June 5, 2017
THE FLATS – Former Tennessee basketball player Shembari Phillips is transferring to Georgia Tech and will join the Yellow Jackets’ program, head coach Josh Pastner announced Monday.
Phillips, a 6-3 guard from Atlanta, comes to Tech after playing two seasons for the Volunteers. He will sit out the 2017-18 season and has two years of eligibility remaining. Phillips appeared in 31 games and made 13 starts during his sophomore season at Tennessee, averaging 6.2 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 20.9 minutes per game. He played one of his better games of the season in a win over Georgia Tech on Dec. 3, scoring 14 points with seven assists and five rebounds, and finished the season with a 37.5-percent success rate from three-point range.
“Shembari will be a good addition to our program,” said Pastner. “He will be a veteran presence for us and help us ‘get old and stay old,’ which I think is key for us in the ACC. Sitting out a year will be an important part of his development, and based on some of the guys we will be losing to graduation, we will need him to step up for us right away.”
Noted for his development as a defensive player, Phillips saw increased playing time at the point guard position over the final three weeks of the 2016-17 season and averaged 32.3 minutes over the Vols’ final four games, in which he averaged 8.3 points and 5.0 rebounds.
Phillips, who studied criminal justice at Tennessee, played 33 games as a freshman, starting the final 11, and averaged 5.4 points and 1.8 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game. In SEC play, he owned the best three-point percentage (.459) among conference freshmen with at least 30 attempts.
A graduate of Wheeler High School in Marietta, where he played his senior year of basketball, Phillips is the second Atlanta-area basketball player to transfer from Tennessee to Tech in recent years. Guard Trae Golden, who attended McEachern High School, played basketball for the Yellow Jackets in 2013-14 after three seasons at Tennessee. Phillips attended Tucker (Ga.) High school prior to his senior year.
He joins a four-player recruiting class that will join the Tech program this summer, including 6-foot point guard Jose Alvarado, a three-star prospect from Christ the King High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., 6-9 forward Evan Cole, a versatile frontcourt prospect from South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Ga., 6-6 wing Curtis Haywood II, a three-star sharpshooter from Oklahoma City, Okla., by way of Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, and 6-8 forward Moses Wright from William G. Enloe High School in Raleigh, N.C.
Pastner’s 2016-17 squad, which went 21-16 and advanced to the championship game of the National Invitation Tournament, lost six seniors but returns its top three scorers – 6-4 sophomore guard Josh Okogie (Snellville, Ga.), 6-2 senior guard Tadric Jackson (Tifton, Ga.) and 6-10 senior center Ben Lammers (San Antonio, Texas).
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH MEN’S BASKETBALL
Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its second year under head coach Josh Pastner after compiling a 21-16 record and posting a runner-up finish in the NIT. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.
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