Jaysean Paige led the Jamestown High School basketball team to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA championship game in Glens Falls in March.
Not quite six months later, he has left Jamestown and taken his monster dunks and smooth shooting touch to the Bluegrass State.
According to Jamestown coach and athletic director Ben Drake, the 6-foot-1 senior is enrolled at Perry Central High School in Hazard, Ky. As with all transfers, he is awaiting an eligibility ruling by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.
Paige, the reigning Post-Journal and Western New York player of the year, was a third-team all-state selection after averaging 25.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.4 steals. In two seasons as a Red Raider - he played in New York City as a freshman - Paige placed his name among the school's all-time best in numerous categories.
Now, he's taking his talents to Perry Central, which according to reports, finished 25-6 last season and advanced to the regionals at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
When reached for comment late Wednesday, Paige said, via text message: "I wanted to move back in with family and my mom got a better job down in Kentucky." While in Jamestown, Paige lived with an uncle while his mom lived in Staten Island.
Drake, who guided the Red Raiders to a 21-3 record, a Section 6 Class AA championship for the second straight year and their first-ever trip to the NYSPHSAA Final Four, said he is "reluctant" to comment too much on Paige's transfer because "I believe there's going to be an investigation."
"But I have been preaching to my players the importance of hard work and commitment and the importance of getting an education,'' Drake added. "With Jaysean, in particular, I've been preaching that he use basketball to get an education and not allow basketball to use him. I think it's disheartening to know that there are immoral coaches out there who will recruit kids under false pretenses."
Nevertheless, Drake said he's "excited'' about the 2011-12 season.
"We had a lot of guys who worked hard and got better this summer," Drake said, "and I know they are looking forward to bigger roles on this year's team. There will be a lot of new roles and some new faces, but I'm very optimistic about this season."