Being a middle child can be be difficult. LiAngelo Ball is sometimes lost in the spotlight in the Ball family. His older brother, Lonzo Ball, is headed to the NBA as one of the most anticipated rookies in the 2017 draft class.
With Lonzo heading to the Lakers, the two brothers will get to play in the same city next year as LiAngelo starts at UCLA.
With just a three-star rating, LiAngelo is out to prove his doubters wrong. He might have to start inside his own family. His father, LaVar Ball, admitted in an interview with GQ he has told LiAngelo he may not make the NBA.
‘I told my boys that one of them wasn’t going to make it. Because if you’ve got three, only one, maybe two make it to the NBA.’ He [LaVar] says, right in front of everyone, that he thinks it’ll be his middle son, LiAngelo, who doesn’t make it. He says he’s told him that. ‘He’s going to be taken care of either way,’ he says. At least Gelo is the handsomest of his sons, he says—if basketball doesn’t work out, maybe he could be a model.’
Learn more about the middle Ball brother.
1. LiAngelo Will be a Freshman on the 2017 UCLA Team
UCLA will exchange one Ball for another as Lonzo heads to the NBA. LiAngelo will start his college basketball career with the Bruins in the fall. What can UCLA fans expect from LiAngelo’s game? Here’s an excerpt from an ESPN scouting report.
Ball is a burly wing-type who can drain jump shots off the catch out to 25-feet and he’s becoming quite the productive post player as well. He is a more consistent shooter off the catch and the mechanics on his shot have improved…He has the strength to ward off defenders and attack off his left shoulder. He can toss in the runner or just go to the drop step move.
Ball is a straight-line player who needs to improve his lateral quickness. His defense needs attention as he rarely gets into his defender…In the half court set, he needs to improve his ball skills, particularly his left hand, while attacking his defender off the dribble.
2. LiAngelo Scored 72 Points in a Game
While it may not be the 92 points his younger brother, LaMelo, scored, LiAngelo had his own career performance. His 72 points helped lead Chino Hills to a 128-108 victory over Rancho Christian in the 2016 Corona Centennial tournament. LiAngelo hit 13 three-point shots in his epic game.
According to the Los Angeles Times, LaMelo also had a solid outing with 31 points. It took LiAngelo a little over two months to top his big brother’s performance when he scored 92 points in a Chino Hills 146-123 victory over Los Osos.
3. He Is a Consensus Three-Star Player
LiAngelo was the lowest ranked high school prospect of the three brothers. Rivals, 247 Sports and ESPN all had LiAngelo as a three-star recruit. He has a different build than his brothers, and could end up being more of a forward than a guard in college. LiAngelo is listed at 6’6″ and 240 pounds.
While LiAngelo feels his game has been underrated, he uses it as fuel to improve his game.
“But I wouldn’t change a thing,” LiAngelo told USA Today. “What I did in the summer has gotten my game to where it’s at right now, just working on specific parts of my game and still playing against competition. I would do it all over again.”
4. The Ball Family Felt He Was Snubbed from the McDonald’s All-American Game
Despite having a stellar senior season, LiAngelo missed out on making the McDonald’s All-American Game. The McDonald’s game is synonymous for showcasing the top high school basketball players heading towards the college basketball season. LiAngelo admitted to the USA Today he expected to make the game.
“I think it’s crazy,” LiAngelo told USA Today. “I feel like I should’ve been in the game. The first thing I thought when I saw the roster on Twitter was I’m gonna prove them wrong.”
LaVar concurred on his son’s sense that he was snubbed from the game.
“He’s the best player on the best team,” LaVar explained to USA Today. “How is he not in the game? But we don’t care about that game anyway. Not having LiAngelo in the game makes it lose credibility. We’re not even gonna watch. We’re just gonna keep working.”
5. LaMelo Teamed Up With LiAngelo on the Chino Hills Team
The three Ball brothers teamed up for one season at Chino Hills before Lonzo headed to UCLA. During the 2016-17 season, it was the LaMelo and LiAngelo show. LiAngelo averaged 33.8 points per game, and appears to be more of a pure scorer averaging just 1.2 assists and 1.7 rebounds in high school. LaMelo averaged 26.7 points during his sophomore season.
An opposing coach noted to the Los Angeles Times the Ball brothers provide matchup nightmares.
“Their system of play is unique,” Encino Crespi Coach Russell White told the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a lot like when all the football teams went to a spread offense. They leak two guys out after shots.”
The three brothers teamed up for an undefeated 2015-16 season on their way to winning a state title.