First look at Tennessee’s new basketball players on the court


Tennessee basketball is back to work inside the Pratt Pavilion, with four new faces making their debut in orange and white. The Vols released photos and brief video clips from the closed summer workouts in Knoxville on Wednesday:

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Julian Phillips (Photo: Tennessee Athletics)


Five star wing Julian Phillipswho will wear No. 2 in Tennessee, committed to Vols on May 12, choosing Rick Barnes and his staff on Auburn and an offer from the NBA’s G-League Ignite team. The 6-foot-8, 190-pound Phillips is the 12th overall prospect in the 2022 class according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. He is ranked No. 4 among small forwards and No. 1 overall in Missouri, where he attends Link Academy. He was the highest-rated available player in the class before announcing his commitment to Tennessee. The Vols hosted Phillips on an official visit in September. He visited Auburn, South Carolina and the Overtime Elite League in Atlanta after re-opening his recruiting.

Rick Barnes: “First of all, we love Julian and his family. He has the type of character and humility that we value in our program. When it comes to basketball, his versatility and ability to impact the game in so many different ways is special. Julian is a three-tier goalscorer, which is extremely valuable in our system. Defensively, we’re very excited about his combination of length and athleticism, as it allows him to guard multiple positions effectively. We expect Julian to blend in well with our current team and make an immediate impact.”

BJ Edwards (Photo: Tennessee Athletics)


BJ Edwards, the four-star point guard from Knoxville who will wear the No. 1 jersey, signed up for Tennessee earlier in May after signing with the Vols in November. The 6-foot-3, 192-pound Edwards, of Knoxville Catholic High School, was ranked No. 80 overall on 247Sports in the 2022 recruiting round. He was the 15th point guard in the nation and the 3rd overall prospect in the State of Tennessee. He will give the Vols the necessary depth in the backcourt after losing Kennedy Chandler in the NBA Draft.

Rick Barnes: “BJ is a player we’ve known for a long time and he’s a winner. He’s a complete guard who can impact the game in a number of ways. He plays with a lot of confidence and a good rhythm. He also defends at a high level, which is an attribute we appreciate. He’s always been an effective scorer, but he also makes his teammates better as a distributor. We believe BJ has a chance to become one of the SEC’s top all-around guards if he continues to work hard and adhere to our player development program. Keeping him here in Knoxville has been a priority for us.”

DJ Jefferson (Photo: Tennessee Athletics)


DJ Jefferson, who chose the No. 44 jersey at Tennessee and is listed at 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, was a late riser in his recruiting process, ending his prep career as a four-star prospect in the 247Sports ratings. , ranked No. 74 overall, No. 20 among small forwards and No. 1 at Minnesota, where he attended Minnesota Preparatory Academy. He committed to Tennessee and signed with the Vols on May 20. A native of Richardson, Texas, Jefferson was previously committed to Tulsa before the program parted ways with the head coach. Frank Haith. Jefferson chose Tennessee for the second time over Wake Forest and Washington State.

Rick Barnes: “DJ is great fun to be around. He has an engaging personality and contagious positive energy. That energy really translates to the basketball court. He’s an exciting player in transition who enjoys getting out on the court. DJ is also a defender top level with big shoulders and a long wingspan. I think Tennessee fans are going to love getting to know him and seeing him compete.”

Tyreke key (Photo: Tennessee Athletics)


Tyreke key, the Indiana State transfer shooter, will wear number 4 with the Vols and weighs 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds. He entered the transfer portal a year ago, sparking interest from Tennessee, before deciding to stay at Indiana State. He ended up missing the 2021-22 season after undergoing shoulder surgery in November. Key returned to the transfer portal as a graduate transfer in March and committed to the Flights on April 23. Key started 97 times in 114 games over four seasons at Indiana State, averaging 14.5 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He shot 37.4% from the 3-point line on 409 attempts. Two years ago, Key shot 38.9% on 144 3-point attempts, after shooting 44.8% on 96 attempts in 2018-19.

Rick Barnes: “We are all very excited to add Tyreke to our team. He has proven himself as a very effective player in a strong basketball conference. He really fits everything we are looking for in our program. He’s a great teammate and he has an exceptional work ethic which should make for a smooth transition into what we do every day.”


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