Stats from Draft Express
Height with Shoes: 6'10"
Weight: 210 lbs
Standing Reach: 9' 1.5"
No Step Vertical: 29.5"
Max Vertical: 32.5"
One thing the Celtics desperately need is improved defense and Danny is taking a step toward improving in that area with this signing. Varnado is best known as a defensive specialist and his specialty is shot blocking. He's listed as 6'10" in shoes and has a freakish 7'3.5" wingspan. He led the NCAA in blocks for the 2007–08 season with 157 blocks which tied Shaquille O'Neal for the most blocks in a season in the SEC. In the 2008–09 season, he broke that single season record by blocking 170 shots. Varnado was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year for 3 consecutive years 2008, 2009 and 2010. He was the first player to ever win that honor 3 years in a row.
Varnado became the NCAA's Division I all-time shot block leader on February 24, 2010. Jarvis Varnado is in rare company as one of just two college players in history to achieve the 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 blocks milestone. The only other player to accomplish this feat was David Robinson.
After being drafted 41st in the 2010 draft by the Miami Heat, Varnado played overseas for the past 2 seasons. He played with Carmatic Pistoia, a second-division team in the Italian league averaging 15.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 3.1 blocks per game. On August 12, 2011 he signed a contract with Hapoel Jerusalem B.C. of Israeli Basketball Super League. He played in 12 games, but left the team on January 24, 2012. The following week, he signed with Pallacanestro Virtus Roma of the Italian League. He played in the Heat's preseason and training camp but was waived on October 26, 2012 as he was experiencing some hamstring problems. After being waived by the Heat Varnado joined the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League. Varnado was named NBDL player of the week for the first week of their season after averaging 15.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 5.7 blocked shots per game through the Skyforce's first three games of the season.
Ridiculous Upside had an article on December 5, making the case for a team to call up Varnado from the D-League.
Varnado is an athletic, shot blocking post player who physically resembles the body type of Walter McCarty. He was a second-round pick (41st overall) by Miami in 2010, but was waived by the Heat in training camp this fall.
The forward spent the past two years playing in Israel and Italy, while the Heat maintained his rights. This followed a very successful four-year career at Mississippi State, where Varnado averaged 10 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 4 blocks over the course of 141 career games. He finished his career as the only player in NCAA history to record at least 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 blocks.
Varnado holds the NCAA record for most career blocks with 564, while becoming the first player to be named as the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons (2008, 2009, and 2010).
The big man is still raw on the offensive end. He doesn't have a "go to" move and needs to develop a better idea of what to do with the ball in the post. Varnado did show some ability with his back to the basket, feeling the defense and spinning accordingly. He put up 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and blocked eight shots against the Springfield Armor last week.
Varnado needs to work harder to defend the post, fight for position and bump the receiver out of his comfort zone. Despite this, he is a solid offensive rebounder and plays the game with energy and enthusiasm. With refinement of his offensive skills, Varnado could eventually get some NBA minutes down the road.
The last player that the Celtics signed from the Sioux Falls Skyforce was Greg Stiemsma and he didn't work out too badly. Maybe lightning can strike twice and the Celtics will once again find a gem in the rough. Vornado will wear #41 for the Celtics. Once again, the Celtics had very good luck with the last #41, who was none other than James "Nails" Posey. Not so much with the first Celtic to wear #41. Here is the history of #41 for the Celtics.
Curtis Rowe (1977-1979)
Tony Massenburg (1992)
Marcus Webb (1993)
Stacey King (1997)
Bruno Sundov (2003)
Michael Olowokandi (2006-2007)
James Posey (2008)
A long and athletic shot blocker with an improving inside game … He has become the NCAA career leader in blocks, and it is thanks to his incredible wingspan, leaping ability and tremendous timing … He is very disciplined and doesn't bite easily on shotfakes ... He has become a rebounding force as well, showing good activity and willingness to go after the ball ... His length and hops allow him to grab balls well out of his rebounding area ... On the offensive end his game has continued to grow and he has shown steady improvements ... Inside, he is able to get around defenders with his quickness, either by spinning off on the block or facing up and attacking ... His scoring touch has also become more refined, as he has become very good with a mini right hook ... He gets a lot of his points based off hustle and energy (he runs the floor hard, attacks the O glass and moves well without the ball) ...