Already with offers from Georgia State and Western Kentucky, the 5-11, 168-ppund point guard out of powerhouse Oak Hill Academy will be on hand for Sunday’s Auburn Elite Camp, a special day for the Tigers, especially for first-year Coach Bruce Pearl.
With his NCAA show-cause penalty ending at midnight on Saturday, Pearl will be able to work at Sunday’s camp and interact with recruits for the first time since he took the job with the Tigers in March. That’s big news for Phillips, who said he’s already very impressed by the Auburn staff.
“I’m very anxious to get to talk to him because he’s an energetic person like that and so am I,” Phillips said. “With what he brings to the game, he’s very passionate. Getting to meet him and knowing what he can to do turn the program around, I’m very interested to talk to him and meet him and hopefully we can get something done.
“I love the staff,” he added. “I love how they have communicated with me so far and Bruce just being there in general. I love that he’s there and the style that they want to play. I don’t think they can turn the program around without him being the energetic person that he is.”
Getting something this weekend for Phillips would mean a scholarship offer from the Tigers. Even though he’s a returning starter for an Oak Hill team that posted a 41-4 record a year ago and is the younger brother of NBA standout Brandon Jennings, the recruiting process has been a little slow for the senior-to-be. He said an offer from Auburn would be a game-changer if it happens.
“Hopefully, they will offer me this weekend,” Phillips said. “That would be big. It would mean a lot because, frankly, I feel like they are the only program that believes that I can play a high level of basketball even though I do go to Oak Hill Academy. We play a top notch team almost every night. I feel like Auburn believes in me and I feel like I can come in and be an energetic player for that program.”
Even though he hasn’t spoken to Pearl, Phillips has already had the opportunity to get to know Tony Jones and Chuck Person, coaches on Pearl's staff. Getting to see the campus and Auburn Arena during a short visit in June, the California native who moved to Georgia four years ago said he really likes the direction the program is headed under the new staff.
“I just think they are great the way they came at me about the whole situation and about how it was unofficial,” he said of the visit. “It was only about an hour or two, but I kind of enjoyed the whole coaching staff.
“It was my first ever trip to Auburn, but you know there was a buzz around campus even though all of the students weren’t there,” Phillips added. “I could kind of tell that there was a buzz around a whole new basketball staff and Bruce being there. The campus is beautiful. If you’ve ever been to Auburn you definitely know that.”