Jarred Vanderbilt Aims To Be An All-Around Player For USA Basketball
In one sentence, 6-foot- 9 Jarred Vanderbilt (Victory Prep/Houston, Texas) clearly defines his responsibility as a member of the 2015 USA Basketball U16 National Team.
“I see my role as being a leader, being able to defend all positions and helping the team in any way that I can.”
The versatile forward, who attends Victory Prep School, where in his two-year prep career he has helped his team capture a pair of district championships, while compiling an impressive 1,450 points, 1,155 rebounds, 403 assists and 367 steals in 79 games.
After his successful freshman campaign, in which he averaged 22.4 points, 12.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game in leading the program to a 31-9 record, Vanderbilt attended the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team mini-camp in October.
“I learned a lot,” said Vanderbilt. “At mini-camp, I was the one of the younger guy with the older guys. They were more physical, stronger and faster, so being able to defend those guys helped. It transitioned to my sophomore year and to here, where I am one of the oldest. It is a different role.”
As a sophomore, Vanderbilt upped his averages to 26.6 points, 15.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.1 steals a contest in leading Victory Prep to a 33-6 record.
Following the 2014-15 season, he elected to compete in Nike EYBL as a member of Houston Hoops, to work on his defense in preparation for the 2015 Men’s U16 National Team Training Camp.
“Part of it why I focused on defense there was because I was coming here next, but also because I wanted to be able to defend all positions equally. I want to be an impact on defense.”
“I can guard my position every well, but I want to be able to guard the point guard and all other positions, being able to guard all positions is my weakness.”
Now, on the team that will compete at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, June 10-14 in Bahía Blanca, Argentina, Vanderbilt is determined to use his quick hands for steals and attacking the rim to help the U.S. team to a gold medal.
“It is unbelievable. This is every kid’s dream growing up. It means a lot because I really wanted to make the team; I put a lot of time and effort preparing for this. For me to make the team is amazing.”
Off the court, Vanderbilt is focused on being a team leader, one who coaches and cheers from the sidelines.
“It is very important to me. Without communications, someone standing up to lead, there will be chaos. You need that on every time down the court to exceed and excel.”
The same way that his diverse ability got him on the team, Vanderbilt is hoping it will propel his teammates to the podium with gold medals around their necks.
“It will be great because it is bigger than you. You are representing your whole country when you put the jersey on. For us to go out in fight for our country, to bring the gold back is representing the country in the right way.”