With freshmen being the star-power of college basketball these days Sports Illustrated ranked the top 25 incoming freshmen and wrote about their impact for this upcoming season.
Sports Illustrated ranked Jarred Vanderbilt 12th in the RSCI class ranking.
SI says that Vanderbilt’s “addition doesn’t feel as important now as it did when he announced his commitment to Kentucky last December” because of the addition of Kevin Knox. Knox and Vanderbilt play the same position and will help Kentucky win games, “but the Wildcats would have had one of the nation’s top hauls with only one of them.”
SI predicts that Vanderbilt will start the season coming off the bench.
Although Vanderbilt is not an effective perimeter shooter, he’ll provide value as a multi-positional defender, rebounder and transition playmaker, and his versatility will facilitate lineup creativity.
Kentucky under Coach Cal has been most successful when there were returning players on the team. That will not be the case this year. However, SI thinks Kentucky might still be okay.
The newbies may be so good that the dearth of returning production won’t matter. Or perhaps Kentucky will take its lumps while jelling during the regular season before ripping off a deep tourney run. There is a wide range of possible outcomes.