One of the most polarizing high school basketball players of the last decade will take center stage at HoopHall West 2018 on Friday night, as LaMelo Ball and Spire Institute take on Bella Vista Prep.
The game is scheduled to start at about 10:30 p.m. ET. While it won’t be broadcast on television anywhere in the US, you can still watch a live stream of the game on your computer, phone or streaming device via ESPN+, the new digital streaming service from ESPN with exclusive rights to hundreds of sporting events weekly.
You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game (and several other HoopHall 2018 games) on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
If you can’t watch live, all games–including Spire vs Bella Vista–that are streamed on ESPN+ are also available to be watched afterwards on-demand via ESPN.com or the ESPN app.
Ever since LaMelo Ball’s 92-point explosion with Chino Hills High School in February of 2017, he’s been a highly publicized figure in the sports world. Video of his scoring outburst–which involved a whole lot of cherry picking and a significant lack of defense–quickly went viral, and suddenly everyone had a very strong opinion–both positive and negative–towards the youngest Ball.
Since that moment, Ball was pulled out of high school, decommitted from UCLA, played overseas in the Lithuanian pro league, played in his dad’s Junior Basketball Association, and then returned to high school to play with Spire Academy in Ohio.
High-level programs such as Oak Hill Academy and La Lumiere have canceled matchups against Spire due to Ball’s professional experience. La Lumiere canceled because they were “not comfortable” playing against someone who had played at the professional level, while Oak Hill pulled out due to eligibility concerns that would arise from playing against someone with pro experience.
Nevertheless, Bella Vista, a preparatory school in Scottsdale, isn’t concerned about Ball’s status.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” head coach Kyle Weaver said, “because at the end of the day, a prep school is there to support and help a kid academically and, on the court, you want to play the best. It’s all about developing kids on and off the court.
“We’re not worried about wins and losses. Championships don’t mean anything if you’re not developing kids.”
Judging by the circus that has been his high-school career, Ball will probably be the focus of Friday night’s game, but there will be a vast collection of talent all over the court.
For Bella Vista, 4-star guard Terry Armstrong is the second-best recruit in the state and committed to Arizona, and 5-star junior guard Addison Patterson is ranked No. 23 overall in next year’s class. They make one of the most talented backcourts in the country, meaning Ball is going to have his work cut out for him if he wants to put on a show in front of a national audience.