South Carolina Basketball: 5-star, Columbia native enters transfer portal

Blythewood, South Carolina native Julian Philips was considered a 5-star prospect in the 2022 recruiting class by every major recruiting outlet. After decommitting from LSU, Philips had a final list of South Carolina, Clemson, Auburn, Florida State, Southern Cal, and Tennessee but ended up at Tennessee. The South Carolina basketball program ended up signing fellow Columbia native and 5-star GG Jackson, but Gamecock fans wonder “what could have been” had they pulled in both blue chip prospects.

In his one season in Knoxville, Philips made the SEC All-Freshman team after averaging over 8 points and almost 5 rebounds per game from the small forward position. The 6’8″ wing is testing the NBA Draft waters but is expected to return to college after also entering his name into the transfer portal. The Volunteer starter could return to Tennessee, but that does not seem likely at this point.

Based on NCAA transfer portal rules for basketball, Phillips just beat the deadline as undergraduate players like Phillips cannot enter the portal after this weekend. Once players have entered their names into the portal, however, there is no deadline for enrollment other than standard enrollment and eligibility deadlines that apply to all athletes for their respective sports.

As things stand today, Bruce Pearl and the Auburn Tigers are considered the favorites to land the talented Phillips. Making things even more difficult for Carolina is scholarship numbers. With Finland native and Gamecock guard commit Morris Ugusuk reclassifying from the class of 2024 to the class of 2023, South Carolina basketball is technically full in regards to their scholarship count.

However, a scholarship could come available if another player transferred or if Ebrima Dibba required a medical hardship coming off of his Achilles injury. Any underclassman leaving the program would have to enter the portal by Monday, but graduate students can do so at any time. Most players on the roster seem set as they appear to have defined roles, but both Dibba and Benjamin Bosmans-Verdonk could find themselves as the “odd men out” of the rotation with the transfer portal additions to the program this offseason.