Tennessee basketball signee Freddie Dilione plans to enroll at Tennessee for the 2023 spring semester while joining the Vols’ basketball program, the Charlotte Observer’s Alex Bass first reported.
Dilione is the highest ranked player in Tennessee’s four-player 2023 signing class, coming in as the No. 27 player and No. 8 combo guard in the country according to the 247sports composite rankings.
The 6-foot-4 guard plans to redshirt the remainder of the season while beginning to learn Tennessee’s system.
“This will help prepare my body and my mental approach to the game,” Dilione told ESPN’s Paul Biancardi. “Coach Barnes is a hard coach. I need hard coaching to develop. I can’t wait to learn.”
Whether Dilione will even be eligible to play isn’t clear, with 247sports’ Travis Branham reporting Dilione is “still in the process of applying.”
Tennessee beat out Alabama, Virginia and VCU for Dilione in August after the four-star guard visited his finalist over the summer.
“Freddie is another guy we’re thrilled about adding—he is the definition of a ‘Tennessee guard.’ He comes from an amazing and supportive family,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. “Our recruitment of Freddie began when he attended our Elite Camp in the summer of 2021. And as his recruitment continued, it became clear that he fit our culture extremely well.”
The Vols are capable of adding Dilione to the roster to begin the new semester because Tennessee was only using 12 of its 13 scholarships during the fall semester.
More From RTI: Santiago Vescovi’s Offense Leads Vols Past Ole Miss
Rick Barnes has brought in a mid-year enrollee during his Tennessee tenure when Santiago Vescovi joined the 2019-20 Vols in early January. Tennessee planned on redshirting Vescovi before senior point guard Lamonte Turner had season ending surgery, thrusting Vescovi into a larger role.
Tennessee is not in nearly as much need for guard play this season as they were during the 2019-20 season. Still, the Vols could use another ball handler on their roster and if injuries affect Tennessee, Dilione could provide a boost.
“We love Freddie’s versatility on both sides of the floor,” Barnes said. “As a playmaker, he does a great job of making his teammates better, and he can score in so many different ways. He’s going to be a lot of fun to coach.”
Tennessee enters the new year 11-2 (1-0 SEC) aheads of its conference home opener against Mississippi State. The Vols and Bulldogs face off Tuesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET with ESPN2 broadcasting the game.