Varnado Ready To Become Offensive

Mississippi State junior center Jarvis Varnado has been spending his time this summer becoming more offensive.

Known as one of the top defensive players in college ball, Jarvis Varnado has spent his time this summer working on the offensive part of his game. In fact, he attended two camps this summer - the Amare Stoudemire Skills Camp and the LeBron James Skills Camp - to help improve his offense.

"I have to pick up the scoring this year because Charles (Rhodes), Jamont (Gordon) and Ben (Hansbrough) are gone," said the 6-10, 205-pounder. "That is mainly why I went (to the camps).

"I worked on my positioning for scoring, my footwork, things like that."

He attended the Amare Stoudemire Skills Camp first and was provided instruction by former NBA player and coach John Lucas.

"For the Amare camp, John Lucas was our instructor," said Jarvis. "(He) told me that I have to pick up some more weight. He said I'm a very good defensive player, but he said I can't be one-dimensional - I need to play both ends of the court. He said I play long on defense, but not long on offense.

"He said I need to extend more on my jump hooks. Instead of short-arming it, get it all the way up so nobody can block it."

While the Stoudemire Camp focused on the big men, the LeBron Camp was for all players - big and small - and offered a different style of play.

"While the Amare Camp was more one-on-one against other bigs, the LeBron Camp had everybody there, so we got to go up and down (the court) more," said Jarvis, who was instructed mostly by NBA scouts at the LeBron Camp. "The big man camp helped me get ready for the LeBron Camp. I was doing more skill work in the big man camp, but we were going more up and down in the LeBron Camp."

And, based on his experience at the camps, MSU fans should see a much different player this coming season.

"You will see me being more assertive on the offensive end this season," said Jarvis.

And that assertiveness will go beyond his offensive and defensive games.

"The past two years I had a role on the team, but now me and Barry Stewart are basically the older guys on the team and the leaders on the team, so we have to lead every day," said Jarvis.

Jarvis, despite the loss of two extremely talented players in Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes, believes this year's team will be a more team-oriented group.

"I think we are going to be pretty good (because) it's going to be more of a team," said Jarvis. "With Jamont and Charles gone, that is two very talented individuals, but this year we will be more of a team.

"I think everybody has to step up and come to work. Me and Barry can't do it by ourselves - it's a team thing now."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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