LaMelo Ball is believed by many to be the number one overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Ball will miss significant time with a foot injury.
How did it happen?
“He bruised his right foot in practice last week,” Cory “Homicide” Williams told me this evening via text message.
Williams, a New York City basketball legend played in the Australian National Basketball League and earned league MVP honors in 2010 with the Townsville Crocodiles. He is a television analyst with the NBL Network.
LaMelo Ball has starred in the NBL20 with the Illawarra Hawks this season and has drawn record crowds.
“He’s began getting treatment,” Williams told me.
“And will be ready to go in January, which is more than enough time to ensure he is 100% and ready to go.”
LaMelo Ball has wowed many in February 2017 when he scored 92 points in a high school basketball game.
Back then, Ball, a high school student at Chino Hills High School in southern California, scored 29 points by halftime. In the second half, Ball scored 41 points in the fourth quarter en route to guiding Chino Hills in beating Los Osos High School 146-123.
“AAU coaches just let their players do anything instead of teach them and train them,” Derek Anderson told me of Ball back in 2017.
“So now they don’t have any discipline.
“You look at that one kid who had 92 points, but he didn’t come past half court like half the time. Do you think our coaches would let us do that? No. He would have been all over us ‘Get back on defense play hard.’ But now there are so many coaches that let players be good so he can get a name and I think that is the issue with AAU. If they just roll the balls out and say: ‘who ever is talented go do it.’ And I think that is where AAU is failing us. The coaches aren’t demanding excellence. Therefore there is none.”
Fast forward to 2019: Ball, 18 is currently averaging 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 31 minutes per game for Illawarra.
Many NBA GM’s have not seen LaMelo Ball play in person and according to ESPN, decision makers from several NBA teams were expected to be in Australia in the coming weeks to evaluate both him and fellow projected lottery pick RJ Hampton, who plays for the New Zealand.
With Ball expected to make a full recovery, he’ll likely close out the regular season which ends in February.
LaMelo Ball was once a five-star UCLA commit. His brother, LiAngelo Ball played there. So did his older brother, New Orleans Pelicans point guard, Lonzo Ball; who was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017.
LaMelo Ball is exciting to watch on the basketball court. He once had his own signature shoe: the ZO2 Prime which was retailed at $495 through the Baller Brand. A few years ago, he even filed paperwork to trademark “MeloBall1.”
Aside from marketing, he’s a good basketball player. In 2018, I watched him play for the local Los Angeles, California team in the JBL League at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
Back then, Ball’s skillset reminded me a lot of NBA Hall of Famer, Tracy McGrady. He had the ability to score in the open floor, draw double teams and play the role of fascilitator and playmaker in halfcourt sets.