The beginning of a school year can be tough for students and players entering a new school and new environment.  The basketball prep scene can be challenging in that sense when talented players from all over join together and have to develop chemistry and trust with a whole new group of teammates.  However, great things can happen for young men when they come together and just play the game they love.  Basketball players play basketball and that’s exactly what Notre Dame Prep (MA) point guard Jarvis Garrett is… a basketball player.  The speedy guard known in most circles as “Pooh” (a childhood nickname) spoke openly with us to give the latest on his transition to the prep game and his recruitment…

Leaving the Milwaukee area this year for opportunities to advance his academics and further develop his game, Garrett says “we started off a little shaky with each other, but then after the break we all came back together and started going on a winning streak… our trust came together and right now our season is going good and we made the 8-team tournament.” Being an electrifying and all-around steady point guard and leader on the floor, as well as an extremely hard worker, Garrett’s game has transitioned well with the move out to Notre Dame Prep. “I started off kind of shy with everybody, but I started to get comfortable with everybody pretty quick and lately I have been improving my game a lot but working out every day, every morning around 6:00 getting shots up before school and then getting more up after practice…” The work has paid off, as the 5-11, 170-pound point guard is averaging around 16 ppg and distributing a solid 6 apg with 2.5 steals.

Wanting another year to develop and mature, Garrett has decided to re-classify to the Class of 2014.  A number of colleges have expressed interest in him as a 2014 point guard with offers possibly coming this summer.  Connecticut (UConn), Pittsburgh, Marquette, N.C. State, Kansas State, Southern California (USC) and Georgia State are a handful of the schools that have all been in contact with the veteran guard.  Garrett talked a little about each one and his familiarity or interest in their programs…

UConn:  “I really like UConn and talking to the coach, he seems to want me there for 2014. It’s a guard school. I like how they get up and down and I like how Coach Ollie lets his guards go… they play fast and up-tempo and that’s what I like most.”

Pittsburgh:  “I got to watch them once, and it seems like they play with a mixed style for guards and big men.  I could see myself playing there ‘cause they seem like they want to play fast paced but they slow it down sometimes too.”

Marquette:  “I like Marquette… It’s the hometown, I always got to watch them play and they really have my style of going up and down at a fast pace, and they play defense!  The coaches stay on you and I like that a lot too… I like when they playing at a fast pace and still having a lot of defensive pressure.”

Kansas State:  “I only got to see them play once as well on TV… It seems that’s really a guard school as well… They play at a fast and hard, but let the ‘bigs’ play their game too.”

USC:  “Ever since OJ Mayo, they’re always playing at a fast pace, let their guards go with it, and they have good academics as well… and I love the hot weather.”

Georgia State:  “When I talked to one of the assistant coaches, it seems like they want to play at a fast as well. It seems like everything feels good and if I went there it’d feel like home.  They’re in a great area, in the downtown of Atlanta which I like.”

Liking the way the coaches handle their guards at each of the school, and being a player who likes to get up the court in transition, utilizing quickness and athleticism to put his teammates and himself in places to score, the schools looking at him now all feel like good fits for Garrett but the talented floor general is wide open right now regarding his recruitment.  He would like to try and take some visits this summer to get a better feel for the campuses and what each offers its students, as far as academics and majors (he would like to study Physical Therapy in college).

Garrett is a true point guard with a vast skill-set, also capable of playing bigger than his stature sometimes suggests.  The aforementioned colleges have taken notice of his ability to take care of the basketball, while also being able to score the ball in a variety of way, mixing it up going to the rack, pulling up from 15-feet or dropping the long-ball.  Garrett also talked about his IQ being a major asset along with his leadership qualities as a point guard…

“Reading the defenders and just understanding the overall game is big for me… My leadership at the new school started off a little rough… everyone’s from different areas and probably been ‘the man’ at their schools, but we’re starting to connect with each other and since I’m the floor general, they’re starting to listen to me and we haven’t had problems at all… I feel like they look up to me now as well.”

After facing teams, “Pooh” also hopes that the opposing players or guards leave the court saying it was tough and that he plays really hard, as that’s a mark of a good player.

By re-classifying, Garrett will return to Milwaukee for the summer to command the point guard spot for the always strong TP-Elite program.  “My goal is to keep my jumper consistent and make sure I’m efficient, playing at a fast pace.” Also, in preparation for the college game where everyone is bigger, faster, stronger, Garrett understands he needs to get his body ready for that as well. “I’m going to get more physical and just try to make the people around me better too… I’m going to lead as a role model for the younger guys and whoever I play with, whatever I do, I just want to leave a mark they’ll remember and whenever I step on the court between those lines, give it my all, give it 110%” the 6-0 point guard included.

With natural leadership qualities, a strong and always-developing game, high basketball intelligence and great personality, schools are sure to keep taking notice of what Garrett is accomplishing on and off the court.  There’s no doubt he’ll leave that mark he talked about somewhere soon…