KNOXVILLE — Rick Barnes still plans to give out both of the Tennessee men's basketball team's open scholarships for the 2018-19 season, the coach said this past week in Chattanooga.
"We think right now we will," Barnes said before Thursday night's Big Orange Caravan event at the First Tennessee Pavilion. "We do. We think we will before it's all said and done."
The Volunteers lose just two of their 13 scholarship players from this past season's team, which advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Already, graduate transfer guard Khwan Fore has committed to play his last season for Tennessee, though he has yet to sign a national letter of intent. If he does sign, that should leave the Vols with one more available scholarship. Men's teams are permitted 13 scholarships per season.
Nearly all the nation's top high school prospects from the class of 2018 have signed with other schools, but Tennessee could be eyeing a late-blooming prospect or be considering another graduate transfer or transfer.
Though nearly every top contributor from a team that earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament returns, Barnes stressed the importance Thursday of the Vols reinventing themselves in the season ahead.
"It's something you have to address," Barnes said. "We've already addressed that. We went back and talked about the year before, teams that came out of nowhere and got to the tournament that had a lot of guys coming back and didn't get back (to the tournament). We've always believed that every year you've got to remake yourself."
Tennessee would have a third available scholarship for the upcoming season if forward Admiral Schofield opts to keep himself eligible for the NBA draft. But Schofield is not expected to attend the NBA combine May 17 and 18 after going through workouts with at least three NBA teams already during the pre-draft process.
"I think what makes it good is getting to go to the individual teams, whether it's OKC, whether it's Brooklyn, Milwaukee, Charlotte, you name it," Barnes said. "I think it's good to have a chance to go to those workouts and hear what these players need to hear from NBA people."