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Chaz Lanier Looking to Return Hardware to Knoxville, Draws Praise from Rick Barnes

Chaz Lanier
Tennessee transfer signee Chaz Lanier. Photo via @SwaggyChaz on Instagram.
“Chaz has a desire to help us win another SEC championship, as well as contend for a national title” -Rick Barnes

Tennessee added a critical piece from the transfer portal over the weekend with Top 11 prospect Chaz Lanier. The rising fifth-year guard played his first four seasons at North Florida and put himself on the map with a huge scoring year for the Ospreys this past season.

Lanier, the 11th-ranked portal prospect according to 247, had a breakout year with 19.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season and found offensive success on all levels of the court. The 6-foot-4 guard was someone that Tennessee targeted early into the offseason, eventually drawing a commitment from the Nashville native over Kentucky, BYU, and the NBA Draft.

Lanier announced his commitment to Tennessee on Friday, who then turned around and announced Lanier’s official signing on Saturday. Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes released a statement alongside the news, praising Lanier’s talent on the court and his personality off of it.

“We are happy to welcome Chaz and his family to Rocky Top,” Barnes said in the statement. “As soon as Chaz entered the transfer portal, we identified him as someone we would love to bring home to the Volunteer State. Our fan base will love his character, humility and work ethic, as well as his strong basketball IQ. He has already proven to be one of the most efficient scorers in college basketball and we feel his ability to put the ball in the basket from all over the floor will translate well to the SEC.”

More from RTI: Tennessee Commit Chaz Lanier Highlight Tape

It’s no secret that Tennessee lost a significant amount of production from their SEC championship-winning team this offseason, whether it be from graduation with Dalton Knecht and Josiah-Jordan James or the portal with Tobe Awaka and Jonas Aidoo. But Barnes and his staff worked hard to bring in four talented players from the portal, topping things off with an addition from blue-chip prospect Chaz Lanier over the weekend.

“Chaz has a desire to help us win another SEC championship, as well as contend for a national title,” Barnes said in the statement. “It is clear his goals and mindset blend well with the rest of the guys in our program and this is an excellent fit. Chaz’s excitement about the opportunity to return to a state he loves so much was evident to us and we know Vol Nation will embrace him from day one.”

More from RTI: Where Tennessee’s Portal Class Ranks After Chaz Lanier Commitment

Lanier was an offensive weapon during his breakout senior season. Lanier recorded career highs in field goal percentage (51%), three-point percentage (44%), rebounds (4.8), assists (1.8), blocks (0.3), steals (0.9), and points (19.7) per game last year, leading to a 2023-2024 First Team All-ASUN selection at the end of the season.

With four portal additions from Darlinstone Dubar, Felix Okpara, Igor Milicic Jr., and Chaz Lanier, Tennessee now has two more scholarships to work with for next season. That being said, though, Tennessee’s rotation does look fairly set so it’s more likely Tennessee uses those spots for more developmental pieces.

Stay tuned to Rocky Top Insider for more Tennessee basketball news throughout the offseason.

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