When it comes to Rick Barnes landing five-star basketball prospects at Tennessee, the 2022 recruiting cycle was a case of better late than never.
Julian Phillips, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound small forward from Link Academy in Branson, Missouri, announced his commitment Thursday afternoon to the Volunteers. Phillips, who was previously committed to LSU until the mid-March firing of Tigers coach Will Wade, is the nation's No. 12 overall prospect and was the last top-25 recruit to reveal his intention.
"They're a school that has been recruiting me for a long time, so I knew a lot about them," Phillips told 247Sports.com. "They have a system I can play in, and Coach Barnes can help me get to the next level as well."
Phillips picked the Vols over scholarship offers from Auburn, Florida State, South Carolina and Southern California, as well as opportunities in the NBA G-League and the Overtime Elite League. He would become the sixth five-star recruit to sign with Tennessee in the past four years, joining Josiah-Jordan James (2019), Keon Johnson (2020), Jaden Springer (2020), Kennedy Chandler (2021) and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield (2021).
Johnson, Springer and Chandler stayed just one season in Knoxville before making themselves eligible for the NBA draft, while Huntley-Hatfield entered the NCAA transfer portal after Tennessee's recent 27-8 season concluded and is now at Louisville.
The Vols have three new faces so far for their 2022-23 roster, with Phillips joining two guards: fifth-year senior transfer Tyreke Key from Indiana State and four-star signee BJ Edwards out of Knoxville Catholic.