interior passes and dunking. He can make jumpers and hook shots, and he’s even capable of knocking down threes. That’s not a large part of his game, but he can do it if left open.

    Bilau reportedly has a 7-foot-3 wingspan, which further adds to his upside and athleticism. It also makes him even more dangerous on defense.

    Tennessee’s 2019-20 roster is full up on scholarships right now with the addition of four signees in their 2019 class and two transfers. The Vols have signed five-star guard Josiah James, four-star forward Olivier Robinson-Nkamhoua, three-star forward Drew Pember, and three-star small forward Davonte Gaines in their 2019 class already, and they added Arizona State center Uros Plavsic and Oregon guard Victor Bailey Jr. as transfers. With those six additions, Tennessee has reached the 13 scholarship limit for the 2019-20 season.

    The Vols would have to have someone transfer off the current roster to make room for Bilau if he wants to sign with UT. But Tennessee is also in the running for Kerry Blackshear, the coveted grad transfer forward from Virginia Tech. It’s unlikely the Vols would have spots for both on their 2019-20 roster, however.

    We will update as more information becomes available.



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.