West Virginia adds junior college guard for scoring punch

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Seeking to add offensive punch after the transfers of Eron Harris and Terry Henderson, West Virginia dipped into the junior college ranks for a late addition to the 2014 class.

Jaysean Paige, a 6-foot-2 guard who ranked 13th nationally among juco scorers at 21.4 points per game last season, signed with the Mountaineers on Tuesday.

Moberly (Mo.) Area Community College guard Jaysean Paige was the nation’s 13th-leading juco scorer last season at 21.4 points per game.

The Moberly (Mo.) Area Community College sophomore had signed with Southern Miss before asking out of his LOI when coach Donnie Tyndall left for Tennessee. There was speculation Paige might follow Tyndall to Knoxville, but he wound up choosing WVU over Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky and UTEP.

“Jaysean is a big key for us to continue to increase our athleticism in the backcourt,” Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins said. “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.”

Paige becomes the fourth guard—and second junior college player—to join West Virginia’s 2014 class. He joins Tarik Phillip of Independence (Mo.) Community College and high school signees Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Notre Dame (Mass) Prep.

WVU will mark Paige’s fifth school in five years, the kind of movement that might have been a red flag a decade ago but has become more common as players bounce from program to program.

He averaged his 27 points during his junior year of high school in Jamestown, N.Y., and led his team to a state runner-up finish. Paige transferred to Perry County (Ky.) Central High and averaged 21 points and 6.7 rebounds. as a high school senior.

Paige spent his college freshman season at the College of Southern Idaho, where he compiled 13.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 1.9 assists per game. At Moberly last season, he improved his 3-point and free-throw percentages while topping the 30-point mark five times.

With rising senior forward Remi Dibo expected to turn pro overseas, Huggins might have another scholarship available, though the pickings for the current recruiting class are becoming slimmer by the day. It’s more likely WVU would add a one-and-done graduate transfer.

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