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Virginia Cavaliers Basketball Player Profile: Paul Jesperson

Due to transfers, Paul Jesperson was forced into action halfway through an expected redshirt freshman season. In limited action, he struggled and never looked comfortable. Word from the Hoos trip to Europe was that Jesperson looked much more comfortable on both ends of the floor. His length and ability to stretch the floor should be valuable for the Hoos this season.

Jesperson struggled last year, but looks more comfortable this year.
Jesperson struggled last year, but looks more comfortable this year.

Probably the biggest unknown among returning players is sophomore swingman Paul Jesperson. Jesperson originally intended to redshirt last year, but was forced into action after a couple of transfers. Jesperson appeared in 21 games, but never looked comfortable. He always seemed to be a step slow. In those 21 games, he averaged just 1.5 ppg, 0.8 rpg and shot just 28% from the field.

Jesperson, however, can play. He's a 6'6" 200 pound perimeter player with a quick release and tons of range. But he's also athletic enough to play around the rim. In this highlight reel, Jesperson is seen hitting trey after trey, often with a hand in his face. But watch about the 25 second mark, to see him going up for a two handed jam. In that same reel, we see Jesperson hitting shots out of a triple threat position, coming off screens, and off the dribble. That versatility should make him a valuable option in the offense for the next 3 years.

Trivia Question! Who currently owns the UVA women's record for career points? Question Code: POINTS. Submit your answers here!

Jesperson, at least on paper, has a lot in common with teammate Joe Harris. They are about the same size, and both are known mostly as jump-shooters. Both, however, are more athletic that they are given credit for. Joe is a bit thicker and stronger making him more of a SF, whereas Jesperson is lankier making him more of a SG.

Last year was an unfortunate situation where Jesperson was put in a bad situation. A guy who wasn't prepared to play, wasn't planning on playing, and wasn't ready to play, was forced to play. It isn't surprising, then, that he struggled. This year, Paul is expecting to get playing time right away. In fact, due to the injuries to Jontel Evans and Malcolm Brogdon as well as the suspension of Teven Jones, there is a good chance Paul will be starting game one against George Mason.