Former North Florida guard Chaz Lanier commits to Tennessee

Former North Florida guard Chaz Lanier, one of the top available players in the transfer portal, has committed to Tennessee, he told ESPN on Friday.

"I'm going back home," Lanier said. "I was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to come back to my home state and put on for my city and family. My whole family will be at every game next year, lord willing."

Lanier, a first-team All-Atlantic Sun player, averaged 19.7 points per game last season. He ranked among the best shooters in college basketball, hitting 106 3-pointers in 31 games while converting 44% of his attempts from beyond the arc.

Lanier picked the Vols over Kentucky and BYU after recently taking official visits to all three schools.

"UT was the best because of the fit and the play style," Lanier said. "I'll be able to showcase my ability to put the ball in the basket at the highest level of college basketball, and also develop my defense under a hall of fame coach in Rick Barnes, who has a track record of sending players to the NBA. Our goals are aligned. I know that winning is everything. The culture that he created is special. I could feel it on my official visit."

Lanier says he will withdraw his name from the NBA draft at the May 29 NCAA deadline after gathering valuable feedback at the NBA G League's Elite Camp in Chicago last week.

Lanier joins a Tennessee team coming off a SEC regular-season championship and Elite Eight appearance, a team headlined by SEC Player of the Year and All-American Dalton Knecht, a projected top-10 pick.

An elite shooter/scorer who plays the same position, Knecht transferred from Northern Colorado, a fact that wasn't lost on Lanier in the recruiting process.

"Tennessee never compared me to Dalton in terms of our play style or game, but we did talk about the route he took which is a very similar path," he said. "It's possible I can do the same thing."