Jumping Jahii Carson flashes in for Hawks

Wollongong Hawks recruit Jahii Carson in action for Arizona State. Picture: GETTY IMAGES.

Wollongong Hawks recruit Jahii Carson in action for Arizona State. Picture: GETTY IMAGES.

BASKETBALL

No conversation about Jahii Carson is complete until his jaw-dropping jumping ability is mentioned.

The Wollongong Hawks's newly signed import worked out with the Washington Wizards before the NBA draft in June and had his vertical leap measured at an incredible 47 inches (1.19 metres) - the equal highest of the 59 draft prospects.

"He can fly," Hawks owner James Spenceley gushed.

"Jahii brings world-class athleticism to the Hawks and the NBL with his tremendous gifts."

Wollongong coach Gordie McLeod has a knack for acquiring top-shelf point guards.

His latest recruit is another masterstroke.

"It's certainly going to be exciting for our fans," McLeod said.

"As a team, to have a player with Jahii's quickness, his athleticism and his scoring ability, we have to find out the way we're going to play and utilise all the pieces that we've got."

A smorgasbord of Carson's gravity-defying dunks and acrobatics make for popular viewing on YouTube.

He idolised former NBA star Allen Iverson, while his ferocious attacks on the basket evoke images of Nate Robinson's high-flying dunks.

Carson grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and starred at the University of Arizona State for two years.

He was co-Freshman of the Year in the perennially tough Pac-12 Conference in 2013 and an All-Pac-12 First Team selection as a sophomore.

When he left college to declare himself for the 2014 NBA draft in June, his two-year combined averages were 18.6 points, 4.8 assists and 3.9 rebounds.

Several American writers and analysts predicted he would be selected in the second round, while some even had him going late in the first round.

Much to his disappointment, Carson had to accept being overlooked, but most of those same writers expect him to eventually make it to the NBA.

In the meantime, the Hawks are ecstatic to secure his services for the 2014-15 season.

Turning 22 on August 31, he will form a deadly 1-2 punch with fellow import Gary Ervin in Wollongong's backcourt. The pair arrive in Australia on Sunday and start training next week.

Carson and Ervin are breaking new ground as the Hawks's first import duo under six feet in club history.

"Jahii's skill set is exciting for us as a team," McLeod said.

"The way that we want to play in the open court in transition with him and Gary, we feel that they're players that can get on the rim and find different ways of scoring, and that they complement the other guys we've got. With our bigs, we can stretch the floor and hopefully that will open up some driving lanes for those guys to do what they do."

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