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Calipari again says he will not rush Vanderbilt to benefit the team

After Jarred Vanderbilt gave fans hope for his debut with an Instagram post earlier this week, we expected a major update regarding his status from John Calipari’s Friday press conference. Turns out, it was more of the same from Calipari, who said he will not play Vanderbilt unless it benefits Vanderbilt.

“I’ll just say it again: He’s not playing to help us win; we’re not going to do that,” Calipari said. “If I don’t think that he’s capable of playing to the level he needs to play, I won’t play him; whether he begs me to go in — I’m not. We’re not just trying to put a guy in that’s going to damage him, to win more games. I just don’t do that. He’s going to have to prove to me that he’s going to be able to go. I’m not saying, you know, he’s 107 percent — I’m just saying he can go and compete at a high level and not damage himself.”

To me, this says Calipari is protecting Vanderbilt long term and it’s almost identical to the Hamidou Diallo situation last year, although Vanderbilt’s is injury related. Last year fans were dying to see Diallo play, but Calipari knew the late arrival had Diallo behind everyone else, and he would risk being exposed by playing too soon. I think it’s the same for Vanderbilt once he is fully healthy and ready to go. Vanderbilt is already so far behind, he could look terrible if he were to play too soon, which would have a major impact on his long term goal. Cal wants to know Vanderbilt is ready to play at a “high level,” as he said, before throwing him into the fire when he’s at a disadvantage by missing many months of important practices and game experience.

If this goes on another two or three weeks, I don’t think we see Jarred Vanderbilt all season, and maybe ever if he decides to roll the dice in the NBA draft.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

17 responses to “Calipari again says he will not rush Vanderbilt to benefit the team”

  1. Alleykat16

    Do whatever it takes for him to be able to play in the NBA that’s what we are here for to get kids ready for their next stage of life

    1. Angelo

      Yep. That is the point of college… College was not established to entertain old people who love to watch young people jump and run.

  2. timewilltell

    Lexington is the G League

    1. ClutchCargo

      So, Lexington is the G League because a guy has a nagging injury that is taking awhile to heal, and his coach cares enough to hold him out until he is sure that playing won’t negatively impact his health long-term. Got it.

  3. macattack

    Make sure he gets healthy and can go at the next level. I’d love to see him here (and in all likelihood, we will see him play here next year, if he doesnt this year), but its bigger than UK winning games. Recruits see how Cal cares for these guys beyond just winning games. That gives them all the more reason to come here. Vanderbilt decided to come to UK, and that makes him part of the BBN family, so we should all want whats best for him, even if him playing some would help the team.

  4. Rixter

    I wish we had a Cal-dictionary, so we could understand what he’s saying. “I’ll only play him if it benefits him” HUH? Is sitting on the bench benefiting him in any way? I mean, if he’s not healthy, sure.. but just say “I wont play him until he’s healthy’…. that way, we don’t need a decoder ring to figure out what the hell you mean.

    1. Luether


    2. runningunnin.454

      I got my Cal decoder ring on sale at Walmart for $3.95.

    3. timbo

      Maybe his health isn’t the only thing to be considered when we talk about “his benefit”. Does that make sense? It’s not JUST his heath, it’s HIS future and HIS well-being and HIS potential to play and get paid.

    4. Alleykat16

      I’m sorry but I dont think he will be around next year the NBA can’t help themselves someone will take him, they will be afraid he will be a big star and they missed out by not picking him

    5. ClutchCargo

      No decoder ring needed, it already makes sense. He could probably just say “I won’t play him until he is healthy, we are sure he is past the injury problems, and is in shape to play as much as needed,” but that’s what it means.

    6. THE William Hill


  5. UK Big Board Update

    He will be a fantastic piece of next years loaded team.

    1. TBW3011

      Already talking about next year. ✍🏻

    2. UK Big Board Update

      If he doesn’t play this year, he’s not getting drafted. It’ll be a Hami-type situation.

      But I like him being a part of next years team. And the rest of #BBN should, too. ✍🏻

  6. TonyMontana

    Why not throw him in during garbage time and see how he handles himself. Especially when and if the kid is going full contact in practices. The kid wants it and deserves it.

    1. UK Big Board Update

      And then if he re-injures himself because he wasn’t ready, do you then blame Cal?