Duke tracking top 10 junior big man

Jarred Vanderbilt says Duke has upped the interest in the last few months as he enters the world of high major recruiting.

MINNEAPOLIS -- One of the top Class of 2017 prospects in the country this spring has been Houston native and forward Jarred Vanderbilt. Playing with a loaded Houston Hoops team in the Nike EYBL, Vanderbilt is putting up solid numbers and Houston Hoops will be playing in the prestigious Peach Jam this summer.

"I've been playing well. Our team has been winning. I've been playing good as an individual and we've tried to play together as a team as well," Vanderbilt said.

Vanderbilt's ability to impact the game in multiple facets has already made him a five-star prospect and the No. 10 overall player in Scout.com's national Class of 2017 rankings. Even though he's a well-rounded player who can do many different things, he's focusing on getting better this spring.

"I've been trying to work on my ball handling, defending the perimeter one-through-five, my outside shooting, free-throw shooting. Just a little bit of everything," Vanderbilt said. "You can never stop trying to improve."

As for recruiting, Vanderbilt is starting to get a glimpse of what it's like to be a big-time national prospect. Vanderbilt claimed scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas A&M. In addition to the offers from some of the best programs in the country, Duke and Kentucky have also stepped up with recent interest this spring.

So far, Vanderbilt is impressed by what Duke has to offer coming off of the national championship season.

"[Duke] is great. They just had a lot of guys go [likely] first round and they came off of a national championship," Vanderbilt said. "Coach K, he's a great coach, it's a great program. It's all around a great program."

Although he's received numerous scholarship offers and interest from a number of programs, Vanderbilt is first focused on making it through this summer. He'll try out for USA Basketball's U16 team and hopes to be apart of the 12-man roster for the FIBA Americas U16 Championships in Argentina this June. After that comes the July live evaluation period. Vanderbilt is hoping to get some recruiting visits in after his busy summer.

The USA Basketball experience is something that Vanderbilt is particularly excited about and he was watched by U16 USA head coach Don Showalter in Minneapolis this weekend.

"I'm very excited [for USA Basketball]," Vanderbilt said. "Coach is here, he just watched me play. He's a great guy. It's going to be a great opportunity to represent our country."

Vanderbilt currently has no time frame on his recruitment and he's going to take his time and see which program fits him best as he gets closer to college.

"Just where I feel the most comfortable at. Where I can fit in the best," Vanderbilt said. "Where I don't have to change my role and I can just see who needs me at that point."

During the spring EYBL with Houston Hoops, Vanderbilt averaged 15.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game. The team finished tied atop Division C in the EYBL with a 13-4 record in league play.

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