North Carolina’s chance to evaluate Jarred Vanderbilt during the July live periods ended in April.
At EYBL’s second session in Indianapolis, Vanderbilt injured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot – a debilitating injury with a lengthy recovery. Primed for a big summer – his last summer on the AAU circuit – the injury cost Vanderbilt all of July. It forced him to sit on the sidelines and watch.
“(The injury) gave me a chance to look at the game from a different angle,” he said. “I basically just watched film and really studied the game from the sidelines. It (the injury) has healed on its own and I didn’t have surgery. It’s actually healing faster than we expected. Hopefully I’ll be back in the next three or four weeks.”
While it might seem surprising, Vanderbilt’s inability to play during July accelerated his recruitment. It was doubtful, he thought, new schools would express interest in a player who wasn’t playing. So, on July 22, he cut his list to nine schools – Kansas, TCU, Kentucky, Houston, Texas, Oregon, Arizona, Baylor and North Carolina.
“I just thought it was time,” Vanderbilt said of the cut. “I felt like these were the schools I felt comfortable with and schools I could see myself playing at. (Cutting the list) helped just reduce some of the calls I was getting. I’m able to focus on just these schools.”
The Tar Heels’ inclusion in Vanderbilt’s list was a bit of a surprise, considering it’s the only school on the list that hasn’t offered the Houston (Texas) Victory Prep rising senior.
“They have a lot to offer,” Vanderbilt said of the Tar Heels. “It’s a great school, so I want to see where it goes.”
Last week, Vanderbilt had a conversation with Roy Williams.
“(Assistant coach) Hubert Davis hits me up every week and I talked to Coach Williams,” Vanderbilt said. “He was just telling me to hang in there with the injury and mainly he wants to keep interest in me. He said the reason he didn’t offer was that they wanted to see me more in the July period considering I was hurt, I guess… I don’t really know from there.”
The fall evaluation period begins on Friday, Sept. 9 and Vanderbilt expects UNC to be in Houston to watch him during an open gym. Should UNC offer, he’ll consider taking a visit to Chapel Hill.
“Potentially,” Vanderbilt said of a UNC visit. “If they even end up offering, it’d be to see what they have to offer and stuff like that. UNC has a lot of history behind it and they’ve produced a lot of pros and won national championships. Roy is a good coach. They have a lot of diehard fans and Chapel Hill is a nice basketball town.”
Prior to the start of his senior season in November, Vanderbilt plans to “hopefully” cut his list to “maybe like three to five schools.”
“I’m not going to say I’ll wait forever (on UNC),” he said. “If they offer before the next cut, then I’ll move forward with them. I honestly want to know where I want to go by the fall, but I probably won’t commit until the spring.”
Williams and Davis see Vanderbilt as a play-making forward.
“They like my versatility,” he said. “They’d use me on the wing and just let me be that point forward. They’d let me get it off the rim and go, that’s my style of play.”