"It’s been crystal clear about what our plan is with him and how we go about doing that."

12 Jun

Tasmania JackJumpers coach Scott Roth has preached patience with NBL Next Star Roman Siulepa, revealing the Australian teen prodigy is on a two-year development plan.

The JackJumpers unveiled Siulepa as their Next Star earlier this month and the announcement drew immense excitement, as the 17-year-old is one of the most exciting talents in Australian basketball.

The highly athletic forward has been a force at junior levels and is enjoying great success in NBL1 North with the South West Metro Pirates, but Roth has declared nothing has been promised to Siulepa and the club will be rigid in sticking to an outlined two-year plan for his progression as a professional.

“There has nothing been promised to him, other than his development the first year and we’ll try and get him on the floor if we can, and in his second year have him up and ready to go,” Roth said.

“It’s been crystal clear about what our plan is with him and how we go about doing that, he’s got a lot of hoops to jump through to get to the floor.

“Sometimes people get a little excited when he scores ‘x’ amount of points in an NBL1 game, but it doesn’t translate into the NBL.

“He’s a talent, we’re excited to have him, he’s got a lot of players to jump over and a lot of things on and off the floor, especially in starting his habits in becoming a pro.

“We’ll focus on those things first and if he gets some opportunities on the floor he does. If not, he will just have to go about his business and do what all our players do and wait for their opportunities to come.

“He’s going to have some great role models to follow, we have some great professionals to be around him, and I think he’s in a really good spot with us.”

Siulepa is averaging 20 points and 9.8 rebounds per game for the Pirates this season, won the MVP of the 2024 U20 National Championships while playing for Queensland and made the All-Tournament Team when representing Australia at the 2024 Albert Schweitzer Tournament.

The youngster visited Tasmania earlier this season to meet with the JackJumpers, and both parties have been interested in a deal ever since.

“At that point we definitely had our sights set on having him as a development player,” Roth said.

“Our mindset of what the program would be was a two-year developmental program, a player with a roster spot maybe in the second year.

“Once he came down here and saw what we did in the two days he was here, saw a game at MyState Bank Arena and understood the culture of how we work, I think he locked in that this is where he wanted to be.

“He saw the environment, he knows he’s 17 and still needs to grow on and off the floor. We’ve had some success in our players getting better year in year out, I think it was a no-brainer for him at a certain level.”

Roth added he is a fan of the NBL Next Stars program, especially when he gets to work with rising Australian talent.

“I really love the Next Stars program when it has to do with Australian players. That excites me the most that he is an Australian player, and we get to work with him for two years,” Roth said.

The JackJumpers’ title defence begins on Thursday September 19 in a Championship Series re-match against Melbourne United at HoopsFest in Perth, Western Australia.

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