MIAMI – When his teammates are shooting on the American Airlines Arena court before games, Jarvis Varnado usually resides two floors above them, working out privately inside the Miami Heat practice gym. Ever since the Heat signed him out of the D-League, Varnado knew minutes were going to be scarce, but his opportunity to grow within the organization would come in the summer and next season.
Now, Varnado will play on Miami’s summer league team in July and be in the fall training camp, critical moments for him to prove his standing to Heat management. Varnado, 25, is confident the Heat will keep him through his non-guaranteed contract next season, but he also understands the burden of continuing to make strides.
“Most definitely, I look forward to coming back,” Varnado told RealGM. “Miami is a great city and the fans are great and my teammates are great. Right now, I just got to show what I can do in summer league and hope for it.”
Varnado’s agent Mitch Frankel, for his part, has noticed an elevated knowledge about work ethic, stemming from the 6-foot-9 forward’s experience in camp with the Heat last year.
“Jarvis has been constant in the gym and understands how hard he has to work,” Frankel told RealGM. “He’s at the level you need to compete in the league, and that’s why I believe he’ll be in the NBA next season with the Heat.”
Before signing with the Heat in January, Varnado had been averaging 14.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.4 blocks in the D-League. With an established rotation, he was cognizant this would be a development season to learn and practice behind big men like Chris Bosh and Udonis Haslem – all while chasing a championship.
“They told me straight up they want to develop me and I accepted that role,” Varnado said. “They sent me down to the D-League to get some games in, some experience, and now I’ll showcase myself [this summer]. It’s a great experience and I’m learning a lot from how the playoffs go: How hard fought it is, guys just leaving it all out on the court. Just to be a part of this, I’m blessed.”