The sophomore played forward for the Cavaliers this past season, but only averaged 4.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game while averaging 25.7 minutes. At 6'6, he is often listed as a guard during written recaps of the game, but roster injuries often forced Bennett to play Jesperson at forward.
After starting 33 of 35 games this past season, Jesperson's minutes were going to face competition, as Bennett would have more options than throwing in a perimeter-sized player at the power forward position. Center Mike Tobey played better as the year progressed, averaging 10 points during Virginia's time in the NIT Tournament, 6'8 Darion Atkins is expected to return to health next year, and the South Carolina transfer, Anthony Gill, will be eligible after sitting out a year.
"I would really like to thank my coaches, teammates and all of my supporters for the opportunity I had at UVa," Jesperson said in a release. "They made my time here unforgettable and I'm extremely grateful for that. I wish them the best and I'm looking forward to continuing my college career at my new school."
Although Jesperson's statistical contributions don't jump out of the page, Streaking the Lawn notes that his intangible contributions to the court will be hard for the Cavaliers to replace.
What the numbers don't show is Jesperson's basketball IQ. We all know Tony Bennett's defense relies on players being in the right place at the right time. Paul was always there. That is why he got so many minutes, and that is the part of his game that will be difficult to replace.
The Cavaliers finished the season 21-11, but missed out on the NCAA Tournament because of inconsistency. Although they beat North Carolina and Duke during the year, they suffered bad losses to George Mason, Delaware and Old Dominion, among others. Injuries forced Bennett's hand in assembling the lineup for much of the season, as Atkins missed eight conference games and guard Malcolm Brogdon redshirted the season while recovering from a foot injury.
Virginia is only losing one other player after this season, point guard Jontel Evans to graduation. They will add four players next year to bring the roster up to 12 scholarship players. The return of many key players has Virginia cracking the pre-season Top 25 rankings of some publications.
Jesperson is the fifth player to transfer from Virginia's program since Bennett took the head coaching job in 2009.