KSR’s own videographer Bradley “B-Roll” McKee is back and better than ever. He’s been catching up with former Wildcats throughout the past few months, but his latest conversation is one of his best ones yet, McKee brings out a surprising side of Jarred Vanderbilt, as he opens up (specifically about his time at Kentucky) in a way I’ve personally never heard before.
Vanderbilt’s one year as a Wildcat was marred by controversy. Injuries kept him sidelined for most of his Kentucky career, and the BBN often seemed frustrated by his repeated (yet vague) foot injuries and lack of availability. Turns out, that feeling was mutual.
“It was very frustrating, especially as a young guy going into college. You had hopes and dreams of playing on the biggest stage, and before I even got the chance to do that, I got hurt that summer going into the season,” Vanderbilt said.
“On top of that, a lot of people on the outside didn’t really know what was going on,” he continued. “All they could do was assume, because at that time we couldn’t really put more information out there than needed.”
Even though he was upset by his limited impact on the team, Vanderbilt says it didn’t hurt his relationship with his teammates or coaches. He tells McKee about their continued support and how much that meant to him during the season. It also made his decision between entering the NBA Draft or returning for a sophomore season that much harder.
“I was honestly leaning toward coming back,” Vanderbilt said. “I wanted to come back; I wanted to perform on the highest level. Those 10 games I played were only scratching the surface. I had a lot more to offer, a lot more to grow as a person and as a player. I felt like that chapter was left unfinished. At the time, I did want to go back for sure.”
Ultimately, conversations with his family, his coaches and his doctors lead Vanderbilt to leaving his name in the 2018 NBA Draft. He was selected in the second round as the No. 41 pick for the Orlando Magic and was subsequently traded to the Denver Nuggets. Since then, he’s spent some time in the G League before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in February. Unfortunately, he was only with his new team for a few weeks before the league shut down amid COVID-19 concerns.
Other highlights from the conversation include:
- What he’s been doing to keep himself busy (and in shape) during quarantine.
- When he realized he could turn basketball into a career.
- How difficult it was to spend parts of his lone season at Kentucky on the bench. Did that affect his relationship with his teammates?
- How it felt to finally play his first collegiate game after his injury.
- His personal growth – on and off the court – during his year in Lexington.
- The Houston music scene – who is he listening to these days?
- What does he miss about Lexington and the BBN?
- What he thinks about his new team, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
You can watch the full video here:
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