NBA exec gives draft information to Varnado

STARKVILLE – Jarvis Varnado is gathering all the information he can before deciding on his future at Mississippi State. He received a crucial bit of 411 on Wednesday.
The junior center heard from Stu Jackson, the NBA’s vice-president of operations and the man who gives prospective draftees their projected draft status. Jackson spoke via telephone with Varnado and his father, Winston Varnado, as well as MSU’s coaches.
He said that Varnado would likely go in the late first or early second round.
“That’s not considering everybody that’s not declared for the draft yet, so that could go up or down,” Winston Varnado told the Daily Journal Wednesday afternoon.
The elder Varnado added that he and Jarvis had not discussed the new information but planned to do so that night with Jarvis’ mother.
Varnado has until April 26 to declare for the draft. Otherwise, he’ll make a decision “whenever he feels comfortable (about) what he wants to do,” Winston Varnado said.
Varnado, who averaged 12.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game this year, will play for the U.S. in the World University Games this summer.
Unusually experienced
– Head coach Rick Stansbury met with the media Wednesday. He wouldn’t comment much on Varnado, but he’s been through this routine before plenty of times during his 11-year tenure in Starkville.
“We’re used to dealing with it,” Stansbury said. “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.”
After its unexpected run to the SEC Tournament title, State’s future looks awfully promising, especially if Varnado returns. The only loss will be Brian Johnson, who came off the bench.
“I think the thing we have, we have some versatility and some flexibility,” Stansbury said. “That’s the thing that going into next season we didn’t have this year.”
The Bulldogs, who lost to Washington in the first round of the NCAA tournament, would have two seniors and five juniors logging good minutes, plus sophomore point guard Dee Bost. Bost was named honorable mention All-American by earlier this week.
“That’ll be the most experience we’ve probably had consistently for several years,” Stansbury said. “We’ve been basically a freshman, sophomore team for the last four years really.”
Spot to fill
– Wednesday marked the beginning of the spring signing period. The Bulldogs have one scholarship available, but it wasn’t filled Wednesday.
“We’re trying to find somebody that’s got some kind of size about him; got a little meat on his bones,” said Stansbury, alluding to his lightweight starting lineup, which averaged about 180 pounds.
The likeliest candidate to sign at some point is Wendell Lewis, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound center from Selma, Ala. Per NCAA rules, Stansbury is not permitted to discuss unsigned prospects.
State signed Noxubee County’s Shaunessy Smith in the fall.
Bulldog bites
– Stansbury got a look at reserve center Elgin Bailey’s broken foot Wednesday. Bailey suffered the injury against Florida in the season’s next-to-last game. “It’s probably a lot farther along than I thought it would be,” Stansbury said. … State will play DePaul in next season’s SEC/Big East Challenge in Tampa. Stansbury said he’s still trying to fill two or three more dates on the 2009-10 schedule. … Stansbury on John Calipari leaving Memphis for Kentucky: “I think it’s great for the league. I think anytime you can bring a guy into the league with his résumé and what he’s done, it only makes our league better.”


Brad Locke/Daily Journal

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