The Life of a Redshirt Freshman
Jernard Jarreau (US PRESSWIRE)
Jernard Jarreau (US PRESSWIRE)
Dawgman.com
Posted Mar 1, 2012
Eric Dore


SEATTLE - There has been no “ease-in” period for redshirting freshmen Andrew Andrews and Jernard Jarreau. One is struggling to put on weight while banging with the bigs down low; the other is saddled with going against one of the nation’s top backcourts everyday in practice on top of studying to become an engineer.

Throw in the fact that both players have barely been on campus for more than half of a year and that is literally putting a lot of their plates - especially for Jarreau.

Jarreau finds himself over 2,700 miles away from his hometown of New Orleans, La. A former verbal commit to 2011 Final Four team Virginia Commonwealth University, Jarreau flipped his commitment to be a Husky. The distance has been tough especially with the week of Mardi Gras having just passed," he admitted to Dawgman.com recently.

“Mardi Gras is a nice time for everyone to go out and enjoy the parades, chill with their family members and just eat food,” said Jarreau. "My family cooked and watched the parades with the kids so that’s what I’m missing.”

If you ask him what food he misses, Jarreau is quick to point out that he longs for his mother’s delicious southern cooking, specifically Jumbalaya, pork chops and crawfish.

Ever since he arrived in Seattle Jarreau has been struggling to put muscle on his lean, Justin Holiday-like frame. Washington Head Coach Lorenzo Romar noted that Jarreau has put on weight at a “snail’s pace,” however Jarreau insisted that he is eating as much as his body will allow him to.

“I’m eating a lot,” he said. “I’m forcing myself to eat at night before I go to bed and after practice we all go eat. I just keep trying to eat, lift weights everyday, and it’s going to get better in the spring.”

The redshirt season has seen Jarreau gain 15 pounds, and his on court basketball performance has also grown.

“I don’t regret it at all,” Jarreau said of the redshirt decision. “The season went by fast and I learned a lot just sitting back observing, watching the games, and just seeing what I could do to get better. It’s been pretty fun, it was a good choice for me.”

Although Jarreau battles down low with Washington’s big men in practice, he will bring more than that to the table in the future as an all-around forward. Just a few years ago he lived in guard's body. Romar recalled how much of a transformation Jarreau has had to go through.

“He was a 6-foot-3 freshman (in high school) and he grew to be 6-foot-10 in three years," said Romar. “If you’re to watch him you can see he’s still very coordinated and can dribble with both his right or left hand and brings it in transition. I think defensively he’ll block a lot of shots and get a lot of deflections.”
Andrews, a graduate of Benson Polytechnic High School in Portland, Ore., joined the Huskies this season in the wake of Isaiah Thomas’s early jump to the NBA. Had Thomas stayed, Andrews would have enrolled at a prep school before joining Washington this coming summer. Instead, he takes his lumps in practice as any other freshman would against players like Abdul Gaddy and Tony Wroten. This has allowed Andrews to mature and learn instead of being thrown into the fire right away. He is already reading the game through the eyes of a coach.

“The first couple games I was a spectator, just watching,” said Andrews to Dawgman.com recently. "Then I saw him (redshirt senior, Scott Suggs) step up and talk to the players and tell them what he sees and I thought I could do the same thing, because I see a lot of stuff that they don’t see. It’s easier to see when you’re watching than when you’re playing, so I just try to let them know what I see.”

As much as he enjoys rooting for and coaching his teammates, Andrews is as competitive as they come and is chomping at the bit for a chance to take to the floor. He even admits to times when he wishes he was playing

“We (Andrews and Romar) both knew I could play right away, but he and I already had an establishment of what was supposed to happen and take place,” said Andrews. “I’m a faithful guy and I stick to my word so I decided to stick it through. We both talked about how much it would benefit me in the long run to redshirt so I still believe it will.”

On top of being the next great guard in the lineage of backcourt talent at Washington, Andrews has fully embraced what it means to be a student-athlete.

“I’m majoring in electrical engineering and everything has been hard,” said Andrews. “I have a full schedule every week, but the coaches respect what I’m doing and they make it as easy as possible to get through it.”

Andrews insisted however that nobody is feeling sorry for him, and like any great basketball player refuses to be outworked – on the court or in the classroom.

“Getting challenged both ways on the court and then with electrical engineering being a competitive major you don’t have time to feel like, ‘Oh I’m not going to do my homework tonight’, because if you’re not someone else is,” said Andrews.

Wroten is constantly pushing Andrews. “He’s one of the best players on this team,” Wroten said of Andrews. “He’s redshirting, but I tell him when I guard him to go hard every time and make me better. He’s soaking this all up and he’s going to be a great player next year.”

What should bring delight to every Husky fan is that Wroten sees a lot of Andrews in his mentor - Will Conroy - a former standout Washington point guard.

“He’s a leader on the court, a point guard that can shoot, distribute it, and does it all. They’re very similar,” said Wroten when asked about Andrews and Conroy.
In the off-season, both Jarreau and Andrews plan to improve their all-around game. “Everyone has skills that they can get better at so I just want to be an overall better guard,” said Andrews.

“A lot of people probably haven’t seen me play, but I’ll come out better,” promised Jarreau. “I’ll be more efficient and better as a player.”

While Austin Seferian-Jenkins has tried to put on his recruiting hat, Andrews joked that he has not been swayed to try out for spring football in April. “(Seferian-Jenkins) actually told me to try out, but I’m not doing that, not at all," Andrews said. He played quarterback for Benson Tech as a senior.

"When he told me about it I was actually thinking about playing something, but I’m not playing running back.”



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