Mississippi State junior center Jarvis Varnado would be a fool not to at least consider leaving early for the NBA, and he is considering it. The question that must be answered: Is he ready? Varnado had a breakout year in 2008-09, adding a solid offensive game to his already top-tier defensive game. Two questions within the larger question: Is that offensive game polished enough? And, is his body (6-foot-9, 210 pounds) ready for the next level?
DraftExpress.com projects Varnado as a first-round pick. Gary Parrish, senior writer for CBSSports.com, agrees that Varnado must at least test the waters.
“He has to test it, at least, because to not do so would be to waste an opportunity that literally has no downside,” Parrish wrote in an e-mail. “There’s absolutely no reason to not enter without hiring an agent, and I suspect that’s what he’ll do, just to see what franchises think. Remember, not all 30 teams have to like you for you to be a first-round pick. It only takes one team to like you, and if that happens, you’re good. So my understanding is that he’ll at least test it and go from there.”
Ah, but the big question: Is he ready? Says Parrish, “No, probably not. But who is, outside of Blake Griffin? There’s not another player in the draft who couldn’t stand to get a little stronger, a little better offensively, so on and forth. But that’s not what this is about. This is about potential, and whether somebody will give you millions of dollars based on it, and that’s what Jarvis has to find out. But clearly, if he wants to make a paycheck next season, he can. It’s just a matter of where, and for how much.”
I’m sure Varnado has looked back to last year, when Jamont Gordon left MSU after his junior season and went undrafted. But Varnado is a better player, and his ability to defend will be invaluable and could be what keeps him in the association for a long time. Stay tuned.