The new year is here, but the same story remains for Jarred Vanderbilt.
The freshman forward is still working his way back from a lower-leg injury suffered on the first day of fall practice. It was the latest of many setbacks for Vanderbilt, who dealt with foot and ankle issues throughout his high school career.
That’s why Vanderbilt and UK are making sure he’s 110-percent healthy before allowing him to play in collegiate games. But with the calendar now into 2018 and him not playing yet, the question is starting to become if, not when Vanderbilt plays this season.
The fact that we’re into January and Vanderbilt hasn’t even practiced yet is already a bad sign. Then there’s John Calipari consistently using some version of ‘we’ll do what’s best for him’ when asked about Vanderbilt.
Now, KSR’s Drew Franklin is predicting that Vanderbilt doesn’t play this season and goes through the NBA Draft process in the spring. That scenario feels like the most likeliest outcome as of now, but there’s still plenty of season left if Vanderbilt is able to play.
Sure, he may not play in January, but if UK can just get him back in a role off the bench, he could provide valuable depth and minutes sometime in February and leading into postseason play.
Besides, I doubt anyone will spend a first-round pick on a big man with foot issues who never played in college, but we’ve seen weirder things happen.
The good news is UK has jumped out to a 12-2 start without him, but to be a legitimate Final Four contender, it feels like this team needs another weapon like Vanderbilt.
Then again, the 2018-19 team has the potential to be very special, and that’s even more true if a healthy Vanderbilt is part of it.
How do you see this situation playing out?
Will Jarred Vanderbilt play this season?
This poll is closed