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Brandon Jessie dies

Former Utah basketball guard Brandon Jessie died at 48, the university announced on Tuesday.

A key part of Rick Majerus’ 1994-95 and 1995-96 teams, Jessie transferred to Utah from Ventura Junior College and instantly became of the Runnin’ Utes’ most productive players.

He averaged 16.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists, good for the second-most points on the 1994-95 team, just behind Keith Van Horn.

In 1995-96, he was again the Utes’ second leading scorer, averaging 13.9 points per game.

Jessie was a key part of two regular-season WAC championships, a WAC conference tournament title and two NCAA tournament appearances. In 1996 Utah made the Sweet 16, falling to Kentucky.

“He’s our best defender, a tough rebounder … as much a part of our success as Van Horn,” Majerus said of Jessie in 1996.

Following a successful college basketball career, Jessie — the son of former NFL receiver Ron Jessie — tried to make it in the NFL. He was signed by the New York Giants, who were coached at the time by former Utah football coach Jim Fassel, but never played in a game.

Jessie’s son Kai is a wide receiver at New Mexico, and his daughter Braxton played volleyball for Ventura College.

Source: deseret