Jarred Vanderbilt just announced he will test the waters of the NBA Draft, meaning he is declaring without hiring an agent.
“This season wasn’t easy for me,” Vanderbilt said in a statement from UK. “God works in mysterious ways and presented me with a number of challenges to overcome. I believe I became a better man and player because of them, but it’s also made me think about my future and what’s best for me. At the end of the day, my goal has always been to make it to the NBA. I knew Coach Cal and the staff would challenge me and prepare me to make that step better than anyone else.
“I know I have more to my game to show, but now I’ve got to figure out if the time is right for me to do it at the next level or if I would be better to return to school. With that said, I’m entering my name in the 2018 NBA Draft and testing the waters. This wasn’t an easy decision, but I want to use this process to get an evaluation from the NBA and see where I’m at. I appreciate the support of the staff and the Big Blue Nation while I work through this.”
Due to injury, Vanderbilt played in only 14 games, averaging 5.9 points and 7.9 rebounds. He grabbed 10 or more rebounds in five of his last six games; in fact, he was Kentucky’s leading rebounder.
“Jarred is in a unique situation because of the time he missed on the court this season,” John Calipari said. “I truly believe we only saw a small part of Jarred’s game because he had to figure out how to play with us and we had to figure out how to play with him. What we did see was a player with an unbelievable motor who will grab every ball, get his teammates involved and fight like heck. We would certainly welcome Jarred back with open arms and I would love the opportunity to coach him for a full season, but I know he needs to go through this process and see where he’s at. He has the type of skills and talent that NBA teams love; now we have to figure out if now is the time or if he needs another season. Either way, Jarred’s best days are ahead of him and I can’t wait to see him back on the court.”
Vanderbilt is the sixth Kentucky player to declare for the draft, joining Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo, PJ Washington, and Wenyen Gabriel. Like PJ and Wenyen, he will have until May 30, 10 days after the NBA Draft Combine, to decide whether or not to return to school.