Four-star forward Cade Phillips enjoys visit to Rocky Top, picks up offer
It was a jam-packed weekend for 2023 four-star forward Cade Phillips.
The Jacksonville, Alabama prospect made his way up to Knoxville for his second official visit of the fall. Phillips arrived on Friday and took in Saturday afternoon’s football game between Tennessee and Georgia, before watching Rick Barnes’ basketball team beat ETSU.
“It was a fun time,” Phillips told VolQuest. “We went to the football game on Saturday and that was fun because it was a good game for awhile, and then the basketball game on Sunday. That was really fun to be able to watch both of those in the same weekend.
“We just got to hang out. Coach Barnes was big on making it seem like I was a part of the team and as if it were a normal day. We woke up, watched film, watched practice, ate lunch with the team, watched film again, another shoot-around, watched them work out. Coach Barnes did a really good job of making me feel like I was on the team and not trying to show it up anymore than what it is. That was really good.”
The 6-foot-7, 210-pound post prospect out of Jacksonville High School is ranked as the No. 68 overall player in the class of 2023 by Rivals.
High school basketball prospects are allowed five official visits during both their junior and senior year. On Phillips’ first trip to see the Vols, he just wanted to take in the atmosphere of the program.
“I wanted to see what the atmosphere was like with the players and the coaches,” Phillips said. “Just how they played and interacted with one another. That was something I really wanted to see. I definitely got to see that. They love to be around each other and that was something that was cool to see at the college level.
“They’re good. I was impressed by their forward play. Olivier had 23, so I was impressed by their forward play. We’ll see how this weekend goes for them with some top-level competition. That’ll be cool to watch.”
Phillips returned home on Sunday afternoon with a parting gift from Barnes: a scholarship offer.
“That was pretty sweet,” Phillips said of the offer. “I’ve been talking to Tennessee for a little bit, so when they invited me on an official, it was cool. Sunday afternoon, we had the final meeting of the week and Coach Barnes offered me. It was a pretty cool experience. And I know Tennessee isn’t huge on offering guys, so that made me feel good."
Phillips’ father, John David Phillips, played quarterback at Alabama, while his mother, Reagan Croyle Phillips, played basketball for the Crimson Tide. He’s also the nephew of former Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle. His grandfather, John Croyle, played for Bear Bryant.
The Alabama legacy received an offer from Alabama in January and took an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa in June.
“They see me as a mismatch at the three or the four," Phillips said. "A guy that is too fast for the big guys and too big for the little guys. They want to use me as a hybrid by moving me around and giving me space to work. Just want to allow me to be a playmaker. That offense is fast-paced and it’s a good fit. They were really trying to make sure I knew that.”
Phillips previously visited Georgia during the first weekend of October and intends to visit Stanford at some point. As for his three other junior visits he can use, he’s playing it by ear.
Tennessee, Stanford, Memphis and Georgia are the teams in contact with Phillips most frequently at the moment.
As for now, Phillips considers himself still open as he’s just in the beginning phases of his recruitment.
“We’re still very open,” Phillips said. The perfect time would be off a state championship win. We’ll cut a list that day. That would be ideal timing, but we’ll see. We’re playing it by ear and just feeling things out right now.
“My relationship with the coaches and the way they interact with their players will weigh heavily in my decision. Plus my fit and development. Those are the two things I’m looking for because I want to make it to the next level.”