Before he left for New Orleans to spend a couple of weeks at home, I had a chance to connect with Washington freshman Jernard Jarreau.
We chatted when he first arrived to Seattle and back then the Big Easy native had dreams of starting this season. After playing with the Huskies during open-runs and summer league games, he’s tempered those plans just a bit.
Admittedly, the transition to Division I has been surprising due to the amount of talent surrounding him and the physical strength of the veteran players, but that’s not to suggest Jarreau is discouraged.
The 6-foot-10, 190-pound forward is committed to carving out a significant role as a freshman and he has no immediate plans to redshirt.
Here’s the highlights of the interview.
(What’s it been like playing with your new teammates?) “It’s a fun experience. First time playing in Seattle and I’m trying to get a feel for some of the guys so that’s kind of good. It’s pretty cool.”
(Are you homesick yet?) “A little bit. I go home this week for two weeks. I’ll be back August 21 for the early fall schedule.”
(So summer school is ending?) “Summer school ends Friday. When I come back it’s early fall start. And I’ll just stay up here and and I’ll be staying in the gym. Just being in the gym everyday.”
(How many classes did you take this summer?) “I took two courses. It was English and Literature. And when I come back for the fall start, I’ll take another course.”
(Did the summer program give you a taste of what college is all about?) “Yeah big time. It’s a big difference from high school. I felt like it prepared me for what’s ahead and I feel like I got a good start.”
(How was being on campus?) “Pretty cool. Campus is big. I still haven’t been around the whole campus. I’m learning.”
(What has it been like being around you new teammates?)
“It’s fun. I feel very comfortable around those guys. I have the opportunity to be with them the next four years so I’m trying to get a feel for it.”
(Who’s your roommate?) “My roommate is Hikeem (Stewart).”
(How is that going?) “Cool. He’s from the city so he’s teaching me a lot about Seattle.”
(What are your thoughts after playing with your new teammates?) “I think we’re going to have a good season this year.”
(Why?) “Because from just playing with those guys, I got a better feel for everything. It’s like more than I expected and we should be pretty good.”
(What do you mean more than you expected? Did they surprise you?) “Yeah. Most definitely. Surprised me a lot. Just everybody. Everybody is very good.”
(Who has surprised you the most?) “Everybody. I can’t really say any specific name. Everybody.”
(When we talked after your first few days on campus, you were adamant about coming in, earning playing time and starting. I remember you telling me you wanted to start this season. After being with this group for awhile, what do you think?) “I think when you’re coming in, you got to think that way. Like I’m going to start and I’m good enough to start. That really hasn’t changed, but my goal is to play. I’m not really focused on starting anymore. They probably already had a starting five for next year anyway. I just want to come in and play a good role. Just try to give it my all.”
(Have players or coaches been able to tell you what you need to work on?) “Yeah. Strength. Getting stronger is the key thing for me. I will still use my skills to my (advantage). Just being a big man and get on the perimeter, dribble the ball and stuff like that. My jump shot. But strength is most key.”
(I’ve seen you play a few times against Aziz N’Diaye. What was that like?) “Aziz is a real strong post player. I think Aziz has gotten way better from last year. He’s been in the weight room and he’s way a lot stronger. He’s good.”
(When you say you want to get stronger, is it to battle guys like N’Diaye in the paint?) “Yeah, most definitely. Right now, he’s got that on me a little bit, but like I said when I get back I plan on staying in the gym and staying in the weight room.”
(I had a chance to talk to freshman Andrew Andrews. He said he plans to redshirt this season. Are you thinking about that at all or is that not in your plans?) “Nah. That’s not in my plans. I haven’t really had that talk yet. My thing is to just come in and just try to play. Just try to work on my strength for the most part so I’ll be able to showcase my talents.”