MSU Signs Jarvis Varnado and Ben Hansbrough

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State University head men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury announced Wednesday that forward Jarvis Varnado of Haywood High School in Brownsville, Tenn., and guard Ben Hansbrough of Poplar Bluff (Mo.) High School have signed national letters-of-intent with the Bulldogs.

Varnado, 6-foot-9, 190 pounds, averaged around 14 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks per game as a junior in helping lead coach Jesus Patino's Haywood Tomcats to a 29-5 overall record and a quarterfinal-round appearance in Tennessee's Class AA state tournament. Now coached at Haywood by his father, Winston, a former collegiate player at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., Varnado was tabbed by the Jackson Sun newspaper as an honorable mention All-West Tennessee selection a season ago as well as collecting all-district and all-region honors.

Rated 61st nationally among senior prep prospects by, Varnado excelled this past summer on the national AAU circuit as a member of coach Jeremy Shulman's Midstate Ballerz Elite ballclub. Averaging 18.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 7.8 blocks per outing during the summer, Varnado helped lead his team to a fourth-place finish during the AAU National Tournament played in Orlando, Fla.

"We're very excited to have these two fine, young men join our basketball family here at Mississippi State. They are good, young players who are also terrific people," Stansbury said. "Jarvis has a tremendous upside as a tall, long-armed athlete, and having his father as his high school coach is certainly a big plus."

Hansbrough, 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, averaged 17.1 points, 6.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds per contest a year ago as a junior in helping lead the 27-4 Poplar Bluff Mules to a second-straight MSHSAA (Missouri State High School Activities Association) Class 5A state championship. For his efforts last season, he was chosen first-team all-state by both the Missouri Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association and the Missouri Basketball Coaches Association.

Hansbrough, the younger brother of Tyler Hansbrough, a consensus prep first-team all-American last year and currently a freshman standout at reigning national champion North Carolina, is a two-time SEMO all-conference performer for Poplar Bluff. He averaged 9.2 points, 4.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore starter in helping lead the 25-6 Mules to their first of two-consecutive state titles.

"Ben comes from as competitive a family as I've ever been around," Stansbury noted. "His competitiveness and toughness will be a great asset to our program."

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