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Where Tennessee Stands In Way-Too-Early Rankings Following Julian Phillips Commitment

The college basketball offseason continues to churn on as coaches across the country look to fill out their rosters ahead of the start of the fall semester in August.

The timetable for players to enter the transfer portal and be immediately eligible has past, but with the deadline for players in the NBA Draft to pull out and return to school coming next week, there’s plenty of roster movement left across the country.

Rick Barnes and his staff made its biggest splash of the offseason last week, beating out Auburn for five-star forward Julian Phillips. Phillips was the highest rated uncommitted prospect in the country when he inked with Tennessee on Monday.

Since the five-star forward committed to Tennessee, both CBS Sports and Jon Rothstein have updated their way-too-early preseason ranking each giving the Vols a boost.

CBS Sports Gary Parrish bumped Tennessee into his final spot in the top 10 following Phillips’ commitment.

“The Volunteers’ ranking is based on Tennessee returning four of its top five scorers – among them Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James,” Parrish wrote. “Tennessee will miss one-and-done point guard Kennedy Chandler but should still be a factor near the top of the SEC thanks in part to the addition of five-star forward Julian Phillips.”

Despite being in the top 10 nationally, Tennessee is the third ranked SEC team. The Vols come in behind No. 3 Arkansas and No. 4 Kentucky and ahead of No. 13 Auburn, No. 19 Texas A&M and No. 21 Alabama.

Jon Rothstein — a CBS Sports television personality and college basketball insider — has Tennessee right outside the top 25 in his Rothstein 45.

Rotstein ranks Tennessee as the No. 13 team nationally and No. 3 team in the SEC behind fourth-ranked Kentucky and fifth-ranked Arkansas.

No. 20 Auburn, No. 22 Texas A&M, No. 35 Alabama and No. 37 Florida round out the SEC teams in Rothstein’s top 40.

The Vols have three scholarships left to use ahead of the season. Four-star Texas wing D.J. Jefferson makes his college commitment Friday, less than a week following a visit to Tennessee.

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