Calipari doesn’t expect Vanderbilt to play Thursday

Jarred Vanderbilt (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Jarred Vanderbilt wants to play against Davidson Thursday night in the NCAA Tournament. However, Kentucky coach John Calipari doesn’t see that happening.

Vanderbilt missed the SEC Tournament with a sprained ankle after about the first three months of the season with a foot injury.

“The kid wants to play. I don’t think that it’s fair to him or us if he’s not able to go in there and compete at a high level. When he first started playing — this is what made this year hard. It was hard because we had all freshmen,” Calipari said during his press conference today in Boise.

“We started five freshmen. Five freshmen. I don’t know if it’s ever been done, had this kind of inexperience.

“But then Jarred joined our team. And then we struggled. And then we started going good. And all of a sudden Jarred is a Dennis Rodman, 10, 12 rebounds every game he played, 15, he could have had 20. Passes, runs, athletic. Then he gets hurt.”

Calipari said UK had to figure out again how to play without Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament in case he doesn’t go in the NCAA.

“Now he wants to play and at the end of the day I’ve got to make a decision on what I’m thinking,” Calipari said. “And right now I just don’t think it’s in his interests or ours that unless he’s a 100 percent, I would take 97 percent, 95, but you can’t take 80. You can’t. The games are played at too high a level.

“Great kid and I love the kid. But, you know, my guess is that he will not play tomorrow, didn’t practice with us today. So we’ll figure out from there.”

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  1. Guess the mystery kind of continues with Vando. The first go around had it’s share of speculation, and I just read that Vando adjusting to his new role supporting the team on the bench…not exactly what we needed to hear. He also self diagnosed himself at 70% for whatever that means. I think we can handle Davidson okay and if everyone on their game possibly Arizona as well. If Washington and Knox really buy in for complete game and we somehow get more than 6 mins and 2 points out of Nick that would certainly help as well. Can’t wait for the Madness to begin tomorrow.

    1. Heck they played better in St. Louis without him because of Gabriel’s offense. If Gabriel plays, they can be fine

      1. That’s a big IF. If he will just play and not overthink everything and not play so fast that he charges and makes silly fouls. They will need Vando in the Arizona game…Ayton is going to wear us out and foul us out in a big way.

  2. I agree Larry, if Gabriel has that offense going. He can be up and down on his shots. I just hope we see the team we saw in St. Louis, and be able to add some strength in rebounding and depth when Vanderbilt is ready to play! Cat! Cats! Cats!

  3. The key is to be the team that Calipari has been trying to create all season, not an assembly of individuals. Then it does not matter the names of the players on the floor, but the mission of the team.

    This is why I believe the impact that an injury like the one to Vanderbilt has is often overplayed. In St. Louis we saw the team that Calipari has envisioned for this group from day 1.

    As I have said repeatedly, we either know, or at least should know by now, that Calipari knows how to do this. Translating it into a finished product on the floor has more to do with the players he assembles than his ability to accomplish the mission.

    I have doubted that these specific players could, or would get there, and while they are not quite “there” yet in terms of winning this championship, I believe they are within striking distance, which itself is an amazing accomplishment.

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