LEXINGTON, Ky. — Of course this is how the news broke: After months of wondering, worrying and speculation about the status of 5-star freshman forward Jarred Vanderbilt, Kentucky coach John Calipari just kind of casually tossed it out there on his call-in radio show Monday night. Vanderbilt is finally practicing with the team, and he looks great.
Turns out it was a good thing host Curtis Burch and UK beat writer Kyle Tucker delayed recording the latest episode of Wildcat Country, your daily Kentucky podcast presented by SEC Country, until halftime of the College Football Playoff championship game. That gave them a chance to talk in-depth about the late-breaking news of the day.
Here’s a rundown of what we covered on the podcast:
- It’s even funnier that Calipari, unprompted, revealed that enormous nugget of information on the radio because a couple of weeks earlier — during a break — one of the Wildcats’ assistant coaches cracked a joke about how absurd it would be for the staff to share that news on the call-in show.
- So just how big is this news? And what’s next? Now that the mystery is solved on Vanderbilt’s return to practice, the daily question for a while will be when he’s actually going to suit up and play for Kentucky. Prepare for lots more pregame photos and videos and attempts to interpret minor details with Vanderbilt until he actually does play.
- What might Vanderbilt — who on the eve of UK’s first preseason practice suffered a third injury to his left foot since high school — bring to the table once he’s actually playing? Both Kyle and Curtis saw Vanderbilt play against elite competition before coming to Lexington and he’ll bring a lot to the table. Calipari in the preseason called him the most positionless guy on the roster, even able to play point guard if needed at 6-foot-9.
- And oh, by the way, there’s a little game Tuesday night as well. We squeeze in a quick preview of Kentucky-Texas A&M and note what a challenge the Aggies will be with their formidable front court despite losing three straight games and plummeting from the national rankings.
Don’t miss any of our Cats coverage. Follow podcast host @CurtisBurch as well as @KyleTucker_SEC for hoops and football columns, @Joe_Mussatto for football team coverage, recruiting notes and UK-in-the-NBA rundowns.