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.”