The Green Bay Phoenix did not have an open scholarship for very long.
Less than two weeks after TJ Parham received his release from Green Bay to leave the program and transfer, the Phoenix received a commitment from Illinois State transfer Josh Jefferson.
The 6’2” guard from New Albany, Indiana has one season of eligibility remaining meaning he will play as a senior in the 2020/2021 season after sitting out the upcoming 2019/2020 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
“New home,” Jefferson tweeted Friday afternoon with a picture of him in a Phoenix jersey at the Kress Events Center.
He played in 21 games, including making 4 starts, this past season as a junior at Illinois State and was the team’s fourth leading scorer at 8.7 points per game. He shot 40.2% (41/102) from behind the arc which would’ve ranked as the 8th best in the Missouri Valley Conference had he played in enough games to qualify. However, he missed 12 games due to a broken collarbone that occurred during a practice in January.
Jefferson started off the season on scoring spree reaching double figures in 9 of the Redbirds first 11 games including a career high 19 points in a 73-68 victory over Akron on November 20.
His shooting slumped a bit following an 81-74 loss at Mississippi however and he did not reach double figures in any of the next seven games before the collarbone injury.
He returned in time for the MVC Tournament and contributed 5 points in 12 minutes in a 65-60 quarterfinal victory over Evansville before chipping in 8 points in 26 minutes against Drake in 78-62 loss in the semifinals.
Before choosing Green Bay, Jefferson had interest from Washington State, Nevada, Colorado State, and Albany according to Matt Denison of Hoosier Hills Hoops.
“All the Green Bay staff were really interested, seemed like they really wanted me there,” Jefferson told Scott Venci of the Green Bay Press Gazette. “Then when I took my visit, it just felt like the right place. It just felt like I had been there for a while. I clicked with the team and the coaches.”
Prior to joining Illinois State as a junior college transfer, Jefferson spent two seasons at Lake Land College where he averaged 22.8 points per game as a sophomore and shot 44.8% (77/172) from behind the arc. A top 100 JUCO prospect, he ranked #92 on JucoRecruiting.com’s Top 100 for the class of 2018, a few spots behind current Green Bay player JayQuan McCloud.
The addition of Jefferson means the Phoenix roster for 2019/2020 is set barring an unexpected transfer or the addition of a walk-on.
While he must sit out the upcoming season, he has shown that he can be an outside shooting weapon once he becomes eligible in 2020. This past season he made at least 3 three pointers in 9 of his team’s first 11 games and was shooting 48.6% from behind the arc during that stretch. He struggled a bit over the next 7 games though making just 4 of 23 (17.4%) of his outside shots before the injury. He seemed to be on his way to finding it again after the long layoff going 2 for 4 from downtown in the MVC Tournament.
If he can regain his early season shooting form it will go a long way towards helping to replace JayQuan McCloud, Kam Hankerson, and Cody Schwartz’s production from behind the arc.
Jefferson is a combo guard that primarily plays off the ball but has shown he can handle the ball as well. While nearly 70% of his shot attempts came from behind the arc he can get to the rim and finish as well with 17.6% of his attempts being either layups or dunks according to Hoop-Math.com and the remaining 12% of his field goal attempts being two point jump shots.
The Green Bay coaching staff now turns their attention to a 2020 recruiting class in which they will have five scholarships to fill. It is likely they will choose to fill these scholarships with a blend of high school prospects and junior college transfers to help balance out the classes a bit since the Phoenix only have one sophomore on scholarship (Will Chevalier) on the current roster. One or two 2019 JUCOs would join Chevalier as juniors for the 2020/2021 season.
Green Bay will also need to fill five scholarships for the 2021 recruiting class.
Categories: Roster News
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