CBS Sports projects Tennessee Vols player as a first-round pick in 2023 NBA Draft

The Tennessee Vols made one of the biggest furore of the offseason earlier this spring when they signed five-star forward Julian Phillips in 2022.

Phillips, 6ft 8/200lbs of Branson, MO (via Blythewood, SC), is ranked the #4 small forward in the nation and the #1 player in the state of Missouri in the 247Sports composite rankings. He is also the No. 12 overall player in the 2022 recruit class.

If Phillips is for the Vols next season as announced, he won’t be in Knoxville for very long.

CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone has predicted Phillips as the first-round pick in the 2023 NBA draft due to his potential.

Boone’s early sham draft, which he released Tuesday, calls for Phillips to be drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies with the No. 23 pick overall. He also notes that Phillips has the potential to be a lottery pick.

From CBS Sports:

At 6-8, Phillips has a great frame on a wing and has the length and athleticism to be a potential lottery pick in next year’s draft. Good slasher that can move things with or without the ball in hand. Rick Barnes will love his game.

Link Academy’s Julian Phillips (5) dives during the second half of the Quarterfinals of the GEICO Nationals between Oak Hill Academy (Va.) and Link Academy (Mo.) on Thursday, March 31, 2022 at Suncoast Credit Union Arena in Fort Myers, Fla., a .Link Academy defeated Oak Hill Academy 81-67.
GEICO Nationals 2022: Oak Hill Academy (Va.) vs. Link Academy (Mon), March 31, 2022

This has got to be a bittersweet prediction for Vols fans.

Fans are obviously hoping Phillips will deliver on the five-star hype and become a star in the SEC in 2022-23. But if that happens, it almost certainly means he’ll be a one-and-done player.

If Phillips isn’t a one-and-done player, that means he’s had a massive disappointment season — at least compared to his recruiting ranking (I don’t want to use the word bust because I don’t think that’s fair for a college freshman) .

Unfortunately, that’s the reality of five-star players in today’s game. That certainly makes roster building a challenge for head coaches — especially when you throw the transfer portal into the mix.

If Phillips is a lottery pick, it will be great for the future of Tennessee basketball when it comes to recruiting. That’s absolutely what Vol fans should be hoping for, even if it means saying a quick goodbye to a great player.

Featured image by Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK

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