Kentucky Wildcats podcast: Uncertainty for Jarred Vanderbilt, optimism for SEC basketball

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Just when we thought things were trending toward an imminent return for 5-star freshman Jarred Vanderbilt, Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari cast new doubt on when (or if) he’ll play this season.

Host Curtis Burch and beat writer Kyle Tucker broke down the latest update on Vanderbilt and what it means for him and the Wildcats moving forward on the latest episode of Wildcat Country, your daily UK podcast presented by SEC Country.

  • The situation: Calipari said Thursday that Vanderbilt still isn’t practicing and “it’s not going to be my call — it will be his,” later adding that “we’ll let it play out, and if he thinks it’s good for him to play, then he’ll play.” So … what do we make of that? Is Vanderbilt and his camp concerned about protecting his NBA draft stock by not exposing him to the potential for a fourth injury to that left foot? Or putting a rusty, out-of-shape version of himself on display?
  • Which of course brought up another interesting hypothetical: If Vanderbilt does not play at all for Kentucky this season, does he still leave for the NBA draft? Would pro teams be afraid to take him without seeing that his foot can hold up for a season (or even half of one)?
  • Kyle and Curtis discuss whether the Wildcats can be a Final Four team without Vanderbilt coming back at some point this season and wonder whether if given the choice Calipari would rather have him back for the stretch run in 2017-18 or gladly let him sit if it meant he was definitely coming back for 2018-19, when UK should have a loaded and more veteran roster.
  • Some national college basketball talk as Kyle unveiled his first Starting Five column of the season, which is just a rundown of his favorite five players from across the country at that moment in time. No Cats made the list, but one SEC freshman and two former UK recruits did.

Don’t miss any of our Cats coverage. Follow podcast host @CurtisBurch as well as @KyleTucker_SEC for hoops and football columns, @Joe_Mussatto for football team coverage, recruiting notes and UK-in-the-NBA rundowns.

The post Kentucky Wildcats podcast: Uncertainty for Jarred Vanderbilt, optimism for SEC basketball appeared first on SEC Country.

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