A young man who is hailed as a "global sensation", LaMelo Ball, will join the Illawarra Hawks next season.
Already an international basketball superstar at age 17, Ball made the announcement on American network ESPN's The Jump show this morning. The Illawarra Mercury reported the likely signing on Monday.
The younger brother of NBA star Lonzo Ball will join the Hawks as part of the NBL Next Stars program.
The decision of Ball to choose Australia, particularly the smaller franchise of the Hawks, ahead of college basketball was already making international headlines and will put the Illawarra Hawks on the international basketball map like never before.
Ball is already being predicted by many as a top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and has a massive social media following boasting 4.5 million followers alone.
" I am excited to be a part of the NBL's Next Stars program and to join the Illawarra Hawks team," Ball said.
"The NBL is a really solid league, with great coaches and players, and I am looking forward to putting all my focus and energy into basketball and getting to work.
"I believe this will be an amazing opportunity for me as I continue in my journey toward fulfilling my dream of playing in the NBA."
Illawarra Hawks General Manager Mat Campbell said the Hawks were "excited to have LaMelo join the team".
"It has been a goal of the club to provide pathway opportunities for our young talent to play in the NBA. With the likes of LaMelo and recently signed Sam Froling, we believe we're well on our way to achieving that goal," Campbell said.
Hawks Owner Simon Stratford gave some insight into the direction of the club regarding this latest signing stating: "LaMelo is an exceptional talent and having him in a Hawks jersey fits with the goal of cultivating the best young talent and making them great. It's putting the club at the top of the list for future NBA stars."
The signing of Ball will have hug impacts for the club in terms of exposure and commercial opportunities.
It comes also as the Hawks are rumoured to be on the verge of signing at least one, possibly two imports with NBA experience.
Former NBA Most improved player and journeyman Aaron Brooks is said to be close to being announced.
The news of LaMelo';s signing was already trending across social media, with all major American sporting networks also reporting the news.