MORGANTOWN — Bob Huggins already had three newcomers ready to step in and fill his depleted backcourt. Now he has a fourth.
Huggins signed junior college guard Jaysean Paige Tuesday. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound guard from Moberly Area Community College in Moberly, Mo., has two years of eligibility remaining.
Paige’s signing came a day before the NCAA’s spring signing period closes.
Paige had committed to Southern Miss in January and signed a letter of intent, but was released from it by the school after coach Donnie Tyndall left for Tennessee. Once released, he drew interest from Missouri, Cleveland State and Eastern Kentucky in addition to West Virginia.
“Jaysean is a big key for us to continue to increase our athleticism in the backcourt,” Huggins said in a release issued by the school. “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 is the second junior college guard to sign with the Mountaineers this spring, following Tarik Phillip. West Virginia also signed two high school guards during the fall signing period, Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles.
Huggins needs a backcourt infusion now more than ever because of the loss of Eron Harris and Terry Henderson. The teams’ second- and third-leading scorers last season, Harris and Henderson have decided to transfer. Huggins has also said that he expects Remi Dibo, an outside-shooting small forward, could pass up his senior season and return to France.
West Virginia will be the fifth school in five years for Paige. He is originally from Jamestown, N.Y., where he averaged 27 points per game as a high school junior before transferring to Hazard County, Ky., for his senior season. He averaged 21 points per game there.
As a freshman, he played at the College of Southern Idaho and averaged 13.7 points per game. He transferred to Moberly and averaged 21.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He was 13th in the nation in scoring among junior college players, shooting 50.2 percent from the field, 44.6 from 3-point range and 73.8 percent from the free throw line.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.