Texas Border Business
GRAZ, Austria – Lesley Varner II, who played for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) men’s basketball team from 2016-20, has signed to play professionally with UBSC Raiffeisen Graz of the Austrian Basketball Bundesliga.
Varner joins former teammate Jordan Jackson (2017-20), who recently signed with Ginásio C.F. Basketball in Portugal’s Proliga, in getting set to make his professional debut this season.
UTRGV had at least 14 alumni playing professionally this past season, six of whom played with Varner, including Johnny Crnogorac (2017-19, Australia), Isaiah Fontaine (2018-20, Finland), Xavier McDaniel Jr. (2016-18, ABA), Tyson Smith (2018-19, Georgia), Lew Stallworth (2015-18, Romania), and Terry Winn III (2017-19, The Basketball League).
Varner most recently competed in the 2021 Dos Equis 3X3U National Championship in April.
A 2020 All-WAC First Team selection, Varner averaged 15.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals while shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 40.6 percent from behind the arc and 87.1 percent from the foul line as a senior. He ranked 29th in the NCAA and second in the WAC in free throw percentage (87.1), 124th in the NCAA and second in the WAC in free throws made (122), 141st in the NCAA and fifth in the WAC in steals per game (1.53), 161st in the NCAA and third in the WAC in total steals (46), 197th in the NCAA and third in the WAC in points per game (15.6), 198thin the NCAA and fourth in the WAC in field goal percentage (43.5), 216th in the NCAA and third in the WAC in total points (469), and 220th in the NCAA and second in the WAC in free throw attempts (140). He led UTRGV in scoring 13 times, rebounding 15 times and assists three times. Varner reached double-figures in scoring 21 times, including 12 games of 20+ points, two of which were 30+ point performances. He also reached double-figures in rebounding three times while recording two double-doubles.
For his career, Varner finished with 1,182 points, the 16th-highest total in program history.
The only player to start all 16 WAC contests for UTRGV in 2019-20, Varner averaged 17.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting 44.3 percent from the field, 44.6 percent from behind the arc and 89.0 percent from the foul line in conference play. He ranked third in the WAC in scoring, second in free throw shooting, third in three-point shooting, fourth in steals, fifth in defensive rebounding (4.9), seventh in rebounding, tied for ninth in three-pointers made (25), and 14th in field goal percentage.
Varner graduated in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies.