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August 7, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Jernard Jarreau: ‘I want to be more of a scorer’

Had a chance to chat with incoming junior Jernard Jarreau a few weeks ago.

He talked about his first year with the Huskies last season and described it as “up and down.”

Jarreau started the first seven games and came off the bench in 24 contests while also sitting out three due to coach’s decision. He averaged 3.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 12.7 minutes.

Jarreau said he’s grown an inch and is now 6-11. He also weighs 225, which is up five pounds. He wants to add five more before the season opener.

It’s difficult to know where he fits in Washington’s rotation because of the logjam at power forward. Jarreau is competing with Shawn Kemp Jr. and Desmond Simmons for minutes. Jarreau, who shot 40.2 percent last season, is a better perimeter shooter and appears to be more a natural fit at power forward in coach Lorenzo Romar’s high-post offense.

This is seemingly a make-or-break year for Jarreau, who redshirted as a freshman. He’s got loads of talent – there’s not many 6-11 guys with his ball-handling skills – but he admits he’s got to be more consistent.

Here’s the interview.

(How is your summer going?) “Good. I got back in town. Back in Seattle on Monday night. Got back started yesterday, but I went home and had a good time with my family. I worked out a lot. Try to get better on some things. Just enjoyed my time. But now I’m back here and getting ready for work.”

(For those who don’t know, where’s home? And when you’re home, how do you relax?) “Home is New Orleans. I hang out with family. I eat. Eat all the food that I miss during the school year. I just try to use my time wisely down there. And have fun.”

(When was the last time you were at home?) “Last time I was at home was last summer. It’s been a year since I was home so I had fun.”

(Were you anxious to get back home?) “Yeah, yeah. I was anxious to get back to family and friends. I had fun.”

(Did they have any parties for you?) “Yeah they did. They had a big ‘ole get-together for Father’s Day. Lot of fathers came over from out of state. I enjoyed it.”

(Does going home re-energize you?) “Yeah it does. When I go back. My family is so proud of me. They’re just always in my ear telling me to work hard and stay focus. I just try to use that as motivation and try to make them proud. And to try and reach my dreams.”

(Are you able to train when you  go home?) “Yeah. I have trainers in New Orleans. A couple of trainers that I work with strength-wise and with basketball skills stuff. I did a lot of that when I was at home.”

(Seems like I always have to ask you this question, have you gained weight?) “Yeah. I gained some weight. But it’s like a process with me. It takes awhile. So right now, I’m at the average. I’m 225. I’m trying to bulk up to 230 when the season starts.”

(What does 230 mean to you?) “Two-thirty means a lot to me. That’s the reason why I redshirted. Coming in and just taking everything in that first year. Now this is when it should pay off. It should be a little more easier now.”

(It’s been 4-5 months since the season ended. Have you changed as a player?) “Yeah. During the spring, I had a good spring. I worked on a lot of things. I just started to get my confidence back. I got me feet under me. I have a year under my belt. So next year I’ll come in there and just be more relaxed. Be more comfortable on the floor. Just bring my swagger back.’

(You said bring my confidence back. Did you lose confidence?) “I really didn’t lose it. It was just my freshman year when I redshirted. There was just a lot of things coming at me. It’s your freshman year in college. Some guys don’t adjust to college as quick (snapping his fingers) as others. The thing right now is I got my confidence back so it’ll get better.”

(What goals do you have for yourself next season?) “Try to make an impact in the conference. I’m going to be a sophomore. I had an up-and-down freshman season. Just coming back next season and try to help my team out as much as I can. Individual wise try to make an impact in the conference.”

(What did you learn from last season?) “Just playing against some of the best and learning from them. Guarding those those. The atmosphere. Playing in big arenas and stuff like that. Just trying to be calm. That’s what I learned. Be more relaxed out there. That’s what Coach Romar is always telling me. Be more relaxed and just play your game.”

(The one thing I thought about you  last season was your game worked well against certain teams, but you also struggled when the matchups didn’t favor you. I thought the next step for you is learning how to be effective no matter who you play. Is that fair or unfair?) “It’s fair. You’re right. Some games against some of the big schools, I really didn’t come through like I should have. Some games I did. Next year I just have to be more consistent. That’s what the coaches have been asking me. Be more consistent. I just got to bring it to the table. Be more consistent and be more relaxed out there.”

(You say be more relaxed, but you strike me as a calm person. You’re not overly animated on the floor. Am I missing something?) “No that’s right. It’s what you’re feeling on the inside. On the outside, it might show one thing, but inside is something else.”

(Were you nervous?) “Not necessarily. It’s just going through something for the first time. Now that I’ve done that, know what that’s all about, I’m going to be better the next time.”

(In many ways your skill-set is perfect for the high-post offense. Agree?) “I think so. In many ways. Basically in the high-post offense, I get the ball at the high post and I can make plays. Get to the basket or shoot the 15 footer. I like that.”

(Even though you’ve grown to 6-10, you still have ball-handling skills like a guard.) “I’m never going to lose that. I grew up playing guard. I try to use everything. Especially in summer-league games. That’s what these games are for. I try it all and go out and have fun.”

(How tall are you now?) “Six feet 11.”

(Did you gain an inch?) “I heard that from a few places. I’ll probably hit 7 feet, but right now I’m 6-11.”

(Legit 6-11?) “I think so.”

(A 6-11 guy who can cross-over and lead a fast break is pretty rare.) “Yeah it is. But like I said, I grew up playing guard. I just hit a growth spurt when I was high school. I always worked on my handles.”

(Like ever young player who grows up, you look different. And it’s not just the facial hair and the haircut. It looks like you’ve grown into your body. And even this interview, you’re more comfortable talking than you  were two years ago. I guess that just happens.) “It does. Like I said some people just don’t adjust to everything as quick as others guys coming into college their first year. Just coming up here, it’s making me become a man. Turning from a boy to a man. I’m just maturing. Taking it slow. Taking everything in as advice and motivation. And trying to strive for the best.”

(How do you think you fit in with the team next season? There’s still Shawn Kemp and Desmond Simmons at forward. You added Perris Blackwell and Gilles Dierickx at center. How does it all fit?) “This year I think we have more size on the inside to rotate a lot of guys. All of have a good skill-set for the high-post offense. We’ll be more physical – I promise you that – inside. We’ll help our guards out as much as we can.”

(Can you play center?) “I mean, yeah I can guard some fives (centers). I might not be playing the five this year.”

(I’d guess you’re more adept at power forward?) “Yeah.”

(Can you slide and play small forward? That would be a really big lineup.) “Yeah. Exactly. This year, I’ll be playing more like a 3-4. We’ll see how it goes.”

(If you’re at small forward, whose at power forward and center?) “Probably Shawn and Perris.”

(Again, that’s a big lineup.) “That’s what I’d like to see sometimes. It’s up to coach.”

(Of the guys you’ve seen this summer, who has impressed you?) “I’ve been playing with Hikeem (Stewart), G (Dierickx) and a couple of older guys. It looks like they got better and got stronger.”

(Who?) “G. He got a lot stronger. Hikeem is going to be more comfortable with the ball. The freshmen look nice. They got some things they need to work on so it’s going to take some time.”

(I haven’t seen a lot of Dierickx so it was interesting to see you play against him. He’s active around the rim.) “He is. He’s very comfortable down low. Gilles is a skilled guy. He kind of reminds me of Spencer (Hawes). He can knock down a 15-17 foot shot. Gilles has a lot of heart. He bangs down there. He’s a pretty good defender too. I always like G guarding me because he makes me better.”

(He’s more of a center than power forward?) “Yeah.”

(What do you think this team can do next season?) “I think we can come in and make some noise. The past two seasons since I’ve been here, it really wasn’t what we wanted or expected it to be. This year I just think by the guys that are coming back like C.J., myself, Desmond and Andrew (Andrews), we know what it takes. It’s time now. We need to bring that Husky basketball back and get it back rolling.”

(For that to happen, somebody who hadn’t scored a lot of points will have to take a big step forward. You guys lost three of your top four scorers. After C.J. the next leading scorer is Andrew at 7-8 points per game.) “Exactly. We’re going to have some shoes to fill this year. We just got to come in there and work hard in the preseason. Figure out our roles and play our game.”

(Do you feel comfortable in the role of being a scorer or are you more a playmaker?) “I can score. I want to be more of a scorer. This year I want to do that and be more consistent with that.”

(What does that look like? Are you attacking the rim, posting up or making jump shots?) “Both. Being versatile. Inside and outside. Attacking the rim. Putbacks and stuff like that. This year I’m ready for it.”

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