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University of Tennessee basketball coach Rick Barnes signs an autograph for Russell Bean during the Big Orange Caravan Thursday, May 10, 2018 at the Tennessee Pavilion in Chattanooga, Tenn. The Big Orange Caravan made its annual Chattanooga stop, and athletic director Phillip Fulmer, head football coach Jeremy Pruitt, basketball coach Rick Barnes, women's basketball coach Holly Warlick and others were in attendance to speak and sign autographs.

KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee men's basketball team remains in contention for D.J. Burns, a 6-foot-9 post player from Rock Hill, South Carolina, a source confirmed.

Burns, a four-star prospect who reclassified from the class of 2019 to the class of 2018 earlier this month, would fill one of the Volunteers' two open scholarships if he chose Tennessee.

The other open scholarship still is expected to be filled by Richmond graduate transfer Khwan Fore, multiple sources confirmed to the Times Free Press.

Tennessee's plans for its two open scholarships came into question Tuesday night when associate head coach Rob Lanier suggested during the Big Orange Caravan visit to Memphis that the Vols were done recruiting for their 2018-19 roster.

"We don't expect to fill any spots," Lanier said to an audience of several hundred fans. "We've got a redshirt freshman (Zach Kent) in the program; Yves Pons will be a sophomore; Jalen Johnson will be a redshirt sophomore; John Fulkerson will be improved. We feel like we're adding new players. Our focus on recruiting is on that 2019 class."

Coaches are prohibited by NCAA rules from publicly mentioning prospective student-athletes — such as Burns and Fore — but they are allowed to speak in general terms about recruiting.

Fore has committed to the Vols but has not signed with them. Burns, meanwhile, is also being recruited by South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia, according to 247Sports.

If Fore signs — as he is expected to — he appears to be a candidate to fill the void left by departed guard James Daniel III, who added key depth off the bench during Tennessee's run to a regular-season Southeastern Conference title this past season.

But as Lanier indicated, wing players Pons and Johnson will have the opportunity to challenge for more minutes in the 2018-19 season as the Vols seek to plunge deeper into the NCAA tournament after this year's second-round loss.

If Burns chooses the Vols, he would add needed youth to the roster and enter a front court anchored by senior center Kyle Alexander and junior power forward Grant Williams. Derrick Walker, who showed promise as a freshman, also will be back along with Kent and Fulkerson to challenge for minutes in the post.

"We're not going to be the same team," head coach Rick Barnes said Thursday at the caravan's Nashville stop. "We expect guys on our team to get better. We expect competition on our team to be better than it's ever been before. If you're not getting better, you're getting worse. We know this league is going to get better."

Contact David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidWCobb and on Facebook at facebook.com/volsupdate.

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