Five-star Tennessee commit Julian Phillips turned down NBA’s G-League deal

2022 5-star Julian Phillips is the top ranked unsigned senior in the latest 2022 rankings (photo cred- players Twitter page via Rodger Bohn)

Five-star forward Julian Phillips, who just committed to Tennessee, was offered an $800,000 contract from the NBA’s G-League Ignite program, according to On3’s Joe Tipton. He ultimately turned it down to play for the Vols but met with the G-League as recently as Wednesday.

To any 18-year-old, turning down a six-figure deal in any respect is a tough decision, but that’s the luxury NIL has provided athletes looking to cash in on their fame as quickly as possible. As a blue-chip prospect now at a major SEC program, the sky is the limit for his NIL potential on a local and national scale.

According to ESPN’s latest 2023 NBA mock draft, Phillips is projected to be selected as the 15th overall pick, where he’ll make any money lost from rejecting his G-League offer back when etching his name on his contract.

Julian Phillips commits to Tennessee

Five-star prospect Julian Phillips has committed to Tennessee, a source told On3. 

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. 

Phillips chose Tennessee over AuburnFlorida StateSouth CarolinaUSC, the Overtime Elite league, and the NBA’s G-League. Phillips, a South Carolina native, was originally committed to the LSU Tigers. Once Will Wade was fired after receiving several Level 1 violations, Phillips reopened his recruitment.

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 end, Rick Barnes and Tennessee win the recruiting battle. Phillips joins four-star PG B.J. Edwards and Indiana State SG transfer Tyreke Key.