BY: Grant Ramey Vols 247sports
The Tennessee basketball program has secured a commitment from 2018 four-star center D.J. Burns.
Burns, from Rock Hill, S.C., announced his commitment Friday, picking the Vols over South Carolina. Georgia and Virginia were also chasing Burns.
The 6-foot-9, 248-pound Burns, who recently announced his reclassification from 2019 to 2018, is the No. 103 overall prospect in the 2018 class according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. He’s the No. 12 center nationally and the No. 3 overall prospect in South Carolina.
The 247Sports ratings have Burns as a three-star prospect, ranked No. 187 overall, No. 24 at center and No. 5 in South Carolina.
Burns took an official visit to Tennessee on April 5. He made unofficial visits to see the Vols on Dec. 17, for the game against North Carolina at Thompson-Boling Arena, and on Oct. 14, for the preseason Rocky Top Tip-Off event. He used an official visit at South Carolina on May 5.
Tennessee currently has two available scholarships in the 2018 class.
One spot was previously used by Richmond graduate-transfer guard Khwan Fore, who committed to Tennessee on April 30. Fore recently announced he was reopening his recruitment, but said the Vols were still on his radar.
During an interview with The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., Burns discussed his decision to move up to the 2018 class.
“I have all of the courses completed that I would need,” he said, “and instead of going to York Tech or Winthrop and doing a class I decided to go ahead and get the college training and full experience that I would not be able to experience in high school.”
At No. 103 overall in the 247Sports Composite, Burns would be Tennessee’s highest rated signee under head coach Rick Barnes. Yves Pons in the 2017 class, next on the list, was ranked No. 127 overall. Small forward Jalen Johnson was No. 147 overall in the 2016 class.
Burns had other offers from Virginia, Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, among others.
Burns played AAU basketball for the Georgia Stars in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League. Nick Richards, the head coach of the Stars, described the skill set Burns will bring at the college level during an interview with The State.
“D.J. has a different type of skill set, different type of footwork than most post players have now,” Richards said. “But the advantage that that gives is when you need an easy bucket close to the basket, you have someone you can throw it into the post to and he can create a shot or maybe a foul situation. You can control the flow of the game a little bit.
“The thing about D.J. is he passes so well. I don’t necessarily consider him a back-to-the-basket player – he’s as good facing up as he is with his back to the basket. The difference is he’s not a stretch-four or not a stretch post player. He’s a guy who’s looking to get it to the basket. If he needs to hit a jump shot, he can. But he’s really best with the ball in his hands and really creating for other people.”