[Editor’s note: With Vanderbilt’s decision coming at noon, this is a good time to rerun this feature on him from May. I updated it as much as I could with current information.]
With what is likely to be a roster overhaul on the horizon, the 2017 recruiting class could end up being one of John Calipari’s most crucial. With that in mind, KSR will introduce you to Calipari’s top targets in the 2017 class over the course of the summer. I got things started a few weeks back with a profile of small forward John Petty, and tonight, we’ll get to know forward Jarred Vanderbilt.
Forward | 6-8 | 200 lbs.
Bellaire, TX | Victory Prep
AAU: Houston Hoops
|ESPN||No. 22 | 4 PF||Top247||No. 19 | 5 SF|
|Rivals||No. 21 |||Scout||No. 15 | 2 PF|
The other contenders
Kentucky, North Carolina, Oregon, TCU
And no, Vanderbilt University has not shown interest. Here’s a fun fact Bluebloodtoo unearthed in the comments section yesterday: according to the 2000 census, only 1,700 people have the surname Vanderbilt, making it one of the most uncommon last names in America. I could be wrong, but I doubt Jarred Vanderbilt has any relation to the iconic Vanderbilt family, after which Vanderbilt University was named.
Vanderbilt is one of the most versatile players in the 2017 class, with some services listing him as a power forward and others a small forward. He was EYBL teammates with future Cat De’Aaron Fox and has played plenty of tournaments in Kentucky, including the Marshall County Hoop Fest, Mustang Madness (McCracken County), and the Bluegrass Showcase (Lexington). For that reason, Vanderbilt was on Kentucky’s radar relatively early, earning an offer from Calipari last July. Since then, he’s made the most of his appearances in the Bluegrass, nearly putting up a triple double in the Bluegrass Showcase with 33 points, 23 rebounds, and 9 assists in one game.
Vanderbilt clearly enjoys playing in the state of Kentucky, telling Larry Vaught he loves the attention he gets from UK fans whenever he plays here.
“It has been fascinating. Every time I come here they welcome you with warm arms and always support you. It is a great pleasure to play in Kentucky,” Vanderbilt said. “All the time they refer to it and coming to Big Blue. I don’t mind that. It is nice. It shows that they really want me here, and I like that. The fans are very passionate about basketball here.”
Larry Vaught’s interview with Vanderbilt unearthed a wealth of information about his life off the court, including his 4.3 GPA, track background, and love of music. Turns out Vanderbilt used to play percussion (drums, bells, xylophone, etc.) in his middle school band, which he said helped his coordination. Neat.
- 07/28/2015: Kentucky offers Vanderbilt
- 12/12/2015: Calipari and Kenny Payne watch Vanderbilt at the Bluegrass Showcase in Lexington
- 12/12/2015: Vanderbilt takes an unofficial visit to Kentucky for the Arizona State game
- Rebounding and pushing in transition
- Passing in the open court
- Slashing to the basket
- Ability to guard any position
- Tons of upside
Easiest way to remember Vanderbilt’s game? V for Versatility. From Draft Express last summer:
“As is the case with almost every tournament or showcase he attends, Jarred Vanderbilt was easily one of the most versatile players at the 2015 Nike Global Challenge. The 6′ 8” Swiss army knife out of Houston does a little of everything on both ends of the floor and finds himself around the ball on nearly every possession.”
“The 6’8″ Swiss Army Knife” is an excellent nickname that might need to stick.
- Needs to continue to develop his perimeter jumper
- Cut down on turnovers
Social Media Profile
Vanderbilt’s Twitter is pretty much what you’d expect from an elite high school basketball player: lots of pictures of himself with his teammates, famous people he’s met along the way, and countless retweets of NBA highlights. Pinned at the top is this picture from 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, in which Team USA won the gold medal:
— Jarred Vanderbilt (@JVando_) June 15, 2015
During Team USA’s championship run, Vanderbilt played and started in all five games, averaging 9.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.8 steals a game.
He’s also pretty proud of this picture with Kobe Bryant:
And Kevin Durant (and Miles Bridges):
And James Harden: