Jarvis Varnado didn't have much time to adapt to his new Boston surroundings when the Celtics signed him away from the Sioux Falls SkyForce of the NBA Development League on Dec. 24.
The C's embarked on a four-game road trip that day, with a pit stop in Brooklyn before a cross-country flight for three games in California. Varnado played minor minutes at the tail end of each game of the trip, and though extensive travel is nothing new for him, he was grateful to be back in Waltham for practice on Tuesday, knowing those sessions are what will best aid his adjustment process.
Varnado said Tuesday he's getting his footing in his new Boston reality, and now he's ready to learn the intricacies of the Celtics' system.
"Yeah, I'm settling in. Now just getting into the plays, learning the plays real well and it's going to take practice," Varnado said. "We haven't practiced a lot because we've been on the road trip, but now this is my second practice here with the team, so just trying to execute the plays, learn them to a T."
One benefit of the road trip for Varnado was the opportunity it gave him to get to know his new teammates, who've made a strong first impression on the 24-year old.
"Great group of guys. Real intense, real [dedicated to] their craft and how they approach games, and I'm learning a lot from all of them," Varnado said. "They've been welcoming me real well. Some of the guys, they took me under their wings, just trying to learn the plays and the nuances of how to get open and all that tricky stuff that they do. It's been real well, though."
Varnado played in 10 games for the SkyForce this season, averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds, and a D-League-best 3.9 blocks in 30.5 minutes per game. His focus on defense was a major factor in the Celtics' interest, as they sought to bolster their front line a bit when Chris Wilcox was sidelined by a thumb injury and didn't want to pry rookie Fab Melo away from the Maine Red Claws.
Varnado understands his good fortune -- and tenuous future with contracts becoming fully guaranteed later this month and his roster spot not cemented -- and one bonus of his new situation is having the chance to observe and learn from Kevin Garnett.
"He's real intense," Varnado said of Garnett. "You've got to bring your effort every night when you're playing with him, and even in practice you've got to bring your effort, and I'm learning a lot from him. He might not say nothing to me, but just watching him, how he's warming up, how he's talking in practice, that's a great guy to learn from."
Consider Varnado the quiet observer, as he continues to learn the Boston ways and waits for an opportunity to hopefully make his mark with his new team.