STARKVILLE, Miss. – Mississippi State All-SEC forward Jarvis Varnado has declared himself eligible for the 2009 NBA draft, but will leave the door open to return for his senior year by not hiring an agent.
This past season as a junior, the 6-foot-9, 210-pound Brownsville, Tenn., native started a school-record 36 games and averaged a team-high 12.9 points and 8.8 boards in leading the Bulldogs to a 23-13 ledger and a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row.
He was also instrumental in MSU winning the SEC Tournament in Tampa, Fla., with his MVP performance of 13.8 points, 8.8 boards and 22 blocked shots in the Bulldogs' magical four-game run to the crown.
Varnado, a two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year, had to file his paperwork with the NBA by midnight on Sunday. His deadline to withdraw his name is June 15.
Should he return for his senior season, he would need just 19 more blocks to surpass former LSU great Shaquille O'Neal's SEC career mark of 412 and 141 to tie the NCAA record of 535 Louisiana-Monroe's Wojciech Mydra set from 1998-2002.
He's also just 93 points shy of becoming the 31st MSU player to score 1,000 for a career, while his 727 rebounds rank ninth all-time. If he were to grab the total of 317 boards he had this year, he would finish third with 1,044, behind Bailey Howell (1,277) and Rickey Brown(1,092).
"We are in full support of Jarvis and his father's decision to enter the NBA draft and test the waters," said MSU coach Rick Stansbury, whose 231 victories are the most in school history and 16th best in SEC history. "It will be a great opportunity for Jarvis to experience some workouts and gain knowledge of things he needs to work on."
Stansbury and Varnado will not comment further regarding this situation.
Varnado's 2008-09 Individual Achievements
- AP Honorable Mention All-American
- USBWA All-District IV
- NABC Second Team All-District 21
- CollegeInsider.com Defensive All-American
- All-SEC by coaches and AP
- SEC Defensive Player of the Year
- All-SEC Defensive Team
- SEC Tournament MVP