Appearing on Monday morning’s episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Corey “Homicide” Williams, analyst on Australia’s National Basketball League TV Network in Australia made a bold statement: He said LaMelo Ball is the number one overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
“LaMelo and RJ Hampton came on our show and I immediately understood the level of our league, because I work here for the NBL, I understood that it is a global league, and world renowned now and high level competition with the imports and the locals. It’s a global league and it’s highly respected. So I did not believe in LaMelo Ball. I did not even know RJ Hampton. I knew about LaMelo Ball because of his dad and his brother you know; I’m from New York. I really don’t believe in highlights. If I don’t see it with my own eyes, I don’t believe it quite frankly. I don’t care who’s saying what because everybody’s saying this kid can go, and he’s better than his brother, blah blah blah – I don’t believe in hype. I’m from New York: You gotta show me! So I immediately gave him the business. Yo, I grilled him. I asked him. My first question was, “Who are the top 3 point guards in this league in the NBL?” They were only able to name me one. And I shocked the table; ‘You need to do your homework. You think this is a game. There’s dudes out here paying mortgages, paying child support, got families to feed…you think they’re gonna let a little 17-year old kid come over here and get their rec off? You got another thing coming. This ain’t a cupcake league!’ – That’s how I pressed them. I wanted them to know early.”
Ball, 18 averaged 17 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 31 minutes per game for Australia’s Illawarra Hawks and he’s drawn big crowds and has gotten the attention of sneaker brands like Puma, Nike and Reebok. “First game he played, he played against the defending champions,” recounted Corey “Homicide” Williams.
“It was a preseason game in Tasmania. The defender that’s guarding him is a 6 Time Defensive Player of the Year and this guy is the guy I gauge import players on; Damian Martin – 6 Time Champion. 6 Time Defensive Player of the League. He’s a dog. An Australian Patrick Beverley. LaMelo Ball had 18 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals in OT…I just watched the #1 pick in the Draft. He made a believer to me. He went on to finish this season averaging 17points, 7.5 rebounds and 7 assists. This was his first year playing pro! How could a kid do this – I knew then, and to be honest with you, he could average a triple double. I honestly believe that. And the players on his team weren’t that good, he was dropping dimes left and right, you got guys that couldn’t even finish! So I envision in my head watching him play with a mid-level team in the NBA – you got shooters that are going to knock down wide open threes. You got athletic bigs that are going to finish and you can dribble one or two times to get the assist. This kid is a generational type of point guard. He reminds me of Penny Hardaway. That type! And he’s only going to get better. Listen to me – I am hardly impressed. I’m not impressed easily. This kid right here…in the last two games he played, had TWO triple doubles then his foot got messed up and he had to get shelved. He played 12 games. I saw enough to know that this kid is the #1 Pick in the Draft.”