The highest-ranked uncommitted prospect in the class of 2022, five-star Julian Phillips, officially announced his commitment to Tennessee on Thursday. Phillips chose Tennessee over Auburn, Florida State, South Carolina, USC, Overtime Elite, and the NBA G-League.
According to a report from On3 Sports’ Joe Tipton via Barkley Truax on Thursday, Phillips turned down an $800,000 contract from the NBA G-League before committing to Tennessee.
“Five-star forward Julian Phillips, who just committed to Tennessee, was offered an $800,000 contract from the NBA’s G-League Ignite program, according to On3’s Joe Tipton,” Truax wrote for On3 on Thursday. “He ultimately turned it down to play for the Vols but met with the G-League as recently as Wednesday.”
Even with the reported colossal offer of $800,000 on the table, Phillips still decided to take his talents to Knoxville and play for Tennessee. After he announced his commitment on CBS Sports HQ, Julian Phillips spoke very highly of Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes.
“Rick Barnes, he has a history with great wings,” Phillips said on CBS Sports HQ. “He’s a great coach. Tennessee won the SEC Championship last year so they’re a hot team right now. And then coach Barnes is just a great guy overall. I have a great relationship with him. He talks to me about a lot of things. Basketball, but non-basketball related like our faith in Jesus Christ and things like that. He’s a great guy and I would be happy to play for him.”
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As the No. 12 prospect in the nation according to 247 Sports, there’s no real surprise as to the value that Phillips was able to bring in from the G-League. And it does give a reasonable look into the newfound success of the NIL world with Phillips expecting to make considerable and significant money in Knoxville as well.
Tennessee’s late-cycle addition of Phillips is a massive win for Tennessee on the recruiting trail as the Vols now expect three additions to the team this year. In addition to Phillips, Tennessee is also bringing in four-star point guard B.J. Edwards (Knoxville Catholic) and Indiana State transfer Tyreke Key.
Before Phillips’ commitment to Tennessee, the Vols had the No. 77 ranked overall class in the nation. While the Vols haven’t quite snuck into the Top 25, Tennessee did take a massive leap forward to the No. 31 spot according to 247 Sports’ rankings.
Standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing in at 200-pounds, Phillips has the height of a power forward out as a player on the wing. The former Link Academy player has been terrific in various high school, tournament, and showcase games this year, highlighting his ability to both drive the ball inside and also shoot from the perimeter. Phillips is an offensive star-in-waiting and is even projecting for the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft.