Tennessee basketball suffered another blow in the post Monday with news that Volunteers forward DJ Burns would enter the transfer portal.
Less than a week after losing out on Kerry Blackshear, news continues to get worse for Tennessee basketball when it comes to the inside game for 2019-2020. A guy who figured to be a key part of the Vols’ system next year could be headed elsewhere.
DJ Burns, who redshirted this past year, is set to enter the transfer portal, according to Grant Ramey of GoVols247. Burns was a four-star forward from South Carolina in the Vols’ 2018 recruiting class.
A product of York Preparatory School in Rock Hill, S.C., Burns is listed at 6’9″ 272 pounds. His unique frame allowed for Tennessee basketball to still have a chance to offset the loss of Blackshear in the post with the addition of 7’1″ transfer Uros Plavsic, assuming Plavsic will be good to go next year.
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However, if Burns leaves, then Rick Barnes will be severely limited when it comes to the post next year, especially after the transfer of Derrick Walker earlier this year. If, by some chance, Plavsic isn’t eligible, then he’s in serious trouble. At that point, John Fulkerson and Yves Pons could be the starters in the post.
Pons with Plavsic could work, as Barnes could go small with Josiah James, Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden playing the guard positions. In fact, he could put a little more emphasis on tempo with that lineup.
But losing Burns to transfer and Plavsic not being eligible changes everything. So with Burns in the portal and Plavsic still waiting on eligibility, Tennessee basketball needs a break on one of those fronts. A break on both fronts would be huge.
The Vols would then immediately need Zach Kent, Olivier Nkamhoua or Drew Pember to break through, and those guys may not be ready. But at least Kent provides a bit of necessary length as a 6’11” center.
Simply put, this news is a major blow for the Vols. Barnes will have a tough enough time already replacing the production of Jordan Bone, Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield and Kyle Alexander. Potentially losing out on young prospects he expected to rebuild around only makes it harder.