Watching Jarred Vanderbilt’s preseason interview stings a little now that he’s out three months with a foot injury, but out of all the players, his interview got me the most excited about this team’s potential. Vanderbilt is one of many versatile forwards on this squad, but he insists that each of the 6-9 guys on Kentucky’s roster brings something different to the table.
“Weâ€™re very long, athletic, versatile. Everybody thinks weâ€™re similar — we are in a way — but everybody has their own unique niche and weâ€™re also kind of different. We all bring something different to the table. I think we can all play together and weâ€™re going to have some crazy lineups. Lineups [John Calipari] can mix and match and stuff like that. Weâ€™re pretty deep. Weâ€™re loaded. Weâ€™re going to have a great squad.”
As you may have guessed, Calipari likes the word “positionless” (if he says it three times in a row, will another 6-9 forward appear?), but Vanderbilt is all in because he’s knows that’s the future of the game.
“Too many, I canâ€™t even canâ€™t count,” Vanderbilt said when asked how many times Calipari has used the word. “Heâ€™s really stressed that but I really believe thatâ€™s how weâ€™re going to play and thatâ€™s how weâ€™re going to have to play, because our team, we can create so many mismatches, I think why not play that way? Thatâ€™s the way the game is moving anyways. At the next level, everybodyâ€™s playing positionless basketball, small ball, whatever you want to call it. Thatâ€™s just the way the game is shaping up.”
What can we expect when Vanderbilt takes the floor three months from now? He’s often compared to Lamar Odom.
â€œIâ€™ve been hearing that comparison forever, a smaller Lamar Odom. Itâ€™s a great comparison. Lamar Odom in his prime was ridiculous, the things he could do at his size. I think I have some similar attributes to him, also being a lefty as well. I can really see that comparison.â€
— Jarred Vanderbilt (@JVando_) September 30, 2017
In the meantime, he’ll focus on his recovery and take solace in the fact that everyone has setbacks, even the NBA stars that have come through Kentucky since Calipari took over.
“Itâ€™s a good thing the [former] guys actually come back and support us, try to guide us, give us advice. Even talking with them and seeing how it is in the league, the transition, itâ€™s great. Just to know that those guys, they had struggles here too. Even the great ones went through adversity and stuff like that. People think theyâ€™re superstars now, but they went through the same stages and stuff. To see where they are now, itâ€™s great.”
Check out our other preseason interviews: