A Q&A With Jarvis Varnado

Mississippi State senior basketball player Jarvis Varnado talks about the Mississippi State basketball team, what Coach Stansbury means to him as a basketball player, his dad Winston Varnado, and what Mississippi State University means to him.

Who, in your opinion, has really stepped up his game during the offseason?
"I think that Kodi Augustus has really stepped up during the offseason. He has really worked extremely hard in the weight room and just getting his conditioning better. And he's really tried to get better on the defensive end. He has really improved the most to me."

Dee Bost has also improved, too, hasn't he?
"Yeah, Dee has improved. He's getting into the lane a lot easier than he did last year. He's trying to make the right reads. He's really just improved as a point guard."

Why will this team be better this year compared to last year?
"We were young last year. We didn't really know each other until toward the end of the season. That team chemistry really helps us. Now, everybody knows what they are going to do on the court this year."

The saying is defense wins championships, offense brings the fans in. Will defense be a strength of this team?
"Yes, that's our key - defending and rebounding. That is what Coach (Stansbury) preaches to us every day. We can score the ball real well but we just have to commit to the defensive side of it."

Coach Stansbury has always stressed rebounding and defense, two of your strengths. Is he the perfect coach for you?
"Oh yeah, he is a defensive-minded coach. And that is what I like about him. He always talks about defense and rebounding. Of course he wants us to score because you have to score to win games, but he wants us to lock up our man on the defensive in and make it hard for them to score."

Hopefully, you are going to make it in the NBA and become a very wealthy person. If that does happen will you remember Mississippi State University financially? And how would you remember them financially?
"(Laugh) Oh yeah, I would. I can't forget about my school. That's what got me on the map, on the NBA radar. This school gave me a chance. And coming back and giving back is something that I plan to do."

What would it mean to you to see your name on something at Mississippi State?
"That would be really special. To come back and see your name on something would be an honor."

How much has your dad influenced you in your life as far as where you are today in basketball?
"Dad has been there for me. He's coached me all through my life even when I was little. Him being around and showing me the ropes, right from wrong, he's a really good guy. I will try to teach my kids how to be a man and be respectful to others just like he taught me."

If you have thought about it, what will that last game at Mississippi State be like for you and Barry Stewart, the two seniors on the team?
"It's going to be emotionally for both of us. It went by so fast. I remember when we came in as freshmen. But we are looking forward to the game and coming out with a win."

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Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.


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