Warriors SL Coach Sounds Off on Draft-and-Stasher After Big Cali Finale

Justinian Jessup Illawarra Hawks

Getty Illawarra Hawks forward Justinian Jessup celebrates following a victory over the Brisbane Bullets.

Golden State Warriors fans just got their first up-close look at draft-and-stash pick Justinian Jessup as the sharpshooter was in the Bay Area for the duration of the California Classic. However, his three-game run at Chase Center was something of a mixed bag.

Over the Dubs summer squad’s first two games against the LA Lakers and Sacramento Kings, the 24-year-old — who has been balling out with the NBL’s Illawarra Hawks for the last two seasons — averaged 7.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.5 assists while shooting 37.5% from the floor.

He was able to finish the event on an upward swing, though, scoring 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting in the Warriors’ Tuesday night loss to the Miami Heat.

And while some opined that Jessup looked to be struggling in his new digs, particularly where the speed of the game is concerned, summer-league coach Seth Cooper expressed confidence that the baller would continue to pick up steam in Las Vegas.

Jessup’s Shooting Ability Catches Cooper’s Eye

In the wake of the Warriors’ California finale, Cooper offered a largely positive assessment of what he saw from Jessup. Or, at the very least, he was impressed by his jumper.

“He showed his ability to make shots. I think that’s something that he’ll continue to do over the next two weeks but even in Australia — and dating back to Boise State — he’s been a guy that can really shoot the ball,” Cooper said.

As Cooper sees it, Jessup may have been able to do additional damage as a marksman if his teammates had gotten him the ball in more opportune moments. In any case, he expects to see more offense from the 6-foot-7 wing as the action shifts to Sin City.

“I think we’ve missed him a few times when he’s been open and then that’s kind of got him trying to speed up a little bit when he does catch the ball. But I think these next two weeks, over these next five games or so, you’re going to see him make some shots and be the high-level shot maker that he is.”

The last time Jessup played in the Vegas summer league, he averaged 12.4 PPG and knocked down 12 of his 28 three-point attempts.

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Jessup Played Well in Australia Last Season

Jessup has been playing in Illawarra as part of the Aussie league’s Next Stars program, which aims to provide elite foreign players — particularly Americans — a place to develop their games against high-level competition in preparation for their NBA moves. To that end, he has acquitted himself fairly well.

In 30 NBL games last season, Jessup averaged 13.3 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per contest. He also connected on 35.8% of his nearly six three-point attempts nightly.

Of his NBA prospects, a league scout told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney the following in April:

When his confidence is going, he is a really good, NBA-level shooter. He is not an All-Star but he has handled adversity and he is a good team player, you can imagine him having a good, solid career as a shooter off the bench. There are a lot of teams that need that. He could be in the NBA next season, but just maybe not with the Warriors.


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