One on one with '17 PF Jarred Vanderbilt

The top rated power forward in the class of 2017 is Amarillo, Texas standout Jarred Vanderbilt who has been fielding interest from several high majors including the Blue Devils. We spoke with Vanderbilt about that and much more recently at the Hampton EYBL event.

How did you feel about the tournament so far?

Jarred Vanderbilt: The tournament has been good for us. It’s the first time for everybody, so we’ve been trying to show everybody how good we are. We are undefeated right now, I’m proud of my team.

What’s the transition been like for you coming up to the 17U level?
Last year I played a different role than this year. Last year I came off the bench, gave energy, was a rebounder, now I’m handling the ball more and I’m switching positions as well so it’s a different role now.

Playing with Justise Winslow and Justin Jackson and your other talented Houston Hoops teammates last year, what did that teach you?

It was great. They taught me a lot. They are great players and going up against them in practice made me feel like if I could go up against them, I could go up against anybody. Those guys were All Americans and most likely lottery picks, so it was good.

What kind of relationship did you have with Justise?

We don’t talk much, we used to play in school ball so we would talk there, but we haven’t talked much lately.

How has the recruiting process been so far?

For the most part I’m mostly getting recruited by the Big 12 and the SEC mainly. I’ve got most of the Texas schools recruiting me as well as Kansas. Also, I’ve heard a little bit from Kentucky and a couple ACC teams too. I’ve heard a little bit from Duke and Florida State, but I haven’t looked too much into it. Right now I’m just taking it slow.

With June 15th on the horizon for when you are able to communicate directly with the college coaches, what are you looking forward to with that and what’s your plan for how you will approach it?

It’s great, I’ll be able to talk to them and see what kind of person they are and see if they are the right fit for me. I’m thinking about going to some schools for potential visits this fall too.

Like who?

I haven’t decided yet, but whoever contacts me and shows me the most interest, I’ll look at them for a visit.

You mentioned Duke is showing a bit of interest—can you run down their contact so far?

I talk the most with the assistant Jeff Capel…he’s the main one for them, I haven’t heard from Coach K yet. Coach Jeff has showed some interest though. He talks with my coaches, my family, he hasn’t reached out to me yet obviously, but he’s shown some interest towards my family.

What are your impressions of the Duke program?

They are a great program especially coming off the championship win, that’s especially a plus. Coach K, he’s a great coach with a great system. By the time it’s my time, whatever is a good fit for me, I still have two more years, and we’ll see what’s a great situation for me.

With being early in your process—are there any schools that you are really hoping to have an offer from before your process concludes?

Not necessarily if they offer me, but if they are interested they will reach out to me. Schools that have offered I will give them some interest.

What are your thoughts on the Shaka Smart hiring at Texas?

I’ve been contacted by him, he contacted my parents actually. That’s a great move by him, it’s a great organization there and it’s a good system too, might be a good fit the way he coaches his system. He’s just reached out to my family at this point.

Has he already discussed a scholarship offer at this point?

They probably have, they have talked to my parents at this point. I haven’t gotten into all that yet.

How do you weigh the opinions of your coaches and family in your decision making process in terms of preferences?

Yes, I’m definitely going to take their opinion into consideration, but at the end of the day, it’s my decision and what’s best for me.

Are you the type who wants to play with some friends in college, either from your class or the class ahead of you?

I’ve talked about it a couple times with different guys, but with my class we haven’t looked too much into that yet with recruiting since we’re still only sophomores.

What’s a good fit for you role wise in college Jarred?

I would say a stretch four, but I could also play the three too. I’m a guy who can be used to create mismatches.

When evaluating the various programs, do you find yourself looking at former players who played that kind of role?

I definitely look at programs to see who is going to use me the right way and who needs me. I look at who has the best history of those kind of players and how they fit. Then I’ll look at players they have, who stays, who is coming in with their recruiting classes, I just want to find the best fit.

If you’re waiting to see who is coming back, does that mean you’re going to target a spring/late period decision?

No, I wouldn’t say I will wait to the end. If I find the right fit early, and if I take a couple visits and I like what I see, then I might commit early. If not, I’ll just take my time. It’s really early.

Did you have any programs coming up that you really liked?

Growing up I watched a lot of Kentucky and Texas and Duke. That’s who I liked growing up. Recently I liked watching a lot of ACC and Big 12. With the ACC it’s just great competition, going up against the best every week, that’s what great about it.

Does distance factor into your decision?

It’s a factor because mainly it’s the Big 12 where I’m at. It’s a big transition to look out there. Like I said I’ll talk to my family and we’ll make the best decision.

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