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Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

October 7, 2011 at 1:42 PM

Counting down the Huskies — No. 11 Jernard Jarreau

Jenard Jarreau.jpg
We continue the Washington countdown with a player unlike any other recruit in the Lorenzo Romar era who has a unique set of skills that could prove vitally important to UW this year or in the near future — forward Jernard Jarreau.
It can be argued UW has never had a player like the 6 foot 10, 195-pound freshman and it will be interesting to see how he fits into coach Romar’s up-tempo system.
In many ways, Jarreau is a guard – he was 6-3 as a high school freshman – trapped inside a big man’s body. He has a 7-foot-7 wingspan, solid ball handling skills, a dependable mid-range jumper and an ability to hit the three-pointer.
Some recruiting analysts said the Huskies reached when offering a scholarship to the three-star prospect from New Orleans who appeared headed to Virginia Commonwealth.
However, when Romar talks about building a team like the old Louisville squads from the 1980s, he’s talking about guys like Jarreau who are long, lanky and capable of playing multiple positions.
Admittedly, Jarreau needs to improve in the paint where he surrenders at least 60 pounds to teammates Aziz N’Diaye and Shawn Kemp Jr. Since arriving to Seattle this summer, Jarreau added 15 pounds to his thin frame and feel the benefits from the extra weight.
“I’m not really going to get cut, but I’ll have a little strength on me,” he said. “So that’s what (the UW trainers are) really trying to do for me. Get me some strength so I can hold my own down there on the block and stuff like that.”
It remains to be seen if Jarreau develops into a shot-blocking savant like North Carolina’s John Henson or if he matures into an offensive-minded big forward like Kevin Durant.
When Romar also talks about “potential with a capital P,” he’s also talking about Jarreau, who is one of the most intriguing players on the roster due to his size, youth and versatility.
Here’s a transcript from a recent interview with Jarreau.

(Are you homesick?) “I was right before school started. But when school started and practice is about to start, I get busy all day and don’t really have time to think about it. I talk to my mom like every other day. But I’m not really home sick to where I’m sitting around just thinking about home. Nothing like that. But it’s getting better.”
(Have you discovered neat things about Seattle or have you stayed pretty much on campus?) “I’ve been around the city and stuff. Nice people. It’s nice. The city is like New Orleans. It’s a big city. I’m comfortable with it.”
(Have you gotten use to the weather?) “[Laughs] Not yet. I heard the rain is about to start coming like everyday. I got to get prepared for that. Get a lot of jackets. It’s cool.”
(What’s it been like being around the guys?) “Good, good. It just seems like all of us have a bond, like connected with everybody. So when you get around them it’s real good. We eat together and just stay together like seven days a week. So it’s cool. It’s fun.”
(Did you know that would happen or were you a little concerned about that dynamic because you’re one of the guys who came the farthest?) “That’s one of the things I looked at when I came up here for my visit. Just to see how the guys where. See how they get along with each other and stuff like that. I was comfortable with that and that’s why I made my decision to come up here.”
(Who’s helped you during this transition?) “Really like the captains like Scott (Suggs), Abdul (Gaddy) and Darnell (Gant). Terrence (Ross) has talked to me about what to expect in practice and stuff. Telling me about what I’m going to see and stuff like that.”
(The last time we talked, you wanted to gain weight and I heard you put on some pounds.) “I gained like 15 pounds.”
(Already?) “Yup.”
(Is that 15 pounds from eating or muscle from lifting?) “I’m doing a lot of eating and lifting and drinking Muscle Milk. As much as I can drink. And just eating and lifting. I’ve been doing it since the summer.”
(Have you ever lifted weights like this before?) “No. Never.”
(How is that going?) “It’s good, it’s good. It’s going to pay off because I’m going to need it. Lifting like every other day. Conditioning. Everything is going to fall into place.”
(Are you trying to transform your body or will you always be long and lean?) “I got a 7 foot 7 wingspan and I’m 6-10 so they say I’m always going to be long. I’m not really going to get cut, but I’ll have a little strength on me. So that’s what they’re really trying to do for me. Get me some strength so I can hold my own down there on the block and stuff like that. But I’m not really going to get super cut like Aziz (N’Diaye).”
(Have you noticed if the extra pounds has helped so soon?) “Yeah, yeah. Just playing in open gym and stuff and finishing at the rim and stuff like that. I get contact and stuff like that and I can play through it.”
(I’d guess you’ll always have a John Henson or Kevin Durant type of frame.) “Yeah that’s still going to be my strengths. Like coach said I’m going to be able to showcase my talents and my skills like the 17-footer jump shot and getting the ball off the rim and pushing it and stuff like that. I should still be able to do that.”
(I’d also guess you don’t ever want to lose that versatility in your game and move primarily into the post.) “Nah, nah. I never want to lose my skills. I think I’ve got too much potential. I just can’t let that go to waste.”
(And there’s not many 6-10 guys who can handle the ball.) “Yeah.”
(With the talented point guards on this team, will you get a chance to handle the ball much?) “Yeah, yeah. I will. I think I will. That’s what I’ve been doing. But really whatever coach wants me to do, that’s what I’ll be willing to do.”
(Do you know what your role is?) “Yeah. Play defense. Rebound. And if I have an open shot, I can take it.”
(When we first spoke, you talked about wanting to start. A few weeks later, you said you just wanted a spot in the rotation. Where are you now?) “I’d like to start, but if I can get some minutes coming off the bench I’m cool with that. There’s a process that I have to learn and I’m willing to do that.”
(What has surprised you the most about college basketball?) “Really just being here. Especially for them to recruit me, I’m just happy. I’m happy with the decision that I made. The season is right around the corner. We’re about to get things cranked up.”
(Going back to your college decision, what other schools were you looking at?) “VCU, Tulane and Louisiana-Lafayette.”
(Those schools are close to home and yet you chose Washington. That really says a lot about you. Are you the adventurous type?) “I’m cool with it. I can leave my family for a minute. It was my choice. They’ll always be there for me wherever I go.”
(Has anyone from your family come to Seattle yet?) “Yeah. My mom and my grandmother came out two weeks ago. They stayed the weekend with me. It was fun.”
(Training camp is next week. What have you heard about that?) “I heard it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be two-a-days on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s going to be tough I heard.”
(You looking forward to it?) “Yup. Yes sir. Looking forward to it.”
CORRECTED: 3:33 p.m.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, Scott Suggs


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