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Justinian Jessup’s NBA draft selection no surprise to Longmont coach Jeff Kloster

Colorado prep star is playing in Australia, but Golden State grabs his NBA rights

Justinian Jessup of Boise State shoots the basketball during a 2019-20 game against San Diego State University. (Photo courtesy Boise State athletics)
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Last night was a big one for Longmont basketball.

With the No. 51 overall pick in Wednesday night’s NBA Draft, Colorado prep star Justinian Jessup was selected by the Golden State Warriors. With the pick, a player who once led the Longmont Trojans to back-to-back Class 4A Final Fours as a young man finally accomplished a life-long dream.

“It feels pretty surreal,” Jessup said Thursday night from Australia. “All glory to God, honestly. I’m just super grateful to all my coaches and my family and I’m excited for the future. Obviously, Golden State is a great organization and I think it’s gonna be a great fit with the culture and the way they play.”

Back in the area where Jessup grew up, Longmont head coach Jeff Kloster was elated but not especially surprised that the talented shooter grew more in his time at a Division I college, to the point where the keen eyes of NBA scouts got the chance to take multiple observations of his on-court prowess.

“It’s a dream come true for him,” Longmont head coach Jeff Kloster said. “It’s a testament to all the hard work he put in through the years and Longmont High and at Boise State. It couldn’t happen to a better person who has such a dedication to the game and never stops working.

“It speaks to his basketball IQ and his ability to be coachable and learn, but it’s really about the number of hours he’s spent in the gym and always wanting to perfect his craft. That’s what separates the best from everyone else and you could always sense something special with him because he always had that drive to be great.”

A 6-foot-6 guard and an elite shooter, Jessup is the Boise State and Mountain West all-time record holder with 325 made 3-pointers in his collegiate career. He is the first player in Boise State history to finish his career with at least 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 150 steals and 50 blocked shots. He also set the Boise state single-season record with 98 made 3-pointers as a senior in 2019-20 and is the program’s leader in career starts.

Jessup has been playing with the Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s NBL and since he is still under contract, we won’t be likely won’t be able to play for the Warriors until after the 2020-21 season ends. The decision to play in Australia to get experience against professionals while remaining draft eligible appears to have been a good one for the former Longmont Trojan.

“It’s crazy,” Jessup told BoCoPreps in September. “When I was a freshman in high school, I wouldn’t think this was possible. Even just interviewing with NBA teams is surreal. I’m just thankful and I can’t wait to see what comes next. Boise State was really good to me and playing in Australia is a great opportunity and a good situation for me. The coach I’m going to play for is really good and it’s a great opportunity for me to get adjusted to a higher level of competition.”

During his senior season at Longmont, Jessup averaged 18.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.6 steals while shooting 54 percent from the field and 41 percent from 3-point range. He finished his prep career with over 1,500 points and 297 steals.

According to CHSAANow.com, Jessup is also just the 25th player from Colorado to be drafted into the NBA. The last, Legend grad Derrick White, played for CU and was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in 2017. White is still an active NBA player, as is Reggie Jackson from Palmer High.