One former Cat is happy to praise another Kentucky Wildcat.
The Sacramento Kings’ De’Aaron Fox made an appearance on the latest episode of The Ringer NBA Show. He talked about his first year in the league, what it’s like to go through NBA Draft process and many other goofy topics, but what’s most intriguing are his comments about the Kentucky Wildcats in this year’s NBA Draft.
Few people know the players better than him. Fox watched most of Kentucky’s games and played against the team in pick-up games last summer. He knew right away Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would be a star.
“Shai played his self into the lottery,” Fox said. “I could’ve told you before the season. Shai is just really smooth. He came into his own in the middle of the season.”
He’s only known Gilgeous-Alexander for about a year. He’s played with Jarred Vanderbilt since they were in fourth grade. Despite last season’s injury problems, Fox believes Vanderbilt is the best rebounder he’s ever seen on a basketball court.
“For him, once he gets healthy, he’s the best rebounder I’ve ever seen; seen, played with, played against. He’s 6’9.” He can really handle the ball. He can play point guard if you really need him to. But he can go get the rebound and push the ball down the floor with anybody.”
Even though we only saw Vanderbilt in limited action, the numbers do not lie. Bryan Kolbrasky compiled the following total rebounding percentage numbers with some of college basketball’s best.
- Jarred Vanderbilt — 25.7%
- Joel Embiid —21.7%
- De’Andre Ayton — 21.4%
- Mo Bamba — 20.2%
- Anthony Davis — 19.0%
- Robert Williams — 18.9%
- Karl Anthony-Towns — 18.5%
Currently declared for the NBA Draft, Vanderbilt received an invitation to next week’s NBA Combine, but it’s unclear if injuries will allow him to participate. His future remains unclear, but Fox clearly believes nobody rebounds better than Vanderbilt.
You can see the entire interview below, or listen to The Ringer NBA Show here.