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Tennessee Freshman Freddie Dilione Projects First Round Draft Potential in 2024

Freddie Dilione
BATON ROUGE, LA – January 21, 2023 – Guard Freddie Dilione #10 of the Tennessee Volunteers before the game between the LSU Tigers and the Tennessee Volunteers at Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA. Photo By Ian Cox/ Tennessee Athletics

Despite the 2023 NBA Draft wrapping up just a few days ago, analysts around the sport are already projecting the top names to keep an eye on for the 2024 NBA Draft.

The Tennessee Volunteers and head coach Rick Barnes are riding a hot streak when it comes to producing NBA talent. The Vols have put four players into the league over the past three years with two first-round selections and two second-round picks. Tennessee has had seven players drafted into the league under Barnes since 2019. In comparison, the previous seven before that spanned all the way back to 1997.

ESPN analysts Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo recently put out their way-too-early 2024 NBA two-round mock draft, with one Tennessee player landing in the projections. Givony and Woo have redshirt freshman Freddie Dilione going at No. 24 to the Boston Celtics in the first round of their mock draft.

Dilione is the fourth player from the SEC in ESPN’s mock draft behind a trio of Kentucky freshmen at No. 5, No. 7, and No. 23.

Freddie Dilione, a Top 25 player in 247 Sports’ Class of 2023 rankings, enrolled early this past January to get a jump start on his time with the Tennessee basketball team. Dilione did not see any action on the court this past season during his redshirt year.

“I think it’s huge, I do,” Barnes said about Dilione enrolling early back in January. “You look, it’s been going on in football forever. The fact that he and his family decided they wanted to do it, I think it’s going to really help him a lot. Gives him a big head start on things.”

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Heading into the 2023-2024 season, Dilione is projected to be one of the top players in the league and on the Tennessee roster with an instant impact. Additionally, Dilione doesn’t have to go through nearly as much of the introductory process as other incoming freshmen. Dilione has already seen an SEC regular season schedule, big events such as College GameDay in Knoxville, an SEC Tournament, the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament, and a Sweet 16 in Madison Square Garden. While Dilione did not play in any of those environments, the understanding of the process will go a long way.

The 6-foot-5, 180-pound combo guard was named to the Jersey Mike’s 2023 Naismith Boys High School Player of the Year watch list and the 2022-2023 USA Today Boys Basketball Player of the Year watch list during his final season before enrolling at Tennessee.

Dilione was one of 35 athletes that participated in the 2023 USA Men’s Basketball U19 World Cup training camp this past month in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Dilione’s Tennessee teammate, rising sophomore Tobe Awaka, was also one of the training camp participants. While he didn’t make the final 12-man roster by a slim margin, Dilione was among the Top 14 performers from the camp and impressed those around him.

“I think with Freddie, he’ll join our scout team,” assistant coach Gregg Polinsky said in January. “More than that, him just understanding the level of intensity, what the responsibilities are to be a Tennessee Vol. I don’t mean that in a corny way, but I mean that in a proud way. I think Freddie is bright enough. He has done his part at every level. And I think for us, it’s just watching him through this maturation process over the next however many months. But we’re really excited to have him here. He’s a high-level talent.”

Former Tennessee wing Julian Phillips was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the No. 35 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft in late June.

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