CRAWFORD | Kentucky's Vanderbilt hoping to make a healthy run at NBA Draft
Despite an injury-filled freshman season, Kentucky forward Jarred Vanderbilt will test the NBA Draft waters.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --- University of Kentucky freshman Jarred Vanderbilt has decided to test the NBA Draft waters, declaring for the draft on Friday while announcing he will not hire an agent.
Vanderbilt played in only 14 games for Kentucky last season as he dealt with various injuries – but he had double-digit rebounds in five of his final six games, including a season-best 15 against Missouri, flashing dominant form as an offensive rebounder. He's hoping that being at full strength for NBA workouts will give him a good indication of where he stands.
“This season wasn’t easy for me,” Vanderbilt said in a statement released through the school and on his social media accounts. “God works in mysterious ways and presented me with a number of challenges to overcome. I believe I became a better man and player because of them, but it’s also made me think about my future and what’s best for me. At the end of the day, my goal has always been to make it to the NBA. I knew Coach Cal and the staff would challenge me and prepare me to make that step better than anyone else. I know I have more to my game to show, but now I’ve got to figure out if the time is right for me to do it at the next level or if I would be better to return to school.”
Vanderbilt becomes the sixth underclassman from last season’s Kentucky team to declare for the draft. Like Wenyen Gabriel and P.J. Washington, he’ll have until May 30 to decide whether to keep his name in the draft or return to Kentucky.
Vanderbilt wound up averaging 5.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
“Jarred is in a unique situation because of the time he missed on the court this season,” UK coach John Calipari said in a statement released by the school. “I truly believe we only saw a small part of Jarred’s game because he had to figure out how to play with us and we had to figure out how to play with him. What we did see was a player with an unbelievable motor who will grab every ball, get his teammates involved and fight like heck. We would certainly welcome Jarred back with open arms and I would love the opportunity to coach him for a full season, but I know he needs to go through this process and see where he’s at. He has the type of skills and talent that NBA teams love; now we have to figure out if now is the time or if he needs another season. Either way, Jarred’s best days are ahead of him and I can’t wait to see him back on the court.”
The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
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