Forward Jarvis Omersa is the final third of the local trio that comprised the three freshman of Coach Pitino’s 2018 recruiting class. Hailing from Orono, Minnesota, he attended Orono High School and ranked 196th in the nation for his class according to 247. Jarvis stands at Gabe stands at 6’ 6” and weighs 235 pounds while sporting the #21.
What Happened Last Season?
Returns from Omersa definitely didn’t meet original fan expectations last season as the local forward only played in 26 games with no starts to his credit. Playing only 14.3% of available minutes, Jarvis averaged 0.9 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 0.2 blocks per game. This included a rather ugly 29.4% shooting percentage from the field and a 20.0% free-throw shooting percentage. While these percentages are based on extremely small sample sizes, it was fairly evident that Omersa was miles behind his fellow freshman Gabe Kalscheur and Daniel Oturu as far as being Big Ten ready.
While being incredibly athletic, Jarvis’s game lacked polish and the team’s offense suffered significantly when he was in the game. The 63.9 offensive rating per KenPom was the lowest on the team by over 20 points. Last year, the Gophers were fortunate enough to have others to help down low when Jordan Murphy was in foul trouble, such as Matz Stockman and Eric Curry (at least when he wasn’t injured). Omersa certainly didn’t develop at the pace that fans had hoped.
Towards the end of the season, however, there were some bright spots of hustle and aggression on the boards. While logging 14 minutes in the blow out loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinal, Jarvis garnered 3 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assist, and 1 steal in an otherwise difficult situation where the team was obviously outplayed throughout the proceedings.
What Can We Expect This Season?
Whether it is desirable or not, Omersa is going to get more run this season than last season. The lack of depth in the front court will force Coach Pitino’s hand and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Jarvis average around 15 minutes a game this season, even if his offensive repertoire is extremely limited. It’s highly unlikely that the local forward from Orono will ever be much of an offensive threat outside of the paint but his ability to gather rebounds could play a key role in being a stable presence of the bench for the times when Oturu either needs rest or is in foul trouble.
Despite being undersized from a height standpoint at 6’ 6”, Omersa’s outstanding athletic ability will allow him to get rebounds that others on the roster can only dream of grabbing. Furthermore, it is likely that he will be the target of more than few alley-oops, especially in the games against inferior competition when leads are safe and the play gets a little more “loose.”
I’m really just hoping that Jarvis can be an aggressive energy player off of the bench. I don’t expect much offensive polish from him but he can at least provide some offense from grabbing second-chance possessions for other teammates by crashing the boards and making defensive stops via blocks or gobbling up defensive rebounds. There is still a key role for Omersa to have on this team, especially one that lacks true rebounding players outside of fellow sophomore Oturu.
I will say that I thoroughly enjoy Omersa’s bench presence and enthusiasm. It seems that any successful college basketball team has that one player that brings the teams’ energy up from the bench and Jarvis has definitely filled that role with great aplomb during the 2018-2019 season. Hopefully, despite an increase in playing time, he can continue to bring that energy and enthusiasm to the rest of his team this year as well.