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5-Star SF Julian Phillips Commits to Tennessee After Decommitting from LSU

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVMay 12, 2022

AP Photo/Gregory Payan

Julian Phillips, a 5-star recruit who previously committed to play his college basketball at LSU before decommitting, committed to Tennessee on Thursday.

Per 247Sports' composite rankings, Phillips is one of the top prospects in the class of 2022, ranking 12th overall and fourth among small forwards.

Phillips committed to LSU in October and officially signed in November, but he had a change of heart  March 18 after the Tigers made a head coaching change.

According to Joe Tipton of On3.com, Phillips released a statement on the matter, saying:

"I would first like to say thank you to Coach [Will] Wade and the staff for giving me the opportunity to play at Louisiana State University. Thank you also to the fans and everyone along the way who gave their endless support. But due to the recent changes within the staff, I have been granted my release from the university and will be reopening my recruitment. I look forward to the journey of finding a new home."

LSU fired Wade on March 12 after the NCAA gave the school a notice of allegations that included five Level I violations.

Phillips, a 6'8" forward who starred at Link Academy in Branson, Missouri, was joined by 4-star recruit Devin Ree as LSU commits who reopened their recruiting.

With Phillips going back on the market, there was plenty of speculation regarding which schools would have a shot at him. USC, Florida State and Tennessee stood out as distinct possibilities since they were all previously finalists along with LSU, per Tipton.

Phillips has also received scholarship offers from Clemson, Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio State, Texas Tech and UCLA, among others, per 247Sports.

Jerry Meyer, the director of basketball scouting for 247Sports, called Phillips "long, lanky and athletic" and compared him to former University of Florida and NBA forward Corey Brewer.

Meyer sees Phillips eventually being a first-round pick in the NBA draft, and given his immense talent, he should make an instant impact with the Volunteers, one of the LSU's chief SEC rivals in Tennessee.

Under head coach Rick Barnes, the Volunteers have become perennial contenders, reaching the NCAA tournament each of the past four times it has been held and winning the SEC tournament in 2022.

With Phillips entering the fray, Tennessee should continue to be one of the SEC's top teams and possibly be in the mix for a national title.

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