‘Tremendous Ability’: Freddie Dilione Projects to be a Playmaker for the Vols

Freddie Dilione

Freddie DilioneBATON ROUGE, LA – January 21, 2023 – Guard Freddie Dilione #10 of the Tennessee Volunteers before the game between the LSU Tigers and the Tennessee Volunteers at Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA. Photo By Ian Cox/ Tennessee Athletics

“We’re excited about him.”

Rick Barnes landed another gem for the Tennessee basketball program from the class of 2022 with combo-guard Freddie Dilione.

Dilione, a former four-star recruit in his class, joined the team halfway through the 2022-2023 season as an early enrollee. While he didn’t see any action on the court during the redshirt year, Dilione was on the bench and with the team for the win over Alabama, a road game at Kentucky, the SEC Tournament, the NCAA Tournament, and more big appearances.

Despite not actually playing during those games, Barnes believes that just having Dilione with the program for that half-season will be very beneficial for the young guard on the court.

“I think the beneficial part was the time he got to spend with (strength coach) Garrett (Medenwald),” Barnes said about Dilione on Tuesday. “Just the fact that his body has changed so much since the time that he got here.”

Dilione is projecting to be a dynamic player in the Tennessee uniform. Combined with veteran guards Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi, Tennessee’s backcourt should have both the ability to drive and shoot against any situation.

It isn’t just the Tennessee potential, though. A way-too-early NBA Mock Draft from ESPN in late June has Dilione already projecting as a future first-round draft pick. Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo are projecting Dilione, early on, to go at No. 24 to the Boston Celtics.

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Back in June, Dilione, along with Tennessee teammate Tobe Awaka, both went through tryouts for the United States U19 national team in the FIBA World Cup event this summer. While Dilione did not make the final 12-man roster for the team, the young Tennessee guard did make it to the final round of cuts and landed just two players outside of the final 12.

Still, though, the experience alone was beneficial.

“I think the experience he had with Team USA was good for him,” Barnes said. “But his body has definitely changed. He’s a guy that has got tremendous ability and can do a lot of things. We’re excited about him.”

Awaka did end up making the team and eventually went on to land second in scoring and rebounding for the Americans during the seven-game stretch in Debrecen, Hungary. While Dilione didn’t travel overseas with him, Awaka was able to see Dilione’s game continue to develop.

“I think Freddie is a great all-around player,” Awaka said on Tuesday. “I’ve gotten to play with him during some of the early spring workouts and also at the USA camp during the trials. I really enjoyed playing with him. He’s a great passer, a great scorer, and I think he can do really great things for us.”

With a half-season under his belt filled with watching big wins, tough losses, and memorable trips to Orlando and New York City, Freddie Dilione is ready to become a playmaker for the Tennessee basketball team.

Author: Ethan Moore