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Calipari’s latest comments on Jarred Vanderbilt most puzzling yet


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?

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

45 responses to “Calipari’s latest comments on Jarred Vanderbilt most puzzling yet”

  1. demoCrAT

    this is ridiculous and pure b.s. by cal. give us a straight answer

    1. Luether

      My sources had no problem telling me that JV would definitely not play today…

    2. 4everUKblue

      I’m beginning to think your sources are a crack pipe.

    3. unbridled

      This is what it is. Not really a big deal. Vanderbilt doesn’t want to play this year and roll his dice. Coach cal is calling him out. Its in Vanderbilt’s best interest to listen to coach cal.., but it’s ultimately Jarred’s decision. (Pssssst,…,.I bet coach cal wins)

    4. Angelo

      Poythress Jr. it’s anxiety! give the kid Zoloft! he will rip!

    5. Rembrandt

      First of all, demoCrAT, Cal doesn’t owe you anything.

      The writer characterizes Cal’s latest comments about Jarred Vanderbilt as puzzling. Too me, they aren’t puzzling. Cal is being 100% straight and transparent about his thinking. Recently, Cal said Vanderbilt isn’t “mentally ready” to play yet. What’s puzzling about that? He trusts his players to know what they are feeling, and he doesn’t push injured players to play. Cal invests his attention in players who want to play. If a player isn’t ready to play, Cal invests his attention in the other players. Cal is waiting for Vanderbilt to show initiative and take some responsibility. No mystery at all.

  2. jaws2

    This ‘game’ of hide and seek has become ridiculous.

  3. herm89

    I won’t pretend I have any idea what’s really going on with this kid, but if he won’t even be aggressive in trying to get into a game, I find it hard to believe he would give us any added toughness on the court.

    1. Luether

      Agree. Excellent point…

    2. unbridled

      I think that’s a very valid concern.

    3. clintbart

      Maybe his aggression is keeping him off the court? Better yet him do him and keep his name outta ur dirty mouth. Btw an athlete w nba basketball talent doesn’t care what it personal opinions of his decisions r. He has chosen coach cal for that role. In cal in trust. Number nine will b fine!

  4. Swizzle

    Tried to tell ya 2 months ago, he questions his toughness and desire

  5. makeitstop

    As a professional tea leaf reader, I think that means Cal believes JV can go and is a little frustrated he hasn’t been pushing to get back. He can’t scare away recruits and families by looking like he’s pushing a kid who then gets hurt and his career is impaired. It also could raise liability issues. So he is intentionally oblique. He’s saying u want to play u come see me and tell me so I can say “he begged to come back.” And it’s a sho at his toughness without risking blowback “a kid knows his own pain” = Steve Johnson is tough, maybe ur different.

  6. kenny

    I’ve said all along it’s not Cal. Some “fans” have Insinuated Cal was holding JV back, but it’s clearly the opposite.

    1. wyatts1

      Idk Kenny, a top 15 recruit who could go anywhere, usually doesn’t want to ride the bench. They know that coming here means you got a good chance to go pro in a year (or 2) but that doesn’t happen if your not playing. But something’s up, bragging about how well he is doing at practice and forceing his team to do different things cause JV is doing so well, but then question his toughness at a presser doesn’t add up.

  7. wyatts1

    Is this the same JV that coach Cal said he had to switch things up during practice when JV returned a few weeks ago due to his physical abilities on defense?? The toughness he brought to practice. Just thinking out loud but if he forces our team to do this (probably more top recruits on the bench then a lot of teams have starting) then it’s no secret he brings toughness to the court or brings something that our cats needed. Plus I didn’t like the fact coach said he forgot his name?? Come on now coach, this isn’t football, you only have 10-12 kids to keep track of, that’s just strange to say at a presser after a game.
    With that said above I still think this year’s team has really forced coach Cal to put on his big boy pants and really coach these guys. Congrats to coach cause without having that superstar, and crowd attendance being down, just a general lethargic attitude towards this season, I don’t see a coach giving up, I see a coach doing a great job thus far this year with what he’s got. Keep it up coach, come March we can be one of the best TEAMS entering the tourney.

  8. EdC

    Cal’s stilted / disjointed speaking style makes everything more difficult to understand than it needs to be but it seems pretty clear that he is giving the kid hints that he needs to want it and own it and let everybody know he wants it. It is an alpha male program and if somebody is coming off of an injury they need to convince Cal that they are an alpha.

    1. omegagavin

      Yes, Cal speaks like our potus. Sentence fragments and nonsense.

    2. Miller45

      really?

    3. Bobbum Man

      Omega…..Don’t be that guy

  9. kellywjohnson

    HEY CAL…..PUT THE GUY IN THE GAME!! (typing in caps because all Cal does is yell and I want to make sure he can hear this) Seriously he might have played if it was a blow out one way or another. But, can you really trust a guy who hasn’t played one minute to come in and play in a close game?

  10. gnbkats

    Guys relax…. I love that Cal Just supports his guys. He is playing games with the media. These guys deserve to be who they want to be. Stop hating just because you want a win. They are great kids who are on the cusp of making their families lives something. Jared deserves the smoke screen that Cal is tricking you guys with

    1. BallDontLie

      Exactly

    2. CommonSense5

      Yes, yes and yes!!

    3. unbridled

      I’m pretty sure coach cal just extinguished the smoke. He’s putting it on jarred now. It doesn’t seem like he protecting him anymore.

    4. unbridled

      *he ISNT protecting him anymore.

  11. bhoop33

    Think Cal is treating him like the rest of the guys. When for example Knox raises his hand that he needs a breather, Cal takes him out. When he tells Cal from the bench he’s ready to go back in, Cal puts him back in when it’s strategically the right time to do so. If Vanderbilt is on the bench and Cal walks by, he should let him know, coach I’m ready to go when you need me.

  12. timewilltell

    Find it hard to believe this situation is good for the team. Find it hard to believe a top ranked recruit does not want to see playing time. If he doesn’t I have to question his competitive spirit. As a coach do you want this type of player even around your program? Very strange!

  13. Rabbi Li

    John Calipari isn’t in the seat he’s in because he’s a fraud or searching for answers.

    If you don’t know our coach yet the message is easy to see and Jarred Vanderbilt got it loud and clear.

    1. Calipari doesn’t want to rush an injured player (clear)
    2. Calipari has enough healthy players & they are a enough of a challenge (youngest team in NCAA) (clear)
    3. Calipari wants Jarred to be the one who decides his future (clear)

    I had to learn the hard way when I was younger that Coaches want players to tell them how much playing means to them.

    Hearing a player’s consistent burning desire is a good sign and most importantly… it means the player has no excuse when the coach pushes them. It was the player who asked for it.

    The negotiation is removed. This is great leadership. You can’t manage people… you can only manage agreements.

  14. coachc90

    The Rabbi GETS IT & has it right. I’ll add a fourth: Calipari ain’t putting him in the game on the road in a very tough place to play on ESPN. If he lays an egg, it’s in front of a hostile crowd. At home, JV gets love from the crowd just for stepping on the court. The mental side of an injury, especially a chronic one like JV’s, is the toughest part of healing.

  15. UKinIN

    I would think if Vanderbilt had any thoughts of returning next year Calipari would redshirt him. In the college game before the One and Done a player that missed this much time would redshirt to save the season. That makes me think the situation is Vanderbilt and his “team” trying to decide what’s best for the draft. They definitely wouldn’t want him to play and get hurt again.

    1. unbridled

      Why would you redshirt a player who will only likely be on the team for 1 or possibly 2 years? Eligibility is a non factor and red shirting would give you absolutely nothing.

    2. Ez21

      I don’t get why people talk about redshirting these kids? What difference does it make? Same way w Hami last year. Do u really think Hami or JV are gonna be here for 4 years? Obviously the answer is no so what good would it do?

  16. luke_emberton

    if Vanderbilt wants to play then he needs to play if he doesn’t bye have a great life

    1. BBNDan7

      What an insightful comment this is

  17. mcp157

    Where’s Winston Bennett when you need him?

    1. satcheluk

      Getting a massage.

  18. jrdh13

    I think a few have gotten it. Hes challenging Vando if you want to play then say put me in. Vando knows/should know how important he is to this team so him not playing hurts us and as a leader he should step up and say something.

  19. vandzandz

    It’s obvious he’s injury prone. Injuries through high school, Jordan Brand and then his most recent. If NBA teams see another injury from this kid it could jeopardize his draft. He can get drafted without ever playing a college game so that’s what I believe is happening. I could be wrong but have a gut feeling we’ll never see him play as a Wildcat

    1. dismore

      So now we are recruiting kids that we know are injury prone, pay to rehab them and never play them to protect their “potential” NBA career. Seems smart. 😒

    2. vandzandz

      He was already committed to UK before the JBC and the practice injury which were two major injuries. I suppose knowing that you would revoke his scholarship? All I’m saying is he has to be smart about it b/c he’s 1 injury away from possibly not playing basketball again. What Hami did last year is the beginning of a trend. Not saying every top prospect will do it but there will some for sure

    3. jim tom

      Heard that 👍

    4. unbridled

      I highly doubt he will be drafted in the first round if he doesn’t play at some point. I’m not sure he would be drafted period. I know NBA teams like to take chances on potential, but I’m not sure they do that in this scenario.

  20. bigward72

    Last week cal said he wants jarred first game back to be a home game, I think he comes back next Saturday against Florida. On college gameday and balls out

    1. unbridled

      I like that idea but I like the idea of him playing in South Carolina even more.