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August 17, 2012 at 9:24 AM

UW forward Jernard Jarreau: “I’m up to 214”

Washington will replace Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten Jr. – its two leading scorers who were taken in the first round of the NBA draft – with redshirt freshmen Jernard Jarreau and Andrew Andrews.
On paper it seems like significant losses and minimal gains for a Huskies team that won the Pac-12 regular season title, but missed the NCAA tournament.
Still, Jarreau believes UW can be as good or better than last year’s squad. He said the defense and team chemistry should be improved. He’s also hoping to find a role in the rotation and may challenge for a starting spot.
It’s seems clear Jarreau is battling Desmond Simmons, Shawn Kemp Jr. and Martin Breuning for minutes at power forward.
At 6-10, Jarreau is taller than the other three and his 7-foot-7 wingspan makes him an exceptional shot blocker. He can also knock down mid-ranger jumpers. However, last year he reported to UW weighing 195 pounds quickly learned he was too light to play in the post.
In the past year, he’s gained weight and experience that should help him this season.
Here’s an interview with Jarreau.

(Looks like you’ve gained weight.) “I’m up to 214.”
(How did you do it?) “Just doing everything that my trainer asked me to do. I worked hard during the spring once the season was over. Just really taking care of my body. Eating well. Lifting well. Even when I went back home to New Orleans for like a month and a half, I just kept getting after it. Just kept taking care of my body. That’s pretty much how I got to 214.”
(Just the way you’re talking about it, I can tell that you’re proud of gaining the weight. What does the number 214 mean to you?) “That pretty much means a lot to me. When I first got to college last year, I was pretty light for my height. I felt like strength and weight were the main focus for me coming into next year because that’s why I redshirted last year to get more weight on me.”
(What does the added weight allow you to do?) “It pretty much allows me to keep my balance. To get more position or better position. To finish more (at the rim). Just stuff like that.”
(From what I’ve seen this summer, you’re playing more inside than I remember.) “I just try to use my advantages as much as I can while I’m on the floor. That game I was pretty much the biggest guy on the floor even though the opposing team had a big too. I just still wanted to go inside and create an advantage and help my team win. I’ve been working on post moves all spring and summer.”
(Really?) “Oh yeah. Since last spring.”
(What do you think your role will be? Are you an outside guy or an inside guy? What will you bring to the team?) “Pretty much energy. If coach wants me to play inside or outside, it really doesn’t matter to me. I just want to help my team win the best I can. I think most likely I’ll be playing inside. That’s why I’ve been working on all post moves as much I can from last spring up until now. I think that’s pretty much going to be a big part of it.”
(How is the team looking?) “Pretty good. We’re getting better and better every day. We started our practices for our foreign trip. We had three days of hard practice. Just everybody getting after it. Competitors. I think we’re pretty much ready. Ready to roll now.”
(Anytime a team loses two first-round draft picks, the obvious question is how do you get better?) “I just pretty much think that we have to stay close on team chemistry because last year it was also really close, but we also had two guys that was just out of the box and totally ready for the next level. We pretty much have everybody coming back except those two guys. I just think this year we’ll probably be a little better team-wise. Everybody will play their role and we’ll get after it.”
(It seems as if coach Lorenzo Romar is going to put a renewed emphasis on defense.) “Yes. The first day of practice he started preaching about defense and we got into it right away, a defensive drill. That’s pretty much going to be the main key, defense. Then after that everything will open up for itself.”
(Last year Romar said he had to teach the defense very slowly because of so many newcomers. Is there a quicker pace in practice this year?) “Yeah. Last year we were pretty young. We had like six freshmen. This year pretty much everybody knows the defense. So it goes a little bit faster than how we were last year. Everybody is familiar with it so we’ll be fine.”
(I’ve asked a few of your teammates which player has surprised you the most and they say Jernard Jarreau. How does that make you feel?) “That’s pretty much like motivation for me. I know I have to keep working everyday. It doesn’t stop now just because somebody says I improved the most. That’s pretty much what I like to do. I just try to work on my game every day as much as I can and try to be a team player as well.”
(Who has surprised you the most?) “I’d say Hikeem. He’s really worked on his jump shot this past spring like during the offseason and the summer. When I came back from my home trip he was like playing in this summer league and playing in open gym and not missing at all. I think his jump shot has gotten way better from last year. And everybody else is still good as well.”
(Do you think with the loss of Mark McLaughlin that you’ll have to take a bigger role than previously expected?) “Me and Mark are like two different positions so I really don’t know. He’s pretty much like a wing player, a guard. I guess since we’re kind of short with guards right now I don’t really know what Romar has in mind.”
(Could you play a stretch-four role?) “Yeah. I could. Try to like use my advantage. If I have a big guy on me just take him out. Use an inside pivot or outside pivot. Stuff like that.”
(You still have ball-handling skills?) “Oh yeah.”
(How tall were you 2-3 years ago?) “I was like 6-5 or something like that. I just shot up. Big growth spurt.”
(Are you comfortable with your body?) “Yeah. I can feel it. I got way comfortable with it. Like last week we just ran the mile. That’s pretty much like a big conditioning test. Last year I ran it like at 195. This year I ran it more heavier. I can feel like I’m getting more comfortable with my body.”
(Did you pass the test?) “Yeah I passed. Ran 5:30.”
(What did you run last year?) “Last year I ran 5:35. So this year I got five seconds faster.”
(So five seconds faster and 20 pounds heavier. That’s pretty good.) “Thank you. Worked hard.”
(Do you think the team will play the same as last year?) “We have guys who can knock down shots as well this year. Of course C.J. (Wilcox) and Scott (Suggs) those two guys pretty much are veterans. If everybody else plays their role, I think we’ll be fine.”
(Seems like Romar will use the exhibition trip as a chance for the young guys to show what they can do. What do you want to do on the trip?) “Just showcase my talents, my skills. Just pretty much help my team win as much as I can. Just play my role and follow coach’s instruction.”

Comments | Topics: C.J. Wilcox, Mark McLaughlin, Scott Suggs


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