LaMelo Ball left high school last year to join his brother LiAngelo in Lithuania on a pro team and then later in his father LaVar’s Junior Basketball Association. In doing so, he forfeited his amateur status making it so he would not be able to play college ball.
After a year in which he dominated the JBA against less than stellar competition in games with ridiculous scores (although, not quite as ridiculous now that we see the scoring uptick in the NBA this season), the youngest Ball brother will return to the high school ranks so he can play against quality competition within his age group, as the family announced on Tuesday.
Ball will be joining Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio, a prep school, per SLAM, that will face off against some of the top prep schools in the country this season, giving Ball a chance to show scouts his skills against the best prospects in the country. According to SLAM, his first game is likely to be against La Lumiere on November 13, and in January the team will take on prep powerhouse Oak Hill Academy. As for Ball’s status as an amateur for high school ball, he apparently wasn’t getting paid directly and therefore will be eligible shortly.
While LaVar will never admit it, the move seems to be an admission that Ball needs to play high school ball to give scouts an opportunity to properly evaluate him, rather than the experiment in Lithuania and the JBA. LaMelo is a highly talented player and scouts will want to see how he performs this season against top competition as he targets the 2020 NBA Draft.
As for LiAngelo, the middle Ball brother will look to find a home in the G League as he’s planning to join the player pool after going undrafted last June and playing in the JBA.
It will be fascinating to see if anyone is willing to give LiAngelo a contract in the G League, as he’s never been a highly regarded prospect by NBA teams.