As a result, Vanderbilt almost definitely will be among the players UNC prioritizes next month when the summer events tip off.
Here at the Pangos All-American Camp, Vanderbilt has been a steady force as a defender, rebounder and transition scorer. He also has made some very creative passes for a player who stands 6-7.
As necessity is the mother of invention, his role for the Houston Hoops has boosted his development as an outside-inside performer.
“This year since we lost (De’Aaron) Fox, I had to kind of take over as point guard and point forward,” Vanderbilt said. “I’ve been handling it a lot and initiating the offense and trying to distribute the ball to my guys.”
Vanderbilt’s penchant for setting up shop on the perimeter — yet also possessing strong rebounding ability and the potential to defend college threes and fours — naturally enable him to boast outstanding versatility. That’s also how he’s getting recruited.
“A lot of teams view me as a combo,” Vanderbilt said. “They want me to initiate offense, and when I get a rebound to push it and make plays for me and others.
“I try to model after Penny (Hardaway) and Lamar Odom. Those are the two guys I really look at, as far as big guys handling the ball and playmakers.”
Vanderbilt has a full summer slate remaining, including USA Basketball and various July events. Thus, he intends to bide his time in terms of his recruitment.
From North Carolina’s point of view, that likely works out just fine. The Tar Heels joined the race relatively late but recently have been in contact.
“They’re one of my newest (schools),” Vanderbilt said. “They came into the picture a couple weeks ago, maybe three. I’ve talked to the coaches and they watched me play during the (April) live period. They’ve seen a lot of good things and basically said how they would like me to be at the school.”
Hubert Davis has been the primary liaison, but Vanderbilt added that he has spoken to Roy Williams as well.
“I’ve talked to Coach Hubert and Coach Roy a little bit, too,” he said. “They said they love my game, they just want to see me a little more. That first live period, that was actually the first time I’ve seen them come out and watch me. They said they’re going to evaluate me a little more and go from there.”
Scout ranks Vanderbilt No. 11 overall in the 2017 class.