I got me a pretty substantial basketboner for this guy. Thanks to viva_morrison for another excellent profile. -Seth
What's good, everyone? I'll keep the trend of big men going with another prospect. Class, I would like to introduce you all to Jarvis Varnado. Jarvis is from Mississippi State, and he really likes defense. NBA Draft.net has him going to us with our 38th pick. Before we learn a little more about this cat, let's admire the above picture. It is something that we haven't seen in quite some time. Jump time.
- Quick Bio: Jarvis was a 4-year player for the Bulldogs of Mississippi St. He stands 6' 9", and weighs in at around 210-215 pounds. Maybe 220 soaking wet with Tims on.
- He isn't the greatest offensive threat on the inside. He does seem like a garbage-score type of player, but the good news is that he increased his scoring every year at Mississippi St. He ended last season with 13.8 PPG, which isn't bad for a player that attempted only 11 jumpers all season. One other thing to take from that link is that he knows he has to work on his offensive game, and that his athleticism and quick jump hooks worked against 7-footer Jerome Jordan.
- The thing to get really excited about with Mr. Varnado is his defense. The man is the NCAA's all-time leader in blocked shots with 564 over his four years. His gigantic wingspan helped him accumulate all these swats. According to his Wikipedia page (yes, I know you aren't supposed to cite Wikipedia. And we also aren't supposed to drink booze in the morning or use crack.) he has a wingspan of 7' 4", which makes him a small to mid-sized pterodactyl.
- Some other interesting things to note from said Wikipedia page: Jarvis tied Shaquille O'neal's SEC record for blocks in a season as a sophomore, and then broke it as a junior. Varnado won SEC Defensive POY as a sophomore, junior, and senior, the only player in SEC history to do that. He is also the only player in NCAA history to achieve the 1,000/1,000/500 milestone (points/rebounds/blocks).
- With his weight, he does give up size in a lot of match-ups in the paint, but his length helps to alter shots and apparently he is great at getting good position inside.
- The dude also rebounds, averaging 10.3 a game last season to give him a double-double for the season. His rebounding increased every year at Mississippi St.
- Jarvis has a pretty unimaginative nickname: Swat.
- Clyde Pronunciation: "Jarvis or Jarrrrvis Veranda"
- NBA Draft compared him to Bo Outlaw/Theo Ratliff.
- Apparently he is a pretty selfless dude, and gave up his scholarship to become a walk-on. Combine this selflessness with DWTDD, and you have a mixture of Mother Teresa and something else extremely good.
Let's watch some video!
Jarvis Varnado Highlights (via sparky39762)
And just because it is so much cooler with sound:
Jarvis Varnado alley-oop dunk vs UNC (via 513official3)
What we learned:
- He is an unbelievable shot-blocker. His timing is phenomenal. But the way he blocks shots is even more telling. They aren't sent into the 5th row of the stands, but they are almost always kept in play and towards another teammate. I don't know why more big men don't block shots like that. It is reminiscent of one of the greatest shot-blockers of all time.
- You can really see his athleticism, and his second and third jumps are nearly as effective as his initial jump.
- I love that mean look in his eyes in a couple of those shots. I don't care that he is a twig, if I could toss weak sh*% like that I would have a nasty swagger too.
- That alley opp was spectacular. He looks like he can run the floor really well for a man his size.
There you have it. I think this kid's stock is going to rise considerably by the time the draft comes around, because defensive talents like this don't come around too often. He is the kind of player I want on my team. His offensive game will come around, and it sounds like this is a kid that wants to improve that part of his game. There is no telling how much more weight he could add on to his thin frame, but that didn't stop him from being effective against good SEC play. I would love to have a guy like this coming off the bench. What do you guys think?