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Julian Phillips, Josiah-Jordan James Testing NBA Waters

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee freshman wing Julian Phillips and senior wing Josiah-Jordan James are testing NBA waters while maintaining their college eligibility, Vols’ coach Rick Barnes announced at the Big Orange Caravan in Nashville Wednesday night.

“Both Josiah and Julian are gong through the NBA process,” Barnes said. “That’s why they have to do and it’s a process they have to go through. They’re certainly training for it. We want what’s best for them. That’s just a process they have to go through.”

It was an inconsistent freshman season for Phillips as the former five-star recruit averaged 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Phillips never found his stroke last season at Tennessee shooting stroke as a freshman, making just 24% from the perimeter.

The 6-foot-8 wing missed 3.5 games in February with a strained hip flexor and never got into a groove after returning to the court. Phillips averaged just 5.7 points per game after returning from injury. Despite not having a massive freshman season, Phillips has measurables that make him attractive to NBA teams and projects as a second round pick.

More From RTI: Tennessee Lands Harvard Power Forward Chris Ledlum

James declared for the NBA draft while maintaining his eligibility last offseason but wasn’t able to fully participate in the pre draft process due to injures. Injuries were a common theme of James senior season as the versatile wing missed 12 games with both a knee and ankle injury that spanned over the course of the season.

When on the court, James’ production was streaky as the small forward averaged 10 points and 4.7 rebounds per game on 31% shooting from three-point range.

College players who declare for the draft while maintaining their college eligibility have until June 12 to decide to return to school.

The Vols’ offseason roster movement has taken shape in recent days as Santiago Vescovi announced he would return for his super senior season and Tennessee landed USC Upstate guard Jordan Gainey and Harvard power forward Chris Ledlum in the transfer portal.

Uros Plavsic is the lone Vol who has yet to indicate any intentions about his basketball future. If Plavsic, James and Phillips all returned to Tennessee the Vols would be three scholarships over the 13-scholarship limit and would have to cut ties with three other scholarship players. Due to that fact it seems very unlikely all three would return for another season.

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