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Transfer wing Julian Phillips offers intriguing potential option for Indiana basketball



Tennessee transfer wing Julian Phillips provides an intriguing potential option for the Indiana basketball program. (Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports)

The Indiana basketball program is still active in the transfer portal and looking to finalize its roster for next season.

With two scholarships still remaining for the upcoming season, the emphasis is on the perimeter and outside shooting. One new player in the transfer portal is an intriguing option for the Hoosiers.

Tennessee freshman wing Julian Phillips entered the portal on Wednesday night — after already announcing his intention to go through the NBA Draft process.

Phillips averaged 8.3 points per game in 25 starts last season for the Vols. He also averaged 4.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

At 6-foot-8, Phillips has great size and length on the perimeter. He’s an athletic forward who is a very capable and effective two-way player. At this stage, Phillips is more of a slashing and driving wing. He hit only 11 3s last season and shot just 23.9 percent from the perimeter. But, his ability to get into the lane and finish over and around defenders is appealing.

Defensively, Phillips is the type of wing Mike Woodson is looking for. He’s someone who can switch on multiple positions and guard anywhere on the perimeter. He’s a strong rebounder and can grab the ball and push in transition.

He had a defensive rating of 91.1 last season. That was ranked sixth-best in the SEC.

“Basketball-wise, his versatility and ability to impact the game in so many different ways is special,” Vols coach Rick Barnes said when Phillips signed. Julian is a three-level scorer, which is extremely valuable in our system. Defensively, we’re very excited about his combination of length and athleticism, as it enables him to effectively guard multiple positions. We expect Julian to blend into our current team nicely and make an immediate impact.”

While shooting needs to be addressed for the Indiana basketball program, there is no doubting Phillips’ talent and skill. If it can add a dynamic playmaker on the perimeter, that’s something the Hoosiers can’t pass on.

If Indiana misses on five-star forward Mackenzie Mgbako, the Hoosiers will likely move towards Phillips.

Phillips earned an offer from the Indiana basketball program out of high school. He was one of the first players the new Indiana basketball staff targeted.

Coming out of high school, he was ranked the No. 15 overall player in the 247Sports class of 2022 composite rankings. He was a McDonald’s All-American.

After decommitting from LSU, Phillips chose Tennessee over Auburn, Florida State, South Carolina, USC, Overtime Elite and G League Ignite.

Phillips was invited to the NBA Combine that takes place from May 15-21.  Players have until May 31 to withdraw from the draft process and return to college.

SEE ALSO: 2024 four-star guard Jaeden Mustaf officially sets Indiana basketball visit date

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.