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Top Transfer Point Guard Returning To St. Louis

Yuri Collins — one of the top guards in the transfer portal — announced he would return to St. Louis to use his final two years of eligibility on Sunday.

Collins entered the transfer portal six days before announcing his return to St. Louis. The Vols were heavily linked to the nation’s assist leader from the moment he entered the portal and Collins would have been a big pick up for UT at a position of need.

However, the 6-foot point guard will stay in St. Louis where he averaged 11.1 points and 7.9 assists per game as a junior. Rick Barnes and Tennessee now continue its search to fill out its 2022-23 roster.

The Vols added their first transfer over the weekend, beating out Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Ole Miss for Indiana State guard Tyreke Key.

The timing of Key’s commitment and Collins’ return to St. Louis might indicate that Tennessee was only going to take one of the transfer guards. That could possibly be the case, but seems unlikely as Collins is a pass first, true point guard and Key is an off the ball scoring guard.

Whether Tennessee pursues another point guard in the transfer portal will be interesting to follow as Zakai Zeigler and incoming freshman B.J. Edwards are the only current point guards on the roster.

Tennessee still has three scholarships remaining following Key’s commitment. The Vols have long pursued five-star Julian Phillips, but the power forward hasn’t visited Knoxville since the fall and saw South Carolina last weekend and is set for a visit to Auburn this week.

The more crowded the field is and the more visits that separate Phillips from his trip to Knoxville, Tennessee’s chances of landing the top 15 recruit wane.

The Vols expect to return the core of their SEC Tournament Championship team assuming Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James decide to return for their final season. Star point guard Kennedy Chandler — who declared for the NBA Draft — is the biggest offseason loss while John Fulkerson (graduation), Victor Bailey Jr (George Mason transfer), Quentin Diboundje (ECU transfer), Handje Tamba (transfer portal) and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (Louisville transfer) also left the program.

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