Jarvis Varnado may be the ultimate team player.
The Mississippi State forward is the ultimate help defender, swooping in for blocks and grabbing rebounds while the rest of the Bulldogs focus on offense. Knowing a shot-blocker like Varnado is behind you just helps the defense relax. And he knows it.
"Teams are going to be thinking twice about bringing it inside," Varnado told ESPN this summer. "When I'm blocking shots and running the floor, that's when we're at our best. It can give our crowd a boost."
And what had been a memorable summer – making Team USA for the University Games and being listed as a preseason Wooden Award candidate – got even better because it could ensure Miss State having a big season in 2009-10.
He'll pay his own tuition this year so another Bulldog player can have his scholarship. (His family's taking out a loan for the $5,151 it'll cost.)
See? Team player.
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger has most of the details of Varnado's decision, which was to essentially free up a spot for star recruit Renardo Sidney. Now that Sidney is cleared academically to play (though MSU is still awaiting word on his eligibility), word trickled in about Varnado's move.
It's always nice to know the nation's top shot blocker has your back. But to go the next step? Even better.
(H/T: Gary Parrish)