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Jaysean Paige's Bench Production A Big Reason For West Virginia's Early Success

Through six games, there's a case to be made that Jaysean Paige has been the second most valuable player for the Mountaineers this season.

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Jaysean Paige is one of two seniors on the 2015-16 WVU men's basketball team. The Jamestown, NY native is in his second season with the Mountaineers after transferring from Moberly Area Community College in Moberly, Missouri.

Paige started ten games in his first season in Morgantown, but has spent all of the 2015-16 coming off the bench. That hasn't stopped him from making a huge impact on the team this season.

In fact, other than Devin Williams (who's playing at an All-American level), Jaysean Paige has probably been the most valuable player for West Virginia through six games.

In the early stages of West Virginia's Vegas Invitational championship win, both the Mountaineers and Aztecs were struggling to put points on the board. Five minutes into the game, San Diego State held a 6-4 lead and Paige was inserted into the lineup. Back-to-back threes and a transition layup followed to turn the 6-4 deficit into a 12-6 lead and the Aztecs would never get any closer. This just one night after Huggins announced that Paige had sprained his ankle against Richmond.

Though he's only played 20+ minutes once, Paige has scored in double figures in three of West Virginia's six games -- and he's shooting the lights out. Check out all of the categories Paige leads the team in, per sports-reference:

Category Total Team Rank
2P % 77.8% 1st
3P % 45.0% 1st
TS% 72.1% 1st
eFG% 72.4% 1st
Points Per 40 Minutes 27.7 1st

Paige's eFG% (effective field goal percentage, which takes into account the fact that a three point basket is more valuable than a two) is 16 percentage points higher than any other wing on the roster and is among the best nationally for those with enough minutes and shots to qualify.

Paige will probably never be great at creating for others (Huggins actually laughed at a reporter's mention of him playing some point guard before the season), but he's also been great this season at taking care of the basketball. Turnovers per 40 minutes is another stat he's leading:

Player TO per 40
Jaysean Paige 1.8
Daxter Miles 2.0
Tarik Phillip 2.2
Jonathan Holton 2.4
Jevon Carter 2.7
Esa Ahmad 2.9
Teyvon Myers 3.5
Devin Williams 3.7
Nathan Adrian 4.0
Elijah Macon 4.5

An ill-advised three early in the shot clock got Paige pulled in the second half against Richmond. Late in the game against SDSU, he didn't settle and found a lane to the basket:

Paige has made 14 of his 18 attempts this season inside the three point line. That 60.5% is a full 20% better than last season. Every relevant statistic is better for Paige in 2015-16 than in 2014-15.

Granted, all of this is with a small sample size, and one bad shooting night could change the numbers dramatically. But to this point Paige has made the most of his final year in Morgantown and is providing serious value to a team that looks so far like one of the best in the country.