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Friday, February 21, 2020

Men's Basketball

Jarreau finding a groove after early season adversity


Junior guard DeJon Jarreau, left, and head coach Kelvin Sampson, right. Jarreau is averaging 9.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in the 2019-20 season | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

Junior guard DeJon Jarreau, left, and head coach Kelvin Sampson. Jarreau is averaging 9.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game in the 2019-20 season | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

Junior guard DeJon Jarreau has battled through a lot of adversity for the Cougars in the 2019-20 season, which started with a broken hand injury at the beginning of October, but the 6-5 New Orleans-native has slowly fought to get back into a rhythm and help the team.

“My shot,” Jarreau said on what he focused on improving in the offseason during Kelvin Sampson’s radio show. “But I broke my hand and that kind of threw all that out the window.”

On Jan. 15,  Jarreau was moved back into the starting lineup against SMU and although head coach Kelvin Sampson does not put much value to who is a starter and who comes off the bench, the lineup change somewhat represented the hard work he had to go through to overcome his obstacles.

“(Jarreau) went 35 straight days without touching the ball,” Sampson said. “He’s just now getting comfortable. He’s just gotten better, better and better.”

Although the 6-foot-5-inch guard did not miss any regular-season games due to the hand injury, the effects of it were evident.

Jarreau started in the first two games of the campaign against Alabama State and BYU, but he shot a combined 8/22 from the field and turned the ball over four times.

Following the buzzer-beater loss to BYU, Jarreau began to come off the bench as Sampson and the coaching staff tried to give him a familiar role to ease him back in.

Since conference play began, Jarreau is averaging 12 points, 3.6 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game. The Cougars are 2-0 in the two games since he has moved back into the starting lineup.

For the junior guard, the more games that go by, the more of a groove he can get into.

“I feel comfortable, feel good, back in the flow,” Jarreau said on Monday afternoon. “Coming off the hand thing, not thinking about it as much and just playing my game, trying to help us win.”

When Jarreau was moved off the starting lineup back in November, Sampson cited needing more out of the point guard position as a factor for the decision. With Jarreau now back in the starting lineup, he knows the importance of the production from the position.

“Coach Sampson always talking to me about point guard play, telling me in order to win you got to have point guard play,” Jarreau said. “Regardless of how the team is playing, I just try to keep my focus on that, trying to limit my turnovers.”

The third-year guard heavily values the position and getting his teammates involved.

“I take pride in being a point guard,” Jarreau said. “Most importantly I love seeing my teammates score, that’s something that brings joy to me.”

As for Sampson, he has high praise for the Louisiana guard.

“I’m really proud of DeJon, proud of him in the classroom too,” Sampson said. “He passed 15 credits last semester. He’s on track to graduate. 

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