Jarreau growing into role

Although the 2011 basketball class lacks star talent beyond Tony Wroten, there are still a few guys to keep an eye out for, one being Jernard Jarreau. A 6-foot-10 New Orleans native, Jarreau is considered to be a hybrid forward who expects to play both in the post and on the wing.

Considered by many as one of the more underrated players in the nation, Jarreau has done well to fill up the stat sheet for his 21-9 McDonogh 35 College Preparatory High School team. So far this season, he is averaging 12.6 points, eight rebounds, six assists and 3.5 blocks per game.

Even though his scoring totals aren't through the roof, his coach, Larry Sanders, said it is not something to be concerned with. In fact, his role at the prep level could almost be considered that of a point-center, which makes sense considering just a couple years ago Jarreau was a 6-foot-2 point guard.

"It is kind of traditional for the teams that have come through our school," Sanders said. "We usually have balanced scoring and he is actually a real good distributor of the ball. We work through him. He actually differs a lot to his teammates because that's a trait that he has and he is real good at it.

"He probably could be averaging between 18 and 20 more points a game, but he enjoys getting all of his teammates involved. We actually have four guys averaging over 10 points a game, which is pretty good at our level."

As a guy who grew around eight inches since his freshman season, Jarreau has a rare and unique blend of talents for a player his size. Similar to one of the nation's top recruits, Anthony Davis, Jarreau was running things before his huge growth spurt, and he has maintained many of the traits of a pure ball-handler.

Also similar to Davis, Jarreau is slight for his size, currently weighing in at around 195 pounds. However, Sanders said he shouldn't have a problem putting on pounds once he gets to college.

"I think with all the resources they have available to them at the college level, the potential is just unfathomable," Sanders said. "He is kind of long and lanky, but he can put weight on and strength. Everything you can think of I think is a possibility with the things they have available to them."

A kid who Sanders said has a great personality and gets along with everyone, Jarreau, who has a 7-foot wingspan, never received much national attention from college coaches. Sanders said Jarreau had offers from Virginia Commonwealth University, George Mason, Tulane, University of New Orleans and LSU - who came in late in the process - before accepting a scholarship offer from the University of Washington.

His coach said there was a good reason for Jarreau staying clear of most schools' recruiting radar.

"He missed the better part of his junior year," Sanders said. "He played only five games and broke his right wrist, in what we call a jamboree. Between his junior and senior years, he had a travel team circuit in the summer. I think a bunch saw him, but there may not have been enough information or data out there for them to make a legitimate push at him."

Even though Jarreau may not come in and play huge minutes for the Huskies from the start, Sanders said Jarreau has the right qualities to be a special player.

"He is like a sponge; he's picking things up and has the realization that he has the potential that he has," Sanders said. "His body is just growing and his game is just starting to catch with his body. He just has so much on his plate right now and he is getting better and better every day."

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