MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The 2010-11 Post-Journal Player of the Year will be taking his basketball talents to West Virginia University and the Big 12 Conference.
Mountaineers' basketball coach Bob Huggins announced Tuesday that former Jamestown High School star Jaysean Paige has signed a grant-in-aid for the 2014-15 academic year.
Paige, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound guard most recently attended Moberly Area Community College in Moberly, Mo. He will have two years of eligibility remaining at WVU.
Jaysean Paige led the Jamestown Red Raiders to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class AA championship game in 2011.
P-J file photo by Scott Kindberg
"Jaysean is a big key for us to continue to increase our athleticism in the backcourt," Huggins said in a press release posted on the WVU website. "He is capable of playing the one and the two guard positions. He gives us another player to put pressure on the rim and another perimeter option with his 44 percent shooting from 3-point range at Moberly. Jaysean gives us another guy who is very adept to guarding the ball, which should ultimately help us to apply pressure and create offense from our defense."
This past season at Moberly, he averaged 21.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. In the 2014 final National Junior College Athletic Association statistics, Paige ranked 13th in scoring on the way to being named to the NJCAA Region 16 First Team. Paige shot 50.2 percent from the field, 44.6 from 3-point range and 73.8 percent from the free throw line. He reached double figures in every game and had 30 or more points on five occasions. Paige had a season-best 34 points against ABCD Prep.
As a freshman, Paige attended the College of Southern Idaho, where he averaged 13.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.9 assists per game. He played in 30 games and shot 45.1 percent (158-of-350) from the field, 36.8 percent (43-of-117) from 3-point range and 66.2 percent (49-of-74) from the free throw line. Paige reached double figures 23 times, including 20 or more points five times. He had a season-best 25 points against Salt Lake CC.
Paige graduated high school from Perry County Central High in Hazard, Ky., where he averaged 21 points and 6.7 rebounds. Prior to his senior year, Paige earned third-team all-state honors in 2011 and was the Western New York Player of the Year in leading the Red Raiders to a state runner-up finish. That season, Paige averaged 25.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.4 steals per game. He shot 57.4 percent from the field, including 42.2 percent from beyond the arc.
''Although Jaysean didn't complete his senior season here at JHS, I still hold a soft place in my heart for him and we've remained close the last few years. He sent me a text message Sunday night that he had made that decision,'' JHS boys varsity coach Ben Drake said Tuesday night. ''I still feel like Jamestown is his home, and where he learned to play the game.''
Drake couldn't single out one specific game or play as his favorite during Paige's time with the Red Raiders, but he did allow the thing he'll remember most was the latter's ''maturation as a player from his sophomore to his junior year.''
''He was so coachable and he soaked up anything you had to tell him,'' Drake added, ''and he never lost a sprint (in practice), and he played with Joey Campion, so that's quite an accomplishment.''
The Mountaineers finished the 2013-14 season 17-16 overall and 9-9 in the Big 12. Their conference opponents are Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas and Texas Tech.
Paige wasn't immediately available for comment Tuesday night.
Scott Kindberg contributed to this report.