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Calipari said Vanderbilt is “Dennis Rodman with more skill”


Jarred Vanderbilt was a hot topic on John Calipari’s Monday night call-in show. After it was announced Vanderbilt was doubtful earlier in the day, his playing status came up again on the radio show and it sent Calipari into a lengthy explanation as to why Vanderbilt won’t play if he’s not 100 percent.

Calipari said, “If he’s not at least 97 percent, should he play in the game? What if he’s 80 percent? Like he wants to play, but if he’s 80 percent, the game — this is life and death, this is whoever loses goes to the electric chair. You can’t have a guy at 80 percent. And for him personally, he’s proven himself what he is. You all saw it. He’s Dennis Rodman with more skill. So, one, I don’t want him to hurt himself; and I really don’t want him to take us back if he’s not that. I’d rather him be 100 percent, but he will not be 100 percent.”

Cal then ruined whatever hope you had for a Vanderbilt sighting in Boise, saying, “My guess is: I don’t see any way this weekend. Let’s see how we do this weekend before you even think about next weekend.”

The more Cal talks about Vanderbilt, the more I think he has played his last game at Kentucky.

At least they looked awesome without him in St. Louis, right?

Go Cats.

Article written by Drew Franklin

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

43 responses to “Calipari said Vanderbilt is “Dennis Rodman with more skill””

  1. DT in DC

    Surely you mean last game THIS YEAR for Kentucky. Is he on any draft boards? Wouldn’t a team want to see him healthy for at least a full season before taking a chance on him? 2 injuries in one year, and I’d wait to see if he could play a full year without being injured. But I’m obviously no NBA GM 🙂

    1. JPGott2

      DT, completely agree. The kid is raw and needs another year to develop his zero offensive skill set. His ankle injuries are not knee, shoulder and back injuries. Plus no GM is taking a kid off of 10 games and little else.

      People who are saying he might sneak into the first round show they really have little clue about the NBA. Heck, he is not on a single mock draft board for the first 2 rounds.

    2. Kat4Life

      Ditto……no way he gets drafted this year.

    3. Mathlete

      the NBA drafts on potential all the time, I wouldn’t be surprised if a team wanted to spend a first round pick on a guy who can rebound, pass, and hustle like Vanderbilt can

    4. syrin23

      Why is he saying this is his last game even this year? WTF is with this guy. He gets hurt, his dad almost immediately texts that it’s nothing serious, and now you all are speculating it’s a season ending injury. Which is it, because those aren’t compatible statements. Plus, what is with these injuries. We still don’t know what his mysterious foot injury was, and I work with four foot surgeons who told me it could be one of three things, but we heard nothing, and that it was coming along fine only to be told it would be months more. Everything around this guy and injuries is really strange.

  2. Is this me

    Agreed DT, undersized and offensively limited. He’s a great rebounder and has a motor, but guys like that are a dime a dozen in the NBA. He needs to develop more of an offensive game. I just can’t see him being drafted, going out after this year would be a one way ticket to the G League and then being relegated to overseas. It would be in his best interest to come back and develop his skills even further.

    1. BBNDan7

      But if he comes back and gets hurt again then there’s no way he gets drafted. He may sneak into the first round on potential which is at least two years guaranteed money

  3. drew_123

    I love the kid and we’re going to need him soon, but there’s absolutely no way in hell he gets drafted this year

  4. Catcasey1

    That’s his parents doing

    1. BBNDan7

      Yeah, his parents made him roll his ankle and break his foot 3 time

  5. 8 god

    Honestly, I’m not sure why Cal seems so worried about a devastating injury with Vando. It’s not like he’s rehabbing his knee or his back; an ankle sprain is hardly a career-threatening affair, as it happens to almost every player every year. If he wants to play and can play, Cal should let him make that call. Players first, right?

    1. antiquefurnitureandmidgets

      So parents who put their kids first should trust the kids’ judgement on issues with which they disagree? I’m not buying this idea as “players first”.

  6. Han

    With respect, back before he suddenly started playing, this is the same sort of talk people had. “He’s never going to play!”

    Maybe he’ll play, maybe he won’t. Right now, we’re playing well.

  7. Smyrna_Cat

    This whole thing is a bit strange. An ankle injury shouldn’t be so mysterious.

    1. BBNDan7

      It’s not mysterious. I sprained ankle takes time to rehab. All Cal is saying is that he would hurt the team if he played at 80%

    2. Smyrna_Cat

      Dan, you have a much better understanding on this than I do, apparently. We all have had sprained ankles. They don’t usually keep us out for weeks. Cal sounds like he has no clue of when he will play again. Ankles are ankles. If you know the injury, you typically know how long it takes to heal.

    3. WatchutalkinboutWillis

      I sprained my ankle badly and it took weeks to recover. It didn’t recover well and still hurts occasionally 4 years later.

    4. Mathlete

      There’s a big difference between “able to walk around comfortably” and “able to play NCAA basketball at a high level”

    5. cats646

      I had a bad ankle sprain in high school and played a baseball game two days later. It sucked I could hardly run for the next few weeks. No way I could’ve played a basketball game. Way more running and jumping them baseball. Ha.

    6. syrin23

      Smyrna is right. Is it a high ankle sprain? Did he re-injure his other mysterious foot injury? Can he tape it up and play? Why did his dad text it was nothing serious almost immediately? Everything about this is weird.

    7. syrin23

      And if this is a several week injury, why isn’t he wearing a boot? I guarantee you any NBA exec is asking these same questions. I get the feeling this guy doesn’t play through minor injuries or minor pain. Dude was medically cleared to play and took months to play.

  8. FACTS

    I just hate how he missed all the experience from the SEC tournament. Now, I feel like if he is able to play in the coming weeks will he be as good as he was before the sprain.

  9. njcat54

    If he’s ‘Dennis Rodman with more skills’, no way he comes back for another year. Especially since he seems to be injury prone.

    Then again, Cal could just be bullish…g, right?

    1. UKPROF

      I know one thing, that if I were Jarrod Vanderbilt and someone had edited my face on horrendous nasty looking picture/tatted-up body and neon hair… that individual would need to start sleeping with one eye open.

  10. symphonist41169

    If we take care of Davidson and presumably Arizona, no way he sits for the Virginia game.

    1. Smyrna_Cat

      Hard to tell.

    2. Truman Claytor

      No chance vs Arizona without JV, or at least his 5 fouls. Ayton will destroy & foul out Nick Richards & SKJ before halftime. Hope Cal is just playing the misinformation game w the media.

  11. BTownUKFan

    Ask Tubby how it works out to throw a guy out there was a bad ankle. We did well against the big men this past weekend. With Gabriel becoming a scoring threat teams are going to struggle to keep up with us.
    GO CATS !!

    1. makeitstop

      We haven’t done THAT well – according to yahoo, we’ve been outrebounded on the offensive glass 31-12 the past two games and a 6’5” wing got 10 boards against us Sunday. That’s not handling big men and Ayton is a BIG man. But we won’t have to worry about Ayton, let alone UVa if we look past Davidson. One at a time.

  12. Lip Man 1

    His situations always seemed odd and mysterious. Wish him well in the future but he seems to be a little bit “odd” and not entirely “in synch” with the program. To an certain extent he seems a little overly cautious with things like injuries.

    Remember he was cleared to play earlier this year by the team doctors but didn’t until HE felt he was ready. I can respect that but sometimes athletes don’t want to be pushed (and at times they need to be because they are a little bit lazy).

    UK should just realize this is a difficult situation and let the kid go if what he wants is to go to the NBA. If he does return UK needs to lay down some guidelines and if he can’t deal with them then release him from his scholarship and let him go elsewhere.

    Great talent but he’s also a disruption in my opinion.

    1. JPGott2

      Cal said that he wants to play, but will not let him until he is at full health.

      Earlier in the season Vando was rehabed, but never came back to Cal to say he wanted the opportunity. He was practicing by this time.

      He actually seems like a great kid and got major minutes because of his motor, which is something that a kid that is “not in synch” or “doesn’t want to be pushed”,usually DOESN’T have.

    2. UK Big Board Update

      You epitomize the “clutter” Cal is always talking about.

      I hope you find the attention you so desperately seek.

  13. quickneasycat

    He must have plans to play overseas because he isn’t on any mock boards and I highly doubt he would get drafted to the NBA. He has no offensive ability at the moment. There is a TON he needs to work on. He has a great motor and is a great rebounder, but that is it. Another FULL year in college to refine those parts of his game and he would be a 1st rounder IMO. Leaving this year to play in another country would cost him a lot of $$$ in long the run.

  14. KYJelly

    I think there’s more to this than what we are hearing. First off, it was common knowledge that the coaching staff felt he was ready well before the first game he decided to come back, that was HIS decision. So, if the kid was tentative then, he still is now. Id guess either he’s deciding not to play (or his parents) and Cal is saying this to not hurt his draft stock, or there’s actually a chance Vando can be ready by this weekend and Cals playing opposing coaches

    1. KTR2786

      Only issue is, what draft stock? He isn’t being projected anywhere so I don’t see much harm in playing at this point. In fact, quite the opposite as this would be the place to make a statement and try to move yourself up. Or maybe he really is hurt, or maybe Cal is bluffing to throw teams off. Who knows? Too much speculation.

  15. Kat4Life

    Vanderbilt has not established his draft value quite yet, so I believe we’ll get a chance to watch him nurse foot injuries next year as well…….

  16. KTR2786

    No one mentions the fact that he cut his hair which is likely a sign that he is looking toward the NBA. All the guys with outlandish hairstyles have done that at Kentucky and it’s likely a recommendation to them in order to be more professional when scouts and teams come. Just another observation to drive speculation.

  17. TonyMontana

    He’s not even on any Mock Drafts at this point. Why would this be the last that we see him? Is he pulling a Briscoe and going to Europe? Nah, he’s gonna stick around for another year.

  18. Catlogic15

    Wonder why he is not wearing a boot? I thought it protected the ankle/foot, and most players wear one if they as much as stub their big toe.

  19. UK Fan In Nashville

    Vanderbilt will definitely be back. Dick Vitale was right, all of these guys should come back.

    1. antiquefurnitureandmidgets

      I don’t think SGA should come back if we’re talking lottery pick and last I heard, some were. I sure would like to have him another year though.

  20. makeitstop

    Who knows what Cal is thinking… trying to decipher it is like making sense of a fortune cookie. He does it purposefully, and then everyone guesses at the purpose. He’s definitely trying to help his draft stock if he does go, because he always does that. But, the kid is better than Dennis Rodman?? Rodman led the NBA in rebounding 7 straight years! He’s in the hall of fame, his number’s retired. C’mon, man. Vando is awesome in his 10 game college career, roughly 1/4 of a college season or 1/8 of an NBA season or less than 1/2% of the nba games Rodman was in. Cal’s terrific but sometimes the hyperbole gets out in front of him. And no Vando, no Sweet 16 I’m afraid… Ayton is dominating lately and who’s going to slow him down? He isnt a one man band u can double down on everytime and no disrespect to UT and ‘Bama but Dazon Ingram and Grant Williams are not in Ayton’s league.

  21. bluecrowe

    Something odd is going on here. I agree with you guys. If it were a high ankle sprain we would see Vando in a boot. About a possible match-up with Arizona, isn’t their conference extremely weak? Will this make a difference? Do we have enough big guys to at least harass Ayton? Should their coach or Ayton even be in the building when these tournament games are played?