Beach's Bits: Jernard Jarreau

SEATTLE - Dawgman.com caught up with Washington sophomore forward Jernard Jarreau at the NSCC Summer League Monday night. The 6-foot-10 New Orleans native has gained weight and strength since the end of last year and we talked to him about improving his game, as well as the goals for this year's group of hoopers.

On this summer's development - "It's been pretty big for me. Last spring coach Romar sat down with me and talked about how there were a few months to go until the next season and so it's been all about motivation and working out as much as I can when I was home and working on some of the weaknesses that I had my freshman year."

What were some of those weaknesses? - "Some of the weaknesses I had…well, first of all strength. And going up against the competition last year helped…there were some games where I didn't show up as much, going up against tough opponents. Shooting, shooting-wise…"

What's your range now? - "Seventeen-eighteen-footers."

Is that going to be a component of your game this year? - "I'm not going to say I'm not going to shoot it, but if it's open I can take the shot. But right now I'm just trying to get that 17-foot range down pat, just automatic. I'm also working inside the perimeter. I'm just trying to be more comfortable in the high post."

What does 'point-forward' mean to you, and do you think we'll see some of that from you this year? - "Yeah, because this year's team is a whole different team. We've got a lot of new things and we all have to contribute this year. I always have the freedom to dribble whenever I want. Hopefully this year you'll see more of it."

On playing the three and guarding that position - "In practice they have me guarding against everybody, like C.J. (Wilcox) coming off screens…so if coach (Romar) has that in his head that I can play the three, I could definitely do it. The Pac-12 is pretty big, there's a lot of teams that have big lineups - like Arizona. Oregon State, they start like four bigs, so…"

What is your ultimate weight goal? - "Right now I'm 220. I'm trying to get to 225-230."

How hard is that for you to gain that weight? - "It's not really hard. I mean, we lift weights every day and I just try and eat right. I try and take care of my body as much as I can to get ready for the season. I feel more comfortable playing at 225-230, but not much more than that because I don't want to lose mobility."

What do you think about your chances in the conference? - People are looking at you as a middle-of-the-pack team - "Since my first year here, even when I redshirted, I've always heard how we're just going to be middle-of-the-pack, middle-of-the-pack…but we've responded except for last year. That one was on us. But this year I feel like we're a better team. We lost some guys that were big for the team, but I feel like this year everybody is more hungry. We have guys returning and also new guys…we've know what it takes now. We've seen the past Husky teams and seen how they accomplished things, so I think we are going to be able to do the same things this year. We just have a group that's more hungry and willing to get the job done."

Who has stood out in terms of making the biggest improvements? - "Hikeem…Hikeem Stewart. Since I've been here he's been putting on a show. He's been in the gym - you can tell - and he's been working on his game more than last year…his all-around game. So like I said, we have some guys this year that know what it takes. Andrew (Andrews) is looking better; Shawn (Kemp) - all those guys. During the summer they've worked out on their own games, and this year it feels like everyone has the confidence back. So now we have to go out there and make it happen."

What do you see from the front court? - "Perris (Blackwell) is obviously a load down there. He's unstoppable down there. Him and Shawn (Kemp) on the block? It's a bucket every time in my eyes. When we have guys like me and and Gilles (Dierickx) and Desmond (Simmons) knowing we can play the high post offense…we just need to finesse that, you know? Finesse it to make it easier for guys like Perris down low so they won't be able to double-team him and stuff like that. I feel like we have a good chance this year. We have a lot of mismatches for guys, and then the backcourt is really good."

What do you think of the back court this year compared to last year? - "Last year, everyone really know how the back court wasn't really how Husky Basketball normally should have been. We didn't really have guys that…I mean I'm not going to sit here and say we had guys that weren't capable of doing it, it was just one of those years where guys didn't step up. This year we're trying to bring Husky Basketball back; that's our main goal."


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