Trying to discover a second round gem is one of my favorite things to do while looking at the NBA draft. Rashard Lewis, Jeff Hornacek, Michael Redd, Carlos Boozer, Manu Ginobili, Mark Price, Gilbert Arenas, plus many more second rounders have gone on to have long and successful NBA careers. Unfortunately this year is an extremely weak draft class, and I'm finding it hard to search through second round prospects when it's ugly enough at the seventh pick. So instead of pouring over the potential steals from this year's draft, I decided to look into what my favorite second rounder from last year is up to. After reading a little bit, I really think that he could be available if pursued. Ladies and gentlemen, let's see what's new with Jarvis Varnado…
For those of you who don't know who he is, or if you need a refresher, here are his basic measurements and some highlights from Mr. Varnado's collegiate career:
-6'9", 220 with a 7'4" wingspan
-4 year player at Mississippi State, started his final three seasons
-Named SEC Defensive player of the year three straight times (2008-10)
-2009 SEC Tournament MVP
-2010 Lefty Driesell Award Winner (given to the top defensive player in the NCAA)
-NCAA All time leader in blocked shots (564)
-Broke Shaq's SEC Single Season blocks record (154) by swatting 170 shots in a season. Oh yeah, he blocked 170 shots in a season twice.
-He is one of two player to score a 1,000 points, grab 1,000 rebounds and block 500 shots in his NCAA career. The other player is David Robinson.
For more information, check out this wonderful write up on Bullets Forever.
And there's also this incredibly entertaining highlight reel (also, pay attention to the awesome block he pulls off at the 3:03 mark. If the victim looks familiar, it's because it's our beloved Marcus Thornton):
Varnado ended up being drafted by the Miami Heat with the 11th pick in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft (I was really hoping the Kings would take him last year if Whiteside was off the board). He put together a mediocre showing in the Summer league, averaging 6.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 82 minutes over 4 games. After Miami signed LeBron, Bosh and a few other free agents, his chances of making the roster vanished. Jarvis soon headed overseas to play with Carmatic Pistoia (also referred to as Tuscany Pistoia), a second-division team in the Italian basketball league (aka Italian Lega A).
In case you're interested, here's some info on the league. The Italian Lega A is arguably the best league in the world outside of the NBA (more info on leagues outside the NBA). Like I said before, the team Varnado played for is in the second division of the Italian Lega A, this league is known as Legadue or Lega2. Each year the Lega2 team with the best regular season record is promoted to Lega A along with the the winner of the Lega2 playoffs. To make room for the two Lega2 teams, the bottom 2 teams in Lega A are relegated to Lega2. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that Varnado played in a very solid basketball league last year.
Carmatic Pistoia finished 8th out of 16 teams this past season with a 14-16 record. Varnado was a starter and arguably the best player on the team. He was the team's second leading scorer and best rebounder. While playing in 33 games and averaging 30.9 minutes, he put up 15.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1.8 steals, 3.1 blocks and only 2.9 personal fouls. He shot 55.9% from the field, but only 63.9% from the line. (Check out his game logs from last year. There are some pretty impressive games in there).
The Heat still retain Varnado's rights, so you would have to go through them to attain him. I'm curious to see if they would give him a call if they cut ties with Juwan Howard or Jamaal Magloire. If they don't, I'm curious to see what it would take to get him?
Just to clarify, I am not suggesting the Kings run out and add Jarvis Varnado immediately, nor am I saying that he is the best fit for this team. Since we're in the dark void between the end of the Kings season and the NBA draft, where we rehash the same info a thousand times, I just thought it would be fun to see where one of my favorite 2010 second rounders ended up.
Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear what you all think about this guy.