Senior Q&A: Jarrett Mann

As the year winds down for this year's senior class, The Bootleg's Kevin Danna was able to grab a few minutes with each of them as they count down their final games in a Stanford uniform. Second up to discuss his life and times on The Farm - Jarrett Mann!

The Bootleg: You're coming up on your final home game on Sunday. What's been your favorite moment or two during your career at Stanford - and I do want a moment, not a "they've all been great."
Jarrett Mann: I would put #1 as Washington - they were No. 15 in the country last year when they came in here and they had been beating us for quite a stretch. It was our junior year, and the guys decided "we're going to take this one," and obviously I had a big play - the big dunk down the middle when it was a tight game. And I think that dunk was probably my favorite moment.

TB: What was that dunk like for you?
JM: It's funny because during the Washington games Coach knows that they get after you, and those are usually the games where Coach gives me the freedom to break any offense, get to the hole. And we were setting up a pick-and-roll, and I remember I crossed over and Venoy Overton reached and the lane just opened up and I just finished it and the crowd went crazy. A lot of my friends were here, and I was just filled with excitement. I was jumping up and down, and I think they winded up calling a timeout.

TB: You mentioned being able getting to the rack; you're one of the best on the team in being able to do that. I've read that a lot of that comes from being from the East Coast and playing out on the playground. Tell me about your playground days.
JM: I grew up playing basketball on a playground. My mom - she used to tell me "you don't come home right after school; you go to the park, you get in the game with some of the older guys. You play, and then you come home and do your homework." I think that really paid off - defensively, being gritty, getting to the basket. You know on those double rims back on the East Coast, you can't shoot too many jumpers. *laughs* So everything's gotta be a lay-up. So it definitely molded the way I play.

TB: Who would you say was the best guy you played back on the playground?
JM: It's funny because J.R. Smith and Earl Clark lived maybe about one town over from me and I used to always go to this park in Plainfield, New Jersey. They would always be out there, and it was right outside of my aunt's house. Probably JR, but Earl was pretty good back then also.

TB: Do you have a play in particular against one of those guys where you showed them up?
JM: No, I have one where they showed me up. It was a big pick-up game, a lot of people out there, and JR has the ball and I'm guarding him and it's game point and I'm sure guys are betting money on the side and everything, and he pulls up from about half court and sinks it. *chuckles* I was just like "hey, what can you do?" I think the year after he wound up getting drafted, so it wasn't too bad [Jarrett was 14 at the time, JR was 17 or 18].

TB: What do you think has been the biggest takeaway or two from your time here at Stanford?
JM: I would say not only on the court but off the court, just leadership. When I came in, obviously every freshman is concerned about what are you going to do to help the team, what can you do to build your legacy. And as I got older, I realized it's not so much about one individual - certain people are remembered more than others - but it's more about the team and the legacy you leave on that team. So I would say leadership and maturity. I came in here, was a young gun, and didn't know much about responsibility or any of that stuff, and I feel like I really matured in that area.

TB: What does it feel like, knowing you're going into your last home game?
JM: I was telling people earlier - it's the perfect scenario; it's every scenario you could want. You're at home, a rivalry game, you're last game here - it's not like one of those games where it's your last game at home and then you go off to play another road game; it's our last game of the regular season. My family will be here, I have other seniors along with me - JO, Z, Jack who have been along with me. So it's the perfect situation to get a win, and we also need momentum, and at the same time, Cal's title chances are on the line. So all the pieces are kind of folding into the right place for us to get a win.

TB: What have you changed mechanically about your free throw shot that has allowed you to enjoy a considerably more amount of success?
JM: A lot of it is with my wrist injury since I've had since I was in high school, starting to cope with that a little better, getting better therapy and things like that. And also taking the ball off my palm has been big for me. But other than those two things, I would just say going up there and shooting them and not thinking too much. I take a deep breath, I kind of relax. Before I would go up there and rush them and not settle myself. But now I kind of take a deep breath and set up and just shoot it.

TB: I won't forget your clutch make at the line to clinch the win over USC in your sophomore year, a game that wasn't far removed from the Kentucky game. How much of a motivating factor was the Kentucky game as far as you going up there and sealing the victory against the Trojans?
JM: It was huge. When I was shooting the free throw, that's all I was thinking about. Kentucky - I missed that free throw; I played pretty well that game, it's just that one free throw got away from me. So as I'm shooting that free throw against USC, I hadn't scored all game, I had kind of been distributing and I was like "ok, I'm going to knock this one down." And I got up there and knocked it down and luckily we pulled out the win.

TB: Jeremy came over to you right after the game and gave you a big pat and he was one of your best friends on the team. How often do you still keep in contact with him?
JM: We speak almost every day. He's travelling around and right now he's in the D-League, but we'll always be friends. We were friends before we came to Stanford; we decided to come together and any other school we would have considered we were going to go together. So we were always good friends, and we will always be friends.

TB: How was that for you to deal with losing your best friend off the team?
JM: It's tough, because we kind of viewed ourselves as the best backcourt in the Pac-12. I think size-wise, strength-wise, as far as my passing ability, his scoring ability; I think our 1-2 punch was great.  Obviously you lose one-half of your game, but he had to do what was best for himself, and I don't blame him at all.

TB: Speaking of your passing ability, you have the ninth most assists in school history. What does that mean to you - you just passed up Todd Lichti a little while back!
JM: I had no idea, but that was something I always pride myself in - court vision. Actually, I can't even credit myself, because in high school I wasn't a big passer. I think in one year, sitting back and watching Mitch Johnson really, really helped my game.  Just seeing him and he showed me so many things - so many different angles and how people play defense, so I really give him a lot of credit, just sitting back watching him my freshman year.

TB: You're known for the defense you bring to the line-up, drawing the opponent's biggest threat usually. Who has been the toughest player for you to guard this year, and who has been the toughest for you to face throughout your whole four years?
JM: Wow…*chuckles, ponders*…It's tough. The toughest guard would probably be Isaiah Thomas. Because style-wise, he's a quick guard, but he's also smaller than me, which can give a bigger defender a lot of problems. You don't want to get into foul trouble, and sometimes he gets under you, so you can't really foul him. He's quick, good with the ball, so he was probably the best cover I've had. I thought the most impressive guy that I may not have necessarily guarded was James Harden my freshman year. I didn't really guard him, but just from watching him, he was the most impressive guy I've ever seen.

TB: You talked about the feel of shoes in your student-athlete profile, and that being something you might get into later on life from a sports marketing standpoint. To you, what's the most important quality of a shoe?
JM: I would say…*thinking*…I couldn't give you one; I could give you two - I would say durability and movement. You want a shoe that isn't going to rip and break every two months, because people are paying good money for it, and you obviously want them to hold up. But you also want a shoe that allows you to change direction and it also allows you to jump in the air without too much weight. Obviously, the weight in shoes is very, very small, but some people feel that some sneakers are heavier than others.

TB: What would you like to do in the future with the shoes and sports marketing kind of thing?
JM: I want to be a product design manager, so I want to focus certain ideas and certain visions into a shoe. So I want to come up with ideas and a vision for a shoe and help people lay it out. For instance, I feel like there's a need in a lot of sports for a shoe with a running-style cushion, a running-style sole, but could also adapt to something like basketball. There's no shoe out right out with say a Nike sole that can move like a LeBron, because it's either too heavy or the sole isn't the same. So comfort, but also durability and movement.

TB: Is that something you want to try to get in right away, or are you still going to try to play more?
JM: I definitely want to play overseas and explore the culture over there; I really liked it when we went to Spain. But down the line, I'd definitely be interested in doing that.

TB: Did Spain have a big impact on you saying, "hey, I want to play in Europe?"
JM: Yeah, it definitely did. Because obviously I didn't know how it would be and didn't know how it was, but going over there and seeing it - a good supportive fan base and the guys are in good gyms and everything is really nice and very scenic. It would be great to go over there for a few years and just experience that.

TB: Any place in particular?
JM: I would prefer Western Europe - like Italy, Spain, France, Greece, England obviously, but anywhere that I would be accepted would be fine.

TB: Who will be joining you on the court Sunday?
JM: My father, my sister, my brother, my grandmother, and I think two aunts are coming.

TB: A full house!
JM: Yup!

Do you have a "premium" subscription to The Bootleg? If not, then you are seriously missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest, broadest, and best in Stanford sports coverage with (sign-up)!

The Bootleg Top Stories