The 6-foot-8 small forward out of Branson (Mo.) Link Year Prep is the fourth-highest ranked prospect to choose the Vols in the modern recruiting era. Only Tobias Harris (’10), Scotty Hopson (’08), and Kennedy Chandler (’21) ranked higher.
The On3 Consensus – a complete and equally weighted industry-generated average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies – ranks Phillips as the No. 13 overall prospect in the country.
Once Phillips was back on the board, each of the schools that lost out the first time around — Tennessee, USC, Florida State — all began the chase once more. In the meantime, one school emerged from the shadows and immediately became a heavy contender — Auburn. The Tigers had recently landed Yohan Traore, who was committed to LSU with Phillips prior. Auburn got Phillips on an official visit in late April, and Bruce Pearl and the Tigers were viewed as the team to beat.
In the weeks since Phillips remained tight-lipped and it was really anyone’s guess as to who would land his commitment. Phillips even met with the G-League on Wednesday (yes, only one day before his announcement). In the end, Rick Barnes and Tennessee win the recruiting battle. Phillips joins four-star PG B.J. Edwards and Indiana State SG transfer Tyreke Key.
Phillips on Tennessee
The future Tennesee Vol gave his thoughts on the program in a previous interview with On3.
“I think Coach (Rick) Barnes and the Tennessee program are great,” Phillips said. “Coach Barnes is a legendary coach. He’s coached some really good guys and he’s had a lot of success with winning. I think he’s a great guy and the Tennessee program is great as well.”
“Coach (Rick) Barnes has had a lot of success coaching bigger wings like myself,” Julian Phillips said to On3’s Jamie Shaw. “They just won the SEC championship, so they are a hot team right now. He is putting guys, more importantly guards, in the league. He has a lot of experience winning.”
Tennessee fans can celebrate for now, but he may not be in Knoxville long. According to ESPN’s latest 2023 NBA mock draft, Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz projected Phillips to be selected as the 15th overall pick.
“Has good positional size with natural length. A quick leaper with explosive pop. Very instinctive offensive rebounder has a nose for extra possessions. Needs to continue gaining strength, especially in his base and core. Attacks closeouts well in straight lines. Jump shot is becoming a reliable weapon off the catch. Like to see him get into his shot off the bounce a little quicker. Plays upright off the bounce. Good off-ball cutter. High IQ player, give great effort.” – On3’s Jamie Shaw, National Recruiting Analyst
Julian Phillips recently spoke to Shaw and gave him his own personal take on his game.
“I am a big guard,” Phillips told On3. “I can shoot it, put it on the floor, get to the basket. I’m a very versatile defender as well. I’ve really improved a lot on my defense, team defense. I can get my shot off at a high level, working as a wing, playing efficiently this season. I watch a lot of Cam Reddish. He is a bigger guard with a frame similar to me and can do some of the same things I can. I watch a lot of Khris Middleton see how he can get to his spots and how he shoots it.”