Jarvis Varnado, Nation's Leading Shot Blocker, Takes One For the Team

Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury probably has a lot of players he's admired in his long tenure with the Bulldogs, but after this latest move, who could he possibly love more than center Jarvis Varnado. ↵

↵You see, not only is Varnado -- the nation's leading shot blocker last season at 4.7 per game -- coming back to school after testing the NBA draft waters, he's actually doing so as a walk-on. Why? He's trying to do Stansbury a solid and free up a scholarship so they can land two more blue chip big men, according to the Clarion Ledger. ↵

↵

↵The two big men in question are Renardo Sidney (Scout's No. 2 PF in the Class of 2009) and John Riek (Rivals' No. 13 C in the Class of 2009). Sidney, while recently cleared to enroll, still isn't actually cleared to play as the NCAA investigates his amateur status. Riek was also part of a weird enrollment process where he appeared to be bound for Cincinnati, only to wind up at Mississippi State. ↵

↵

↵If both players come up golden in the eyes of the NCAA, the Bulldogs will have 14 players. Varnado will fall on his financial sword for the time being, take out a loan like the rest of us bums, and play as a walk-on. Varnado is a pro after this season, whether it's in the NBA or in a foreign country. Paying back the reported $5,151 will be easy and could probably be accomplished shortly after he leaves Mississippi State. ↵

↵

↵So through one selfless act, Varnado could help Stansbury assemble one of the more daunting frontcourts in America and a core for what is almost assuredly a top 15 team. Who wouldn't love a player like that? ↵

↵

↵(H/T to Gary Parrish) ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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