It can’t be disputed that Jaysean Paige is one of the best players in the Big 12 Conference.
But is he one of the Top 5 players? Yes he is.
Will others agree, maybe not.
Paige is an unconventional top player. Skill and scoring-wise, Paige should be on the Big 12 First Team. However, Paige may be hampered by the voters because he isn’t a starter for the West Virginia basketball team.
For the season, Paige is averaging 14.3 points per game and in Big 12 pay, where the Mountaineers have an 11-5 record, Piage is scoring at a 16.5 points per game clip. That mark is good enough for fourth in the conference, behind Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield, Iowa State’s Georges Niang and Kansas’ Perry Ellis. Those three will no doubt be honored as Big 12 First Teamers.
Those three were also first teamers a year ago. So was Baylor’s Rico Gathers and West Virginia graduate Juwan Staten, who was the only senior on the list.
So, with Hield, Niang and Ellis sure locks to make the first team, who will get the other two spots?
Paige should get it, but with a sixth man of the year award also available, he is more likely to garner that honor. Other Big 12 candidates include Baylor’s Taurean Prince and Isaiah Taylor of Texas.
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Prince is averaging 15.3 points per game and Taylor is averaging 15.4 points per game. They are both electrifying players who are the unquestioned leaders of their respective teams.
Prince (.463) has a higher field goal percentage than Paige (.431) and Taylor (85) has more assists than both Paige and Prince. In fact, he is third in the conference.
Paige recently earned his third Big 12 Player of the Week honor. Buddy Hield (four) is the only player to have more that that this season. Iowa State’s Monte Morris is the only other player to have at least two POTW awards.
So, Paige definitely has the Big 12’s attention. His numbers are on par with a first team candidate, but his positioning may hold him back.
If Paige wins Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year award and earns a first team spot, it would be well-warranted.