Vanderbilt sidelined, expected to make debut in January


Jarred Vanderbilt

At the end of September, highly touted UK basketball freshman Jarred Vanderbilt suffered a left foot injury that is expected to sideline him until January. He’ll need to undergo surgery, and the consensus Top-20 forward’s absence will be felt by the team.

“We’ll miss him on the court,” head coach John Calipari said. “I want what’s best for him and his family, and right now that’s taking care of his injury and making sure he doesn’t have to worry about it again.”

With Vanderbilt out through all of non-conference play, the Cats will now have to develop an identity without him. Without him, the Cats lose a long, lanky scoring and rebounding option, as well as being less able to take minutes off other players to keep them fresh during a tough game.

With a team as young as this year’s Cats, which is expected to be the youngest team Calipari has ever coached, dealing with a player’s absence will be extremely tough.

In the four months they’ve spent together, the slew of eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds surely made a plan with Vanderbilt in it. Adjusting to the loss will be difficult for the young players.

However, if someone in any position group had to go down, the Cats may count themselves lucky that it was one of the forwards.

A little under half of UK’s roster has the ability to play at either the small forward or power forward positions, including Vanderbilt.

With big bodies such as Kevin Knox and P.J. Washington still there to put in extremely significant minutes, the team’s loss of Vanderbilt can be minimized.

While the Cats may have a tough time, Vanderbilt will have it even worse once he steps back onto the court.

In his absence, UK will have played the likes of Kansas, Louisville, UCLA and West Virginia, gaining experience all the while.

Vanderbilt will have no such on-court experience, jumping in to conference play as the Cats have to battle with Florida, Missouri and Alabama.

Vanderbilt can watch film all day, but he’ll likely feel out of sync without the on-court experience that his teammates will have had by that time.

Big Blue Nation will just have to hope that this extremely athletic and talented player makes a smooth transition back into the team in January.