Jarred Vanderbilt and Kevin Knox are back in Lexington as headliners for John Calipari’s Draft Academy basketball camp this week. And because they’re such wonderful young men, they took some time out of their busy morning to talk to a small group of old and grizzled Kentucky media types like myself. Among the topics we discussed was what each former Wildcat thinks of the new Wildcats in town, and both see a ton of potential ahead.
Knox said, “Yesterday in practice, they were going at it. Competitive. Really good guys. Guys that can really shoot the ball. They’ve got a lot of leaders on the team this year, so I think they’re going to have a really good year this year. Cal’s done a great job again; KP and the other coaches. Players look like they really want it. They compete everyday in practice. It’s fun to watch.”
Vanderbilt added, “There is definitely a competitive nature. I feel like they got great pieces that complement each other and this year they got experience, so I think that will take them a long way.”
With PJ Washington, Quade Green and Nick Richards bringing several minutes from last year’s team back to lead, Vanderbilt thinks it will make things much easier on Calipari’s new crop of young talent.
“I think experience goes a long way, just because they’ve done it and they’re able to lead the young guys. Last year we had to figure that out on our own and there wasn’t nobody to look to, really. But this year they have a lot of veteran guys and it’ll make it easier for the young guys because they know the ropes and they know the expectations and how big it is to play at this level. I think it’ll help them a lot.”
As for Vanderbilt’s own future, he said, “I’m good right now. I’m still doing rehab and PT and stuff like that, but our goal is to be ready for the season, so right now we’re taking it slow. There’s no rush.”