The first topic broached with basketball coach Rick Stansbury during today's season-ending press conference was junior center Jarvis Varnado and whether he will enter the NBA Draft this year. Said Stansbury, "We’re still in the process of gathering information."
Some vital information was gathered just before the media gathering, when Stansbury met with Varnado and his father, Winston Varnado. Assistant coaches Phil Cunningham and Robert Kirby were also in the meeting, and so was Stu Jackson, via telephone. Jackson is the NBA's vice-president of operations and the one who provides prospective draftees with information regarding their draft status. He told Varnado that he would likely be a late first or early second round pick.
"That’s not considering everybody that’s not declared for the draft yet, so that could go up or down," Winston Varnado said. He added that he and Jarvis have not yet had a chance to discuss the new information but will do so tonight with Jarvis' mother. Winston said there is no timeline for a decison, though one must be made by April 26. "Whenever he feels comfortable (about) what he wants to do."
There was plenty else to talk about at today's presser. Some highlights from Stansbury:
• On Elgin Bailey's ankle: "Today’s the first time I’ve seen it. It’s probably a lot farther along than I thought it would be."
• On dealing with this NBA stuff: "We’re used to dealing with it. Probably the biggest thing is it’s not like we’re having to go into the spring having to sign four or five guys, which makes it a little easier."
• On the strong finish to the season: "Everybody talks about the team got hot. If you back up with this team, over halfway through the SEC play, we’re playing for first place in this league now. We’re 6-2 playing LSU for first place. So we were pretty good in the first half of it."
• On getting stronger: "So many of these young men’s games will change with strength. I look at Dee Bost – what would strength do for him? Ravern (Johnson), what will strength do for him? Same way with Jarvis, Barry Stewart."
• On Kodi Augustus: "I think it’s very obvious his role changed for us down the stretch. And there’s a reason why his role changed – as I’ve said many a time, he changed. Our conversations about coming back was making sure that we’re all coming back, going to work and doing the right things. If you don’t, it’s a no-win for either one of us."
• On having five juniors and two seniors next year (if Varnado returns): "That’ll be the most experience we’ve probably had consistently for several years. We’ve been basically a freshman, sophomore team for the last four years really."
• On John Calipari at Kentucky: "I think it’s great for the league. I think anytime you can bring a guy into the league with his resume and what he’s done, it only makes our league better."