LEXINGTON, Ky. — John Calipari and Kentucky basketball fans are holding their breath after incoming 5-star freshman Jarred Vanderbilt went down with an apparent lower-leg injury with 36 seconds left in the Jordan Brand Classic, an all-star showcase, on Friday night.
Vanderbilt had 17 points and 7 rebounds against some of the best high school players in America before crumpling as he drove to the basket late in the game. He was already clutching at the back of his right foot/ankle before he even hit the floor and was helped off, unable to put any weight on it.
The play Jarred Vanderbilt got hurt. Putting no weight on the foot at all. pic.twitter.com/jdd7EQqgyd
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) April 15, 2017
There was no initial word on the severity of the injury, but if it’s anything significant, that is a major blow for the Wildcats. They’re losing as many as eight of their top nine scorers from this past season and Vanderbilt is arguably their best incoming freshman, a 6-foot-9 forward who ESPN this week ranked a top-10 NBA Draft prospect for 2018.
He was turning heads after a breakout performance last week at the Nike Hoop Summit and a strong week of practice at Jordan Brand, both of those following a good showing at the McDonald’s All-American Game. Vanderbilt hadn’t been as heavily hyped as others in the Class of 2017, in part because of previous injury issues slowing him down.
A foot injury knocked him out of Peach Jam, the premier AAU event in the country, last summer. Finally healthy again, Vanderbilt’s stock was starting to soar. Now Calipari and Kentucky await word on his latest injury.
One source close to the program tells SEC Country the Wildcats’ coaching staff was unsure of his status as of 11 p.m. ET Friday. This story will be updated as there is news on Vanderbilt, who at least gave UK fans some hope with a postgame Instagram message: “I’m good y’all.”
Jarred Vanderbilt on instagram posts that he is good to go.
LETS GOOOOOOOOOOO ???? pic.twitter.com/FyXa8mQ8Vg
— Burke Garner (@BeezyBGarner) April 15, 2017