NBL Hawks close in on Justinian Jessup

The Hawks are closing in on securing Boise State wing Justinian Jessup as a Next Stars player for the 2020-21 NBL season, sources have told ESPN.

Jessup, 22, averaged 16 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game as a senior, and is set to begin his professional career in the NBL.

The 6'6 small forward is automatically eligible for the 2020 NBA Draft, because he's a recent college graduate, and has the potential to be a late second-round pick. Jessup is currently the 81st ranked player in the ESPN Top 100.

The NBL's Next Stars program became open to draft-and-stash players when the New Orleans Pelicans' second-round pick, Didi Louzada, signed with the Sydney Kings for the 2019-20 season. However, Jessup being set to join the initiative as a player who's yet to be drafted has caused exasperation among other teams, sources said.

Jessup was regarded as one of college basketball's best sharpshooters during his senior year, averaging 40 percent from beyond the arc during his four seasons with Boise State; breaking Jimmer Fredette's Mountain West Conference record for made career three-pointers.

A number of teams have expressed their concerns with the league office, sources said. The NBL chose not to comment.

Sportando was first to report that the Hawks were showing interest in Jessup.

Jessup will become the NBL's third Next Star for the upcoming season, joining the Adelaide 36ers' Josh Giddey and the Cairns Taipans' Mojave King.

Each team is allowed one Next Star on its roster, and that player does not count toward the 10 permitted roster spots. Jessup will join the Hawks' nine contracted players, with the team still able to add one more; sources say the franchise's new ownership is eyeing a second import guard.

Jessup will join Tyler Harvey, Deng Adel, Cameron Bairstow, Max Darling, Emmett Naar, Deng Deng, Dan Grida, Sam Froling, and Isaac White on Brian Goorjian's near-complete roster for the 2020-21 NBL season.