Paul Jesperson – Becoming a Complete Player


Ben Jacobson, who most always keeps his cards close, admitted on media day last fall that the recent trend of a growing number of transfer players was prompting the coaching staff to consider holding back a scholarship each season for a potential transfer talent.

Panthers fans got a taste of the fruits of that transfer market has when Cedar Rapids native Wes Washpun, transferred to UNI from power conference program Tennessee. Washpun dazzled in his first season in purple and gold, and despite some inconsistent play he was a serious contributor to the success’ the Panthers had last season.


This season, it is Virginia transfer Paul Jesperson who will be counted on by the coaching staff to be a difference-making contributor. All this in his first season wearing purple and gold.

Jesperson, a former Mr. Basketball in Wisconsin, told me he chose UNI due to their willingness and want for him to become a complete player. And to fully develop his skills. He alluded to what parts of his game he was developing all summer after a July 10 Prime Time League game.

“Probably my game off the bounce. Obviously every workout coaches had me shoot shots coming off the screens — and keep working on that.” Jesperson said. “I worked a lot on my handle, I’m able to come off ball-screens more.”

At Virginia Jesperson was a “three and d” player who started 33 of 35 games as a sophomore.

At UNI there is a chance for him to be one of the Missouri Valley’s very best wing players. And if he fulfills that, the expectations for the 2014-15 Panthers continue to grow.

“I think the expectations are very high. Not even from fans, or whatever, but for ourselves. We have very high expectations,” Jesperson remarked.

Listed at 6’6″ the talented wing player is listed as a guard on the UNI team website. Despite possessing the ability to play the 2, 3 and 4 positions.

What ultimately will become of Jesperson’s role and impact? Even Paul himself doesn’t yet know.

“We haven’t really talked about roles yet. One thing (the coaches) have tried to express to me, is to bring more leadership to the team. I’ve played for two years and have some experience to bring.”

My gut says he provides more than just leadership this season for the Panthers. Double-digit points per game and lockdown perimeter defense is what I’m expecting. Two things the doctor himself would order for UNI.

  • ‘OPR Nation,’ how well do you think Jesperson will play for the Panthers this season? Let us know in the comments below!