HE'S Illawarra's next Next Star. Boise State Broncos star Justinian Jessup won't bring the same profile as LaMelo Ball, but then again few do.
What the 6 ft 7 shooting guard does have, according to coach Brian Goorjian, is all the capability to make it to the NBA via a stint with the Hawks under the league's elite rookie program.
Jessup recently completed his senior NCAA season at Boise State University where he etched his name in its record books as the first player in school history to record 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 150 steals and 50 blocks.
The 22-year-old is eligible for the NBA Draft in October, where Ball is tipped to be a top-three pick after his season with the Hawks and, if selected, shaped as an attractive 'draft and stash' prospect.
Goorjian is confident Jessup can find a path to the NBA via Wollongong next season.
"I am very pleased that Justinian will be part of the Hawks program," Goorjian said.
"He will give the team a real lift offensively, being a fantastic three-point shooter and a very good all-around player. He has a drive to play in the NBA and the Hawks will do everything possible to help him achieve his goal.
"He has a great work ethic and is an excellent teammate from all reports."
Jessup said watching Ball put himself on the NBA map through the Next Stars program last season convinced him it was a route worth taking in his post-college career.
"It's a great opportunity to get NBA exposure while playing against tough competition," Jessup said.
"I'm excited about playing for Coach Goorjian and all the young guys on the team. LaMelo playing last year was huge for the league and brought a lot of exposure [for the NBL] and I know it's going to be tough competition which I'm really looking forward to."
Hawks Co-Owner Bryan Colangelo has always stated the Next Stars program would be a key personal focus in taking an ownership stake in the franchise and he feels Jessup will be a valuable addition.
"NBL Next Stars is all about developing projected NBA players by exposing them to the tough, physical and talented athletes competing in our league," Colangelo said.
"With Brian Goorjian at the helm, we have tailored our Hawks basketball program to maximise the growth and performance of young basketball talents like Justinian Jessup to ultimately prepare them for the game's highest level of competition.
"With his elite level shooting ability, Justinian possesses a definable NBA skill which ideally complements the modern NBA game. Since speculation started about Justinian joining our program, I have heard from several teams who have him on their radar and are tracking his progress in advance of the upcoming NBA Draft.
"Our collective goal this season is to get Justinian prepared for his promising basketball future by focusing on his strength and physicality while refining and enhancing his overall on-court skills."
Jessup joins Emmett Naar, Deng Deng, Dan Grida, Deng Adel, Sam Froling, Isaac White, Tyler Harvey, Cam Bairstow, Max Darling and Justin Simon on the Hawks' roster for the upcoming season.