Before the game, Jarred Vanderbilt went through pregame warmups and even the layup line in his uniform, leading to wide speculation that today would be the day he’d return to the court. That did not happen, and when asked afterwards, John Calipari gave his most puzzling comments yet about the freshman forward, who has been medically cleared to play.
“I don’t,” Cal said when asked when Kentucky would be back to a full rotation. “I didn’t even ask him. I didn’t know if Jarred [Vanderbilt] was going to play before the game. I was doing the board and just acting like he’s not here. If he is, he is. If they are, they are.”
This is where it gets a little weird.
“The problem with being injured if you’re on my teams is, I really spend no time with you. Sometimes — I’m going to say this out loud — I forget names. I even forget who he is because I have to focus on the guys that I’m coaching now. They’ve got to be healthy and ready to go. Jarred has to be the same.”
When asked what Jarred has to do to let Cal know he’s ready, Cal replied that he has to at least come up and talk to him, which he didn’t do today.
“I hope he would give me more than I got today because I didn’t see him all day. I hope. I don’t push kids. They know their pain. They also know their bodies. I’ll tell you what also happens when you’re injured; it’s not physically, it’s as much mentally. And conditioning. Those are the two things that get you. When he’s ready, he’ll be here with us.”
Hmm. Challenge extended?