Brooklyn Nets Draft Prospect: Jarred Vanderbilt

Major national recruit turning pro after one season at Kentucky

Count Jarred Vanderbilt among the highly-touted high school recruits who had limited stays at Kentucky. He’s heading for the NBA after one season, despite playing sparingly in college due to injuries. But the combination of huge athletic upside and questions from his one season in college puts him squarely in Brooklyn’s draft window.


The latest mock draft from Nets beat writer Michael Scott of THEATHLETIC.COM on June 8 had the Nets taking Vanderbilt in the first round at No. 29. THERINGER.COM sees Vanderbilt as a potential second-round pick for Brooklyn. On May 29 he was their projection at No. 40, but as of June 11 he was down a few slots at No. 45.


Over the last year, Vanderbilt went from being one of the most sought-after high school players in the country to a bit of a mystery. He played just 14 games during his freshman season at Kentucky, sidelined by foot and ankle injuries at both the beginning and end of the season. The ankle injury kept him out of the NBA combine in May as well. Like last year’s Nets draft pick, Jarrett Allen, Vanderbilt is young. He turned 19 on April 3. But at 6-foot-9 and 214 pounds with a 7-1 wingspan, he’s a rangy athlete able to move across positions.


Due to the injuries, Vanderbilt’s time at Kentucky constitutes a very small sample size. He averaged 5.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in 17.0 minutes per game for the Wildcats. Before arriving at Kentucky, Vanderbilt was a consensus top 20 national recruit with a five-star rating. He played in both the McDonald’s All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center. Vanderbilt has extensive USA Basketball experience, winning gold with the U16 team at the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship. Injuries kept him from returning to play in 2016 at the U17 World Championship, but he participated with the 2017 USA Junior National Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit.


Vanderbilt has shown great rebounding and defensive ability, playing with tremendous energy and excellent instincts. He’s an unselfish facilitator on the offensive end, but that comes with a very raw offensive game. Vanderbilt has limited shooting range and needs extensive development to become an NBA scoring threat.

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