By Greg DeVries
A strong bench helps any team be successful. Redshirt sophomore Cory Jefferson provides that spark in the low post that fans love. If shifting momentum were a statistic, Jefferson would be leading the pack.
Despite being a driving point guard’s worst nightmare, Jefferson has humble beginnings. He was born in Tacoma, Wash., but moved to Louisiana at a young age.
His mother, Fancy Pace, was in the military, so he moved around the country before landing in Killeen.
He established himself as a true basketball talent at Killeen High School before coming to Baylor. Now he is getting it done on the court at the Ferrell Center. How does he get it done? Big dunks and big blocks.
“A dunk puts more points on the board and a block adds to the stops, and both get the team hyped,” Jefferson said.
It makes sense that Jefferson would have this kind of mentality. His favorite player is Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.
“When he’s playing you know he’s going to get a dunk or a good block or something,” Jefferson said.
He released his inner-Dwight this season against the University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks by recording 10 points, seven blocks, and seven rebounds in 25 minutes of play.
The Bears did not get this kind of play from Jefferson last year. While he played in 21 games as a true freshman, Jefferson redshirted his sophomore season to retain eligibility.
“I knew it was going to be a hard thing to do but I knew it would better me,” Jefferson said.
The redshirt year really helped him improve and gain muscle mass.
“I think I was like 170 pounds when I first got here… Now I’ve bulked up a little bit. It’s definitely a difference from when I first got here,” Jefferson said. He is now listed at 210 pounds.
Senior Quincy Acy has been helping Jefferson get better for a few years.
“I pushed him in the weight room a lot during his redshirt year. He was weak when he got here. He’s made more progress there. That’s a tribute to the coaches and how hard he works,” Acy said.
Jefferson said Acy works him hard every practice to get him ready for game time.
“Every time we step on the court, you really don’t have a choice going up against Quincy Acy, so I thank him for that,” Jefferson said. “Trying to guard him every day, it’s never a day off, so that’s really prepared me for this year too.”
Acy has pushed Jefferson in the weight room, but he isn’t the only one pushing him on the court.
“Every day in practice, he gets the luxury of going against Perry [Jones III], Quincy Acy, Anthony Jones and Quincy Miller. So he gets better each and every day,” head coach Scott Drew said.
Drew has been directing these huge strides that Jefferson is taking.
“Some people say he’s our most improved player,” Drew said. “In the non-conference schedule, [he] really got off to a great start … He’s only a sophomore. His junior and senior years are going to be much better than this year.”