Even if people didn’t necessarily know who Cory Jefferson was at the start of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, it was impossible not to notice the Alaska Aces import over the course of the conference.
When he was only in high school, Jefferson was immediately labeled as a competitor. Despite only getting into basketball around the relatively late age of 13, his rookie years saw him average almost 20 markers per evening and a love to crash the boards, six times per game to be exact. He led his high school to three straight winning seasons, and managed to bring home several district championships. His skill gave him the rights of being named as the 13th best power forward in the entire nation and a four-star recruit.
He then entered Baylor University in Texas, wherein he was once part of the NIT All-Tournament team after securing a championship. His senior year really saw an explosion from Jefferson as he averaged nearly 14 points and 8 rebound per game. He also was crowned as the 2014 USBWA District VII Player of the Year for his dominant force on the court.
As a member of the Alaska Aces, Cory Jefferson was readily accepted by fans of the Never Quit Squad.
Jefferson’s colorful college career would then be recognized by the NBA. He was the final pick of the 2014 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, but then traded to the Nets that evening. After impressing some of agents, the Phoenix Suns offered Jefferson a single-year contract. He put up an average of three points and two rebounds.
After struggling to maintain his regular style in the post against larger and tougher opponents, Jefferson was forced to play in-and-out of the NBA D-League. There he was able to find his rhythm once gain and put up a comfortable 16-point average.
Earlier this year, when the search was on for the Aces’ new import, Jefferson was there to answer the call, excited by the chance to play in the Philippines, a country where love of the game is a fact of life.
Aces fans learned to embrace Jefferson, welcoming him as one of their own, and cheering when he would put up an average of 30 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks per game. No matter what team he was playing for, Jefferson has proven himself to be the sort who will play his heart out in every game, no matter the challenge.
It remains to be seen whether Jefferson will be back in future conferences, but whether or not that day comes, Jefferson has proven himself to be the sort who will play his heart out in every game. And when all is said and done – once an Ace, always an Ace.