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Mississippi State's Varnado to enter NBA draft

STARKVILLE, Miss. | Mississippi State forward Jarvis Varnado announced Monday that he has declared for the NBA draft but won't hire an agent.

The 6-foot-9, 210-pound junior from Brownsville, Tenn., said in a school news release that he wanted to get a feel for his draft status. By not signing with an agent, he could return to Mississippi State. The draft is June 25.

Players have until June 15 to remove their name from the draft.

"I just want to test the water to see where I stand," Varnado said in the release.

This past season, Varnado averaged a team-high 12.9 points and 8.8 rebounds, finished as the nation's leading shot blocker with 170 and led the Bulldogs on an unlikely run to the NCAA tournament and a Southeastern Conference tournament title.

He won the Howell Trophy given to the state's top male basketball player and had to file his paperwork with the NBA by midnight Sunday.

"We are in full support of Jarvis and his father's decision to enter the NBA draft and test the waters," said Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury. "It will be a great opportunity for Jarvis to experience some workouts and gain knowledge of things he needs to work on."

A two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year, if Varnado returned for his senior season he would need just 19 blocks to surpass former LSU center Shaquille O'Neal's SEC career mark of 412. The NCAA record is 535 set in 2002 by Louisiana-Monroe's Wojciech Mydra.