For the last year, the basketball world has focused heavily on everything related to the Ball family. Whether it be Lavar Ball (the father of the family) and his antics or one of the three sons, LaMelo, LiAngelo, or Lonzo having a historic night on the court, the family has undoubtedly become a household name for any basketball fan. Now that the 2017 season has come to a close, it’s only right to reflect on the historic season all three boys had, as well as discuss their bright futures.
While it’s true that he is the shortest, skinniest, and youngest, LaMelo is not to be overlooked. It is quite possible that the 6-foot-3, rising high school junior has the most potential out of the trio. He’s always played on the same teams with his older brothers versus much older opponents. Now that he’s able to play against opponents of a similar age, LaMelo has been absolutely dominant. While averaging 27 points per game as a sophomore on one of the best high school teams in the country is amazing by any standard, it isn’t the highlight of LaMelo’s season. Scoring 92 points — 41 in the fourth quarter alone — and going viral online while doing so is more like it.
There’s no question that LaMelo will continue to dominate at the high school level, however, there is a fair amount of speculating to be done when it comes to the school where he is going to finish his high school career. Just recently, Lavar Ball was interviewed claiming that LaMelo is surely going to be taken out of Chino Hills High School following an altercation with the basketball coach.
“The last game we lost against Mater Dei, he [the coach] came right out and cussed my sons out. Personally, blaming [the loss] on LaMelo talking about you lost the game for us shooting too much and not passing,” Lavar said.
While unfortunate, LaMelo’s future is hardly impacted by the situation as he is still committed to play for the UCLA Bruins.
Next in line is high school senior LiAngelo, the 6-foot-6, 240 pound three point and defensive specialist. Averaging just under 34 points per game on the season, LiAngelo also had some special games this year. The first came against Orange Lutheran in November when he scored 52 points followed by a 72-point performance the next game versus Rancho Christian. When asked about LiAngelo’s game, his older brother spoke in high praise.
“Definitely just a pure scorer. He can post up, shoot the three, or score off the dribble. Anytime you need a bucket, just give him the ball and get out of the way,” Lonzo said.
Former Chino Hills head coach Steve Baik had a similar assessment of his game.
“He’s just a natural shooting guard right now. You know, 6-foot-5, 6-foot-6, he’s in every way a pure shooting guard… He’s capable of hitting 10 three’s in a row, now we have him in the post. We want to continue to refine his skills and make him become more of a slasher and play maker,” Baik said.
While LiAngelo’s high school career is officially over, his basketball future is bright as he is committed to play at UCLA next season.
Lastly, we have UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball, the oldest brother of the trio. Lonzo is in every sense a pure playmaker. Standing at 6foot-6, he is among the tallest point guards in the NBA. Coupled with an incredible basketball IQ (the ability to make the right plays in big moments) that has caused many to compare him to NBA legend Jason Kidd, Lonzo is slated to be a top three lottery pick in this year’s NBA draft.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Lonzo is his drive to be the best NBA player of all time. Lonzo has been recorded on camera multiple times expressing this desire, most recently stating,
“At the end of the day, I want to be one of the best players to ever play. I think if you do something you love, you should always shoot to be the best at it.”
Lonzo has lived up to this sentiment as he’s proven to be the best at each level he’s played. In high school, he led Chino Hills to a perfect 35-0 season punctuated by a California State title. In college, he helped revitalize the UCLA men’s basketball program (who were 15-17 during the 2015-2016 season), leading the team to a 31-5 overall record while averaging 14.6 points, 6 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game. While the NBA is a completely different beast, it should be interesting to see the impact Lonzo has on the league.
Even though none of the Ball brothers have played a single NBA game, the impact that they’ve had on basketball culture is profound. The most exciting games are yet to come, and we should all sit back and watch the trio do what they do best.