LEXINGTON, Ky. — SEC Country’s unofficial interview series, “Conversations with dads of star Kentucky freshmen,” continues with the father of Jarred Vanderbilt.
Beat writer Kyle Tucker has already brought you informative Q&As with the dads of Kevin Knox and PJ Washington (who shared some gross details on a finger injury), and now it’s time to check in with Robert Vanderbilt about his son’s latest injury and a looming NBA draft decision. Host Curtis Burch talks to Kyle about that interview — and plays some clips of it — on the latest episode of Wildcat Country, your daily Kentucky podcast presented by SEC Country.
We also talk a little Chris Mack and Louisville. The rundown:
- Vanderbilt missed UK’s first 17 games with a left foot injury (his third since high school) and last 6 games with a left ankle injury. That’s problematic in terms of the draft for a couple of reasons: He only has a 14-game body of work in college and a big man with repeated injuries raises major red flags in the NBA. What did his dad have to say about his health?
- What’s the plan for making this draft decision? Vanderbilt’s father said his son will likely fly home to Houston this weekend and they’ll talk it over together. So far, he said repeatedly, they haven’t even really discussed it.
- We know Vanderbilt was one of the top rebounders in college basketball when he was on the floor — averaging 18.5 boards per 40 minutes and gobbling up an estimated 25 percent of all available rebounds during his minutes — but what else? His offensive gave left a lot to be desired, but his father said the idea he can’t shoot is simply wrong.
- Dad swears there’s “much more to his game” and he just needs a chance to show it, which is what a sophomore season would do for Vando. One NBA scout told Kyle that Jarred Vanderbilt needs to go back to school and prove he can stay healthy and make buckets consistently. He’s currently projected as a second-round pick, if at all, and Robert Vanderbilt said ideally his son would have some certainty he would be a first-rounder before leaving school.
- Oh, and what does Kyle think of the Chris Mack hire at Louisville? Some UK fans seem unimpressed, but not KT.