STARKVILLE, Miss. - Thursday night in front of a nationally-televised ESPN audience, Jarvis Varnado became the 23rd Mississippi State player in school history drafted by an NBA team when the Miami Heat selected the 6-foot-9 forward from Brownsville, Tenn., in the second round with the 41st overall pick.
He's the first MSU player drafted since 2005 when Seattle took Lawrence Roberts with the 55th pick. Varnado is also the 5th Bulldog player drafted with Rick Stansbury at the helm.
"It's a dream come true," said Varnado, who was in Jackson, Tenn., watching the draft with friends and family. "This is what you work hard for. Now, I've just got to go prove myself. I was a little nervous and stressed, but going to Miami is a great opportunity. They've had a lot of success and have some great players. Hopefully, I can go there and help them win a championship."
This past year as a senior, Varnado became the 31st player in Mississippi State history to score 1,000 points en route to leading the Bulldogs to the Western Division crown and the finals of the SEC Tournament in Nashville for the second-straight year.
He led MSU in scoring (13.8), was tops in the Southeastern Conference with 10.3 rebounds an outing and posted 18 double-doubles while garnering All-SEC honors. He was also tabbed the league's defensive player of the year for the third-straight season, becoming the first player in SEC history to achieve that feat, and won the same honor numerous times on the national level.
For his highly decorated career, Varnado finished 13th all-time with 1,403 points, while his 1,096 rebounds are second only to the 1,277 Bailey Howell grabbed from 1957-59. He also started a school-record 119 games.
Yet, he'll be remembered most for his shot blocking ability.
Against rival Alabama on Feb. 24 at Humphrey Coliseum, he became the NCAA's career leader, breaking the mark of 535 set by former Louisiana-Monroe standout Wojciech Myrda. He finished with 564 after swatting 170 this past season, which tied the SEC single-season record he set as a junior.
And in doing so, he became the first player in the history of college basketball to score 1,000 points, total 1,000 rebounds and block 500 shots.
"Congrats to Jarvis. Obviously, we're very proud of him," Stansbury said. "He's worked very hard to get to this level. It's quite an accomplishment for a young man to get to this point from where he came from, where he was basically unknown coming out of high school. To be able to play in the NBA is very special. He got selected by a great organization that's used to winning. Not only is Miami getting a great player, they're getting a great person too. He'll fit in well down there, and he'll be a great asset in the community. It will be a great city for Jarvis to live in."
Bulldogs In The Draft
Herb Hargett, G, 1951 Fort Wayne Pistons, 4th round
Coyte Vance, G, 1952 Milwaukee Hawks, 9th
Jim Ashmore, G, 1957 Boston Celtics, 4th (32nd overall pick)
Bailey Howell, C, 1959 Detroit Pistons, 1st (2nd)
Jerry Graves, F, 1961 Chicago Packers, 2nd (19th)
Leland Mitchell, F, 1963 St. Louis Hawks, 2nd (15th)
W.D. "Red" Stroud, G, 1963 Boston Celtics, 5th (45th)
Dave Williams, F/C, 1968 Cincinnati Royals, 8th (97th)
Wiley Peck, F, 1979 San Antonio Spurs, 1st (19th)
Ray White, G, 1979 Atlanta Hawks, 4th (79th)
Rickey Brown, F/C, 1980 Golden St. Warriors, 1st (13th)
Gary Hooker, F, 1980 Seattle SuperSonics, 4th (89th)
Jeff Malone, G, 1983 Washington Bullets, 1st (10th)
Kalpatrick Wells, C, 1983 Philadelphia 76ers, 4th (74th)
Terry Lewis, G/F, 1983 Los Angeles Lakers, 4th (92nd)
Chauncey Robinson, F, 1986 Detroit Pistons, 4th (86th)
Erick Dampier, C, 1996 Indiana Pacers, 1st (10th)
Dontae' Jones, F, 1996 New York Knicks, 1st (21st)
Tyrone Washington, C, 1999 Houston Rockets, 2nd (44th)
Mario Austin, F, 2003 Chicago Bulls, 2nd (36th)
Derrick Zimmerman, G, 2003 Golden State Warriors, 2nd (40th)
Lawrence Roberts, F, 2005 Seattle Super Sonics, 2nd (55th)
Jarvis Varnado, F, 2010 Miami Heat, 2nd (41st)