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‘Joining A Family’: Star Transfer Chaz Lanier Discusses Why He Chose Tennessee

Photo via Chaz Lanier

Tennessee basketball made a major splash in the transfer portal last week when North Florida guard Chaz Lanier committed to and signed with the Vols.

Lanier visited BYU, Kentucky and Tennessee consecutively before committing to Rick Barnes and his staff for his final season of college eligibility.

“I just feel like I’ll be joining something that’s bigger than me,” Lanier told RTI. “Something that’s about the program and truly wants to win. I know Coach Barnes’ interest align with my interest as well … I just knew that I would be joining something that’s bigger than me and I know he’s built up an amazing culture.”

Tennessee’s culture and commitment to land Lanier was evident immediately when he showed up on campus. Lanier made it to Knoxville at midnight after visiting Kentucky earlier that day. The Rock was painted, “Come Home Chaz!” and there was more excitement in store when he arrived at the basketball facility.

“Coach brought me in the locker room and the whole program was there. From the head coach to all the guys,” Lanier said. “Everybody was in there. It was just welcoming and the hospitality was second to none. I was just thinking to myself, man, that’s what it’s about. Joining a family.”

A Nashville native who played his prep basketball at the Ensworth School, Lanier felt the love from both Tennessee’s program and Knoxville as a whole. Going to breakfast off campus, Lanier saw a number of small businesses that had the message ‘Come home, Chaz’ on their marquees.

“That’s something I’ve always thought about and dreamed of,” Lanier said. “Just being a Tennessee guy and coming from Nashville. It’s something you dream of.”

More From RTI: Tennessee Basketball Added Two Of The Most Efficient Offensive Players In The Country This Offseason

A top 15 transfer this offseason according to 247sports and On3, Lanier was a big time scorer in his senior year at North Florida. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard averaged 19.7 points on 51% shooting from the field and 44% shooting from three-point range.

Lanier is a high level scorer that is dangerous in catch and shoot opportunities while also being really effective creating his own shot off the dribble. At Tennessee, Lanier sees an offense and surrounding roster that meshes well with what he does on the court.

“I’ll be able to showcase my ability to shoot threes,” Lanier said. “Get down hill, finish at the rim and then being surrounded by other shooters as well. Being able to play make and pass the ball off and have guys on the floor that can make shots. There’s a lot of guys on the roster who can spread the floor and we have some big boys who can set hard screens and then go catch it above the rim.”

Tennessee has ranked in the top five in adjusted defensive efficiency for each of the last four years and part of the reason he picked Tennessee was so he could develop his defense— a move that boded well for Dalton Knecht last season.

Lanier believes he will fit well with his new teammates on the court but already knows that he fits well with them off the court. The highly touted transfer quickly acquainted himself with his teammates during his visit.

“When I ate with the guys and met with the guys it was like we’ve known each other for years already,” Lanier said. “Just meshing with them was great. The guys are funny and they all have different personalities. You could tell they really love one another so it’s just going to be a great group of guys to be around.”

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