Freshman Jernard Jarreau decided hours before Saturdays’ season-opener that he wants to redshirt this season. He informed coach Lorenzo Romar during the Portland-Florida Atlantic game and Romar agreed it’s a good decision.
The 6 foot 10, 195-pound forward joins freshman Andrew Andrews who is also redshirting. Jarreau is the fifth player under Romar who has redshirted. The other include: Darnell Gant, C.J. Wilcox and Desmond Simmons.
“He and I have had conversations about it the last couple of days,” Romar said. “He understands he has some talent not unlike C.J., Desmond and Darnell knows I want to get stronger learn the system and then come out here with a fresh start.”
Without Jarreau, Washington has five players on scholarship who are 6-7 or taller.
“I don’t know how much it hurts our depth,” Romar said.
It would have been difficult for Jarreau to receive meaningful minutes early in the season because 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye and fifth-year senior forward Darnell Gant are starting in the front court. Simmons, a redshirt freshman forward, is the first big man off the bench while freshman forward Martin Breunig and freshman forward/center Shawn Kemp Jr. will likely provide spot minutes in relief.
Romar said Jarreau, who had three blocks and two rebounds in the exhibition over Seattle Pacific, would be able to contribute this season.
“Oh yeah. Because of his length he just presents problems. … He makes things happen. He can put the ball on the floor. Not for a big man, he dribbles like a guard. Literally like a guard and with that size he’s going to be a mismatch problem. There are times we could use that this year. Just like there were times when we could have used C.J. when he redshirted. There were times when we could have used Desmond because of his tenacity.”
Redshirting Jarreau and Andrews helps UW balance a freshman class that included six scholarship players and a walk-on. It also lessens the pressure of signing a high school senior to a scholarship. Washington is the only Pac-12 team without a 2012 signee.
Romar acknowledged redshirting Jarreau has long-term benefits in recruiting, but said the main reason is it will benefit Jarreau.
“It is a good move for him,” Romar said. “He doesn’t have to go through this year with the ups and downs emotionally of playing, not playing. Maybe frustrated in that you’re not getting some of the concepts at times. Learning all of that and at the same time getting stronger. … Right now he’s about 211.
“If he gets up to 220 or 225 next year. Whatever he is, he’ll be an entirely different player. He will be a lot better player this time next year and still be a freshman. If you look at him and Andrew Andrews that’s like guys coming in the 2012 class.”
Here’s a transcript from tonight’s interview with Jarreau.
(What’s it like being on the bench and knowing you’re not going to play?) “It’s hard to be on the bench. I them moments like dang you wish you could be in the game, but you just got to suck it up. I can’t worry about what other people think. I just got to worry about myself. So that’s about it.”
(What do you want to accomplish while you redshirt?) “Get better. Get stronger. Get faster. Get my all-around skills up. I think that will happen. I think next year y’all see a whole another Jernard Jarreau.”
(Bigger?) “Yeah. Bigger wise. More muscular. More aggressive. More athletic. More of an all-around game.”
(Why did decide today?) “We were talking about it earlier in the week and he was like if I put you in the game today, you can’t redshirt after today. He was really honest saying I can’t get frustrated if I don’t get many minutes early on or at the end of the season. I really didn’t want that to happen like being frustrated on the bench and saying man I wish I would have redshirted and stuff like that. I’m trying to make a smart decision.”
(Did somebody help you with this decision?) “I talked to my parents. I think coach Romar sees something in me. He’s trying to help me reach my potential. I talked to my parents and my parents were very cool with it. They are with me and any decision I make.”
(Did you talk to guys like Darnell Gant, C.J. Wilcox and Desmond Simmons who redshirted?) “I talked to those guys. They just told me the key to that is nothing but patience. You got to have patience. You got to wait your turn and just work hard. That’s what I’ll do. Continue to work hard. Go after guys in practice and that will hopefully get me better for next year.”
(Did your performance in the exhibition help you make this decision?) “I think I did good. I played the defense. My offensive game … it really wasn’t hitting that night. I tried to rebound. I tried to block shots. … That game was a nice experience for me.”
(Was it after that game that you initially talked to Romar?) “Yeah. After that game.”
(How much weight have you gained since you’ve been here?) “I’ve gained 13 pounds.”
(Have you ever lifted like you’re lifting now?) “No. Not at all. Since I came here everything has changed. The practices. Basketball period. No more like little-boy games. I’m just being honest right now. I just got to step my game up.”
(Is it humbling to say this year is not my year and I have to wait?) “Yeah. It’s kind of humbling. You just have to be humble about it. I just got to stay humble and hungry.”
(Are you also excited to work on aspects of your game?) “Yeah. Exactly. I have extra workouts in. I’ll still get a (run) before the game. I’ll have my individual workouts in. Trying to get my shot better. Ball-handling skills. My all-around game. I think long (term) I won’t say I regret this decision. I think it will help me in the long run.”