Celtics dip into D-League to sign Varnado


Celtics dip into D-League to sign Varnado

NEW YORK The Celtics have once again tapped into the NBA Development-League for some much-needed frontcourt depth.

A year ago it was Greg Stiemsma who turned out to be a pleasant surprise for the Celtics and parlayed his play into a multi-year deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

They're hoping for similar success with Jarvis Varnado, whose signing was announced by the Celtics on Monday.

By adding the 6-foot-9, 230-pound big man, the Celtics roster stands at the NBA-maximum of 15.

And like Stiemsma, Varnado comes to the C's from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, where he averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and a NBA D-League best 3.9 blocks per game.

Following his first game with the Skyforce, Varnado talked about how he saw the D-League helping catapult him to the NBA.

"Just show what I can do; block shots and rebound at a high level," said Varnado, who had 11 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots in his D-League debut.

And as far as specific goals, Varnado added, "I just know I will block a lot of shots."

Varnado's shot-blocking prowess has been a strength of his dating to his days at Mississipi State, where he finished his collegiate career as a three-time SEC Defensive player of the Year (the first in conference history to do so) along with being the NCAA's all-time leader in blocked shots.

The 24-year-old was drafted with the 41st pick by the Miami Heat in the 2010 draft. The Heat released their rights to him prior to this season.

Prior to his time with the Skyforce, Varnado played in Europe with Carmatic Pistoia of the Italian second division, Hapoel Jerusalem B.C. in Israel and Pallancestrio Virtus Roma of the Italian Lega Basket Serie A.

His role with the Celtics will likely be to provide added depth with Chris Wilcox out for at least three weeks with a thumb injury. In terms of actual court time, that remains unclear.

Team officials said he will wear jersey number 41.


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