Class of 2017 signee Jarred Vanderbilt pulled no punches on Kentucky’s goal in the 2017-2018 season.
“We’re going all the way next year. You heard it here first,” Vanderbilt told Jason Jordan of USA Today. “All the way.”
When asked if that meant that Kentucky would be the 2018 National Champions, Vanderbilt doubled down on his statement.
“Yup,” Vanderbilt said. “Put that on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter. We’re going all the way.”
Vanderbilt, Quade Green, Shai Alexander, and Nick Richards are at the Nike Hoop Summit practices preparing for Friday’s game. Vanderbilt and Green are playing for Team USA while Richards and Alexander are playing on the World Team. Team USA also has Kentucky targets Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox.
Fletcher Page of the Courier-Journal recently put together a short profile of Vanderbilt, where he spoke about various activities he was involved with growing up, choosing basketball, and goals for next season.
Vanderbilt played various musical instruments, played football, ran track, and fought in two boxing matches, according to Page.
Ultimately, he decided to stick with basketball.
"Just time consuming," he said. "... I felt like I was better at basketball at the time and I could potentially have a better career, so I went with basketball."
Vanderbilt said that he was amazed at what Coach John Calipari was doing at Kentucky, bringing in multiple high-level recruits.
"I think Cal started something, to have that many McDonald's All Americans go to one school year after year, it's never been done before," Vanderbilt said to Page. "For them to be produced not only at that level but the next level, it's like Kentucky guys are just taking over. It's becoming a method. I think he's built, like, a dynasty over there. I'm just happy to be a part of it."
Ultimately, Vanderbilt said it wasn’t about individual production. He was concerned with winning.
"I'm cool sacrificing minutes," Vanderbilt said. "I'm all about the team. I want to win. My main goal is to win. Everything is good when you're winning. There's no sense in being productive by myself and you're losing. I want everybody to succeed. I'm that type of guy."
Vanderbilt has drawn some comparisons to former Wildcat Michael Kidd-Gilchrist due to his size, position, and defensive ability. Those comments seem to add more fuel to the comparison.
Here’s to hoping that he and the Wildcats bring the national championship to Lexington.