• Follow us

Sport

LaMelo Ball commits to play in Australian NBL

Jun 17, 2019

LaMelo Ball has joined the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian National Basketball League, he announced on ESPN's The Jump on Monday.

Ball, a 17-year-old point guard, played for a year in Lithuania in 2018, so it's unlikely that he could play in college under NCAA eligibility rules.

The NBL has become a destination for players looking for a year of competitive play before they are eligible for the NBA draft. It's a nine-team league that begins play in early October and ends in late March. Ball agreed to a two-year deal with NBA out clauses.

"My agents did a ton of research on the options I had to play this coming season, and Australia really made sense for me," Ball told ESPN. "They have a really strong league, with excellent coaches and great players, including former and future NBA players, and great strength and conditioning programs. My goal is to be the top pick in next year's draft, and I feel they can help me reach that goal. Also, the timing of the season works well with the timing of next year's draft."

LaMelo Ball scored 92 points in a game for Chino Hills in 2017. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ball, the No. 21 prospect in the ESPN 100 class of 2019, will join ESPN No. 5 prospect RJ Hampton as American teenagers who elected to spend their one-and-done season between high school and the NBA in the NBL. Hampton signed with another NBL team, the New Zealand Breakers, in late May. Both players were brought in under the NBL's Next Stars program, which has emerged as a competitor with college basketball and the G League as pathways to the NBA.

"I had already decided to play in the NBL prior to RJ's decision, I just hadn't yet narrowed down the team," Ball said. "But having RJ there only adds to the excitement. I think it will be a good experience for both of us to be there at the same time and to be able to play against one another."

1 Related

LaMelo's brother Lonzo was the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA draft and a key component of the Anthony Davis trade between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers that was agreed to this weekend.

LaMelo Ball spent four months in Lithuania at the beginning of 2018 with BC Vytautas. He averaged 6.5 points and 2.4 assists in 13 minutes over eight games in the Lithuanian first division, despite being only 16 years old at the time. His best game of the season came against Lithuanian league champion Zalgiris -- a team that qualified for the EuroLeague Final Four later that year -- with 19 points and six assists in 27 minutes.

"I am really looking forward to playing professionally this season, so that I can focus all of my time and energy on basketball," Ball said. "My experience in Lithuania will help make the adjustment easier. Playing overseas professionally at just 16 years old put me in a place where I had to figure things out quickly, and I think that experience will make a huge difference for me in Australia."

While no ruling was made, Ball was considered unlikely to be eligible to play college basketball because he was tied to Vytautas, was represented by an agent and has his own sneaker line, which he promoted using his likeness. All those things could violate NCAA eligibility rules.

Ball returned to the United States this season to play high school basketball at Spire Academy in Ohio, where he was coached by former NBA player Jermaine Jackson. Jackson -- who played 130 games over five seasons in the NBA and also played internationally -- will accompany Ball to Australia to assist him with the transition.

"Having JJ with me has been incredible," Ball said. "His experience, guidance and mentorship has been a huge benefit to me, and having him there in Australia will only continue to help my development on and off the court."

Ball was ranked as the No. 7 prospect in his high school class, according to ESPN recruiting rankings, when his father, LaVar, abruptly withdrew him from Chino Hills High School shortly after his 16th birthday. Ball was committed to UCLA at the time. LaVar's off-the-court actions -- which included starting his own sneaker company, basketball league and a reality TV show on Facebook -- have drawn a significant amount of worldwide attention, helping LaMelo build a global following that includes 4.5 million followers on Instagram. From a marketing standpoint alone, Ball's signing is a boon to the NBL, which currently sports 78,000 followers on Instagram.

Ball will join one of the smaller-market teams in Australia. The Hawks play in Wollongong, a blue-collar, working-class city of 300,000 people located 55 miles south of Sydney. The team finished last season tied with the Breakers for sixth place in the NBL. Ball is expected to compete for significant playing time at both guard spots.

"The conversations with the team really made me feel like this is going to be a great fit," Ball said. "I felt they understood my goals and have a plan for me in terms of growth and development, and I was really excited about their goals for winning."

"We couldn't be more excited to have LaMelo coming to join the NBL this season," NBL CEO Jeremy Loeliger told ESPN. "I think it's a real win-win situation for everyone involved. It gives him a fantastic opportunity to play against some hardened professionals, which I think will do wonders in terms of getting him ready for his rookie year in the NBA. He'll get the chance to answer a lot of questions being asked by a lot of people -- and everything I've seen makes me think he's going to take a lot of them by surprise."

Illawarra's new head coach, Matt Flinn, echoed those thoughts: "The Illawarra Hawks have a long history of developing great young players, many of whom have gone into great things in Australia, Europe and the NBA, and the signing of LaMelo is testimony to that," Flinn said. "Together we will work hard so he can achieve his ultimate goal."

At 6-foot-7, Ball has unique talent for the modern NBA game with his size, creativity, ballhandling, passing ability and deep shooting range. Scouts will want to evaluate his thin frame, unorthodox shooting mechanics, casual style of play and inconsistent effort defensively. The NBL is known for its physical play and will pose a significant challenge for the 17-year-old, who doesn't possess much experience against higher levels of competition.

Ball has impressed this summer with his performances at the Drew League, a pro-am summer tournament that draws some of the best talent from Los Angeles but is played at all-star-style pace. Before this news, Ball was ranked No. 33 in ESPN's most recent 2020 mock draft, partly because of the uncertainty surrounding his playing situation for 2019-20. He will be projected as a first-round pick in the next ESPN forecast released after the NBA draft on Thursday.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

www.espn.com - TOP

Save the day and move on: That's Alyssa 2019-07-03 20:55:34Naeher made one of the biggest saves in USWNT history, but if you think she's reveling in her glory, think again.

Why we shouldn't overlook the Netherlands against USWNT 2019-07-03 20:54:33An unlikely hero. An unlikely team. The Netherlands should not be overlooked when it faces the USNWT in the World Cup final.

Boone: 'It's a joke' Torres not on All-Star 2019-07-03 20:44:59Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Wednesday it is "ridiculous" that his infielder Gleyber Torres was not named an All-Star.

Arise, 'Serandy'! Serena, Murray pairing puts all eyes 2019-07-03 19:34:19The star pairing of Sir Andy Murray and Serena Williams has captured the imagination of everyone at Wimbledon.

Why the Nadal-Kyrgios match is so full of 2019-07-03 19:33:09In a rivalry stoked by recent exchanges in the press, Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios will face off in the most hotly anticipated match of the second ro

Sources: Suns to waive Korver after Jackson deal 2019-07-03 18:41:21The Grizzlies have acquired Josh Jackson in a trade with the Suns, sending Kyle Korver to Phoenix in the four-player deal. The Suns plan to waive Korv

Record-setting Kentucky QB Lorenzen dies at 38 2019-07-03 17:41:44Former Kentucky and NFL quarterback Jared Lorenzen died Wednesday after a battle with cardiac and renal issues. He was 38.

Sources: McConnell reaches deal with Pacers 2019-07-03 17:41:24Former 76ers point guard T.J. McConnell has reached a two-year, $7 million deal with the Indiana Pacers.

Gauff, 15, beats Rybarikova to reach third round 2019-07-03 17:38:32Coco Gauff, 15, who upset Venus Williams in the first round, knocked off former Wimbledon semifinalist Magdalena Rybarikova to reach the third round.

Brazil is back! Why this squad is the 2019-07-03 16:48:17Brazil maintained its unofficial southern hemisphere title over eternal rival Argentina in a game that had everything that makes Copa America great.

Chile manager Rueda has been the star of 2019-07-03 15:08:07Reinaldo Rueda's tweaks have breathed new life into an ageing Chile side and positioned the Copa America holders to defy Father Time one last time.

Inside Thiago Santos' final preparation for Jones 2019-07-03 14:20:31Santos is just days out from the biggest fight of his life. Stephania Bell takes you inside his camp.

L.A. Times - Sports

Angels play with heavy hearts and win for 2019-07-03 02:15:00The relentless nature and daily grind of a 162-game baseball season leave little time or space for grieving, so the Angels resumed play after Monday&r

Foul ball may hurt Angels infielder Tommy La 2019-07-03 02:05:00Tommy La Stella’s hopes of playing in his first All-Star game may have been dashed Tuesday night when the Angels infielder fouled a ball off his

Dodgers beat the Diamondbacks on five straight walks 2019-07-03 01:50:00With every pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday, what was left of a sold-out Dodger Stadium crowd got riled up a little more. By the time C

Mexico outlasts Haiti in Gold Cup semifinals 2019-07-03 01:25:00Raul Jimenez scored on a penalty kick in the 93rd minute and Mexico ended Haiti's impressive Gold Cup run in the semifinals with a 1-0 victory on Tue

Tyler Skaggs' death stirs memories, emotions in Angels 2019-07-03 00:45:00The sensation was familiar, the overwhelming sadness that made him break down in the middle of a news conference. “This feels identical,”

Women’s World Cup: Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher is the 2019-07-02 23:40:00A wave of teammates sprinted toward U.S. goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher to thank her for saving a late penalty kick against England and essentially saving t

Clippers and guard Rodney McGruder agree to a 2019-07-02 23:25:00Amid the wait for a decision from superstar free agent Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers and guard Rodney McGruder agreed to a three-year contract worth $15

Former Kings coach Darryl Sutter hired as advisor 2019-07-02 22:10:00Darryl Sutter is back on the Southern California hockey scene. The former Kings coach was hired by the Ducks as an advisor to the coaching staff of Da

Fans gather outside Angel Stadium to mourn death 2019-07-02 22:00:00The boy rushed through the front door late Monday, collapsed on the couch and started crying. He had just returned from a trip, and his mother wondere

Mfiondu Kabengele and fellow Clippers rookies get ready 2019-07-02 21:45:00Watching from the stands of NBA arenas as a child, Mfiondu Kabengele cheered as his uncle, Hall of Fame center Dikembe Mutombo, celebrated blocked sho

Veteran Dodgers reinforcements nearing return from the injured 2019-07-02 21:30:00For weeks, Dave Roberts has managed the Dodgers like a jigsaw puzzle, trying to find the right combination of pieces to overcome a string of injuries

NBA free agency: Warriors to re-sign Kevon Looney, 2019-07-02 21:15:00The Golden State Warriors will re-sign center Kevon Looney while also reaching agreements with center Willie Cauley-Stein and guard Glenn Robinson III

NYT > Sports

Angels Return to the Field, Bearing Grief for 2019-07-03 03:24:28The Los Angeles Angels chose to get back on the diamond to play the Texas Rangers, and to cope, a day after Skaggs was found dead in the team hotel.

Serena Williams and Andy Murray in Wimbledon Mixed 2019-07-03 03:22:40One of the highest profile pairings in mixed doubles is set after rampant speculation about the identity of Murray’s partner was put to rest.

What to Watch Wednesday at Wimbledon 2019-07-03 01:57:03Cori Gauff returns to the court for a second-round match against Magdalena Rybarikova.

Ruthless. Relentless. Victorious. 2019-07-03 01:19:21The true identity of the United States women’s soccer team is not so much its style but its results: It is a team built to win, and that is what

No Megan Rapinoe? No Problem, for One Day 2019-07-03 01:05:01The U.S. star missed her team’s World Cup semifinal against England with a minor muscle strain, but she vowed to be ready for Sunday’s fin

With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets 2019-07-03 00:34:35No matter how good or how bad, the Knicks have overshadowed the Nets. Now that Durant and Irving are Brooklyn-bound, the spotlight is moving.

Wimbledon 2019: Serena Williams Shows Some Rust in 2019-07-03 00:33:10Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Ashleigh Barty also won Tuesday at the All England Club.

How the U.S. Beat England to Reach the 2019-07-03 00:31:54Alyssa Naeher’s big moment came at last: a save that thoroughly validated her status as the American goalkeeper. She was mobbed by teammates who

Mets Win With a Late Rally and End 2019-07-03 00:18:44The Yankees bullpen gave up three runs in the eighth inning and, in a rarity, the team lost after leading through seven innings.

Keeping Cori Gauff Healthy and Sane 2019-07-03 00:00:02Tennis has long been known for its prodigies — and the cautionary tales that many of them tell.

‘This One Was Worth It’: Yankees Set Record 2019-07-02 20:02:23The Yankees spent more than $5 million on Dominguez, a 16-year-old prospect from the Dominican Republic. It’s the most they’ve ever spent

Nike and Kaepernick Back in Culture Wars After 2019-07-02 19:13:12The decision to pull the shoes, which came after the Nike brand ambassador Colin Kaepernick objected to the design, ignited debate on social media.

ABC News: Sports

LEADING OFF: HR Derby field coming, Clevinger back 2019-07-03 05:00:14LEADING OFF: MLB to announce HR Derby field, Clevinger back on hill for Cleveland, Carpenter out for Cards, Mats moved to Mets 'pen

Bauers, bullpen send Indians to 9-5 victory over 2019-07-03 04:40:20Jake Bauers had three hits and drove in three runs, the Cleveland bullpen bailed Trevor Bauer out of a late jam, and the Indians held on to beat the R

Angels earn emotional 9-4 win in Texas after 2019-07-03 04:40:14Baseball Capsules

American teen Gauff goes for another Wimbledon win 2019-07-03 04:33:29Gauff will try to follow up her upset win over Venus Williams

Grieving clubhouse: Tough for Angels, like teams before 2019-07-03 04:21:43Stanton speaks from experience with heart-felt advice for grieving Angels after in-season death of a teammate

Bobrovsky says he came to Florida to win 2019-07-03 03:51:08'It's all about the Cup': Bobrovsky arrives in Florida, says he's ready to lead Panthers to new heights

Ferrucci showing skill, rebuilding reputation in IndyCar 2019-07-03 03:48:38After a recent string of strong finishes in IndyCar, Santino Ferrucci is showing off the driving skill that was never really in doubt

Angels try to get handle on raw emotion 2019-07-03 03:43:42Mike Trout and the rest of the Los Angeles Angels are struggling to get a handle on the raw emotion after the death of 27-year-old teammate Tyler Skag

Turner drives in winning run, Nationals beat Marlins 2019-07-03 03:20:23Patrick Corbin pitched seven innings and Trea Turner drove in the winning run as the Nationals beat the Marlins 3-2

Beckham hits pinch-hit HR, Mariners beat Cards 5-4 2019-07-03 03:08:58Tim Beckham hit a pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning and the Seattle Mariners beat the St. Louis Cardinals 5-4

Walk this way: Dodgers beat D-backs 5-4 on 2019-07-03 02:55:43Cody Bellinger's bases-loaded walk _ the fifth in a row given up by Arizona's bullpen with two outs _ forced in the winning run in the ninth and hel

Mets rally in 8th again, beat Yankees 4-2 2019-07-03 02:34:27Michael Conforto busted out of his slump in a big way, hitting a two-run double that snapped an eighth-inning tie and lifted the New York Mets over th

FOXNews.com

Los Angeles Marathon runner, 70, who set record 2019-07-03 13:59:15A 70-year-old Los Angeles Marathon runner who set a record run for his age group during the event in March was disqualified Sunday after officials det

Ex-NFL QB Jared Lorenzen 'still very sick' as 2019-07-03 13:57:56Former NFL quarterback Jared Lorenzen was “fighting for his life” while battling kidney and heart issues as well as an infection and his f

Reilly Opelka, 21, upsets three-time Grand Slam champion 2019-07-03 13:22:36The No. 22-seeded Stan Wawrinka lost his second-round match at Wimbledon to a 21-year-old American tennis player Wednesday.

Dad of Georgia Bulldogs QB D'Wan Mathis says 2019-07-03 13:19:21The father of Georgia Bulldogs quarterback D’Wan Mathis is praising the school medical staff for sending him to the hospital immediately after h

Charges dropped in Phillies' Herrera domestic assault case 2019-07-03 13:08:41Domestic assault charges against Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Odubel Herrera were dismissed Wednesday after his girlfriend declined to press charg

Boston Celtics' Romeo Langford seen shooting with ping-pong 2019-07-03 13:01:15Boston Celtics rookie Romeo Langford is working hard to get his shooting form back months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his th

Body of missing Swiss soccer player Florijana Ismaili, 2019-07-03 12:50:26The body of Swiss soccer player Florijana Ismaili was found Tuesday after she was reporting missing following a “swimming accident” on a l

Washington Nationals' Patrick Corbin wears No. 45 to 2019-07-03 12:45:32Washington Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin wore No. 45 on Tuesday night in honor of his late friend, Tyler Skaggs, who died suddenly at a Texas hotel

White House announces presidential delegation to attend Women's 2019-07-03 11:10:27The White House on Wednesday announced it is sending a presidential delegation to the Women’s World Cup final where the U.S. will take on the wi

Air Force veteran touts new shoe to honor 2019-07-03 10:13:40Amid the controversy surrounding Nike scrapping plans for an American flag-themed sneaker, a U.S. Air Force veteran announced a new shoe he

Megan Rapinoe expects to be ready for Women's 2019-07-03 10:03:03U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe was stunningly absent from the team’s 2-1 victory over England in the World Cup semifinal on Tuesda

California Gov. Newsom reminds Nike his state is 2019-07-03 09:33:02California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday praised Nike for scrapping a sneaker release that featured a Betsy Ross flag and said the state was “ope

Sports - The Huffington Post

Tyler Skaggs Is Remembered In Heartbreaking MLB Tributes 2019-07-02 06:39:11Angels superstar Mike Trout called Skaggs, who died suddenly in a hotel room, a great teammate and friend. "We love you."

Tyler Skaggs, Los Angeles Angels Pitcher, Dead At 2019-07-01 17:11:21The team's game against the Texas Rangers has been canceled.

Cori 'Coco' Gauff, Youngest Qualifying Wimbledon Player, Defeats 2019-07-01 14:30:56At only 15, Cori "Coco" Gauff took on the five-time Wimbledon champion in a historic match.

MMA Fight Ruled No Contest Due To 'Tarantino 2019-07-01 12:06:02A welterweight bout between Ross Houston and Nicolas Dalby made the ref see red — too much of it.

Kevin Durant And Kyrie Irving Are Joining Brooklyn 2019-07-01 08:00:49NBA followers reacted to the jaw-dropping news on Twitter.

Megan Rapinoe's World Cup Goal Celebration Is Now 2019-06-29 08:10:02The way the U.S. women’s national soccer team star celebrated scoring against France in Friday's quarterfinals victory is going viral.

U.S. Soccer Team Beats France In Women's World 2019-06-28 16:53:32The U.S. women are now headed to the semifinals to face England.

U.S. Fans March To Women's World Cup Match 2019-06-28 16:45:00Ahead of the quarterfinals against France, fans shouted support for players’ struggle to be paid the same as their male counterparts.

A Pivotal Women's World Cup Match For The 2019-06-28 12:47:39A win for France would establish it as a world power, and help bring even more attention to women's soccer at home.

Sources: LeBron James Giving Anthony Davis The No. 2019-06-27 14:51:49The league has been notified of the pending jersey change.

Girl Hit By Foul Ball Cracked Skull And 2019-06-27 11:40:41A lawyer informed the Houston Astros that the 2-year-old's family has retained him amid continuing concerns for fan safety.

Joe Namath Had Sex With Stranger The Night 2019-06-26 13:35:16The former Jets quarterback told Howard Stern that an unfamiliar woman knocked on his hotel door after curfew.

Reuters: Sports News

Nationals ace Scherzer goes on paternity list 2019-07-03 19:35:03Washington ace Max Scherzer was placed on the paternity list prior to the Nationals' Wednesday game against the Miami Marlins.

Argentine soccer giant River opens stadium to homeless 2019-07-03 19:06:39Argentine soccer club River Plate opened the doors of its Monumental stadium on Wednesday to give shelter to people living on the streets, as temperat

Netherlands reach first World Cup final with extra-time 2019-07-03 19:04:03A long-range strike from Jackie Groenen sent European Champions the Netherlands into their first women's World Cup final as they edged Sweden 1-0 aft

Dutch star Martens hopes to make final despite 2019-07-03 19:02:26The Netherlands reached the women's World Cup final with a 1-0 extra-time win over Sweden on Wednesday achieved without their star player, midfielder

Bogaerts, Lowe, Berrios named as AL All-Star replacements 2019-07-03 18:59:18Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe and Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios were named as i

Angels All-Star La Stella diagnosed with broken tibia 2019-07-03 18:32:26The Los Angeles Angels announced Wednesday that All-Star second baseman Tommy La Stella has a fractured right tibia and will miss eight to 10 weeks.

Teenager Gauff backs up Venus win to reach 2019-07-03 18:09:28American 15-year-old Cori "Coco" Gauff showed her stunning first-round defeat of Venus Williams was no flash in the pan as she outclassed Magdalena

Wimbledon ready to roll out green carpet for 2019-07-03 18:08:24Andy Murray left a string of broken hearts with his decision to hook up with Serena Williams in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon and Victoria Azarenka h

Best quotes and fact of the day at 2019-07-03 18:07:51A selection of the some of the best quotes and facts from the third day at Wimbledon on Wednesday:

Athletics: Knee injury puts Van Niekerk's world championships 2019-07-03 17:50:40South African world record holder Wayde van Niekerk's defence of his 400 metres world title could be in jeopardy after a knee injury.

White Sox overpower Tigers in DH opener 2019-07-03 17:39:45Plenty of extra-base power and a pitcher making his major league debut helped the Chicago White Sox continue their climb towards the .500 mark on Wedn

Regular as clockwork, Djokovic eases into Wimbledon third 2019-07-03 17:32:00Novak Djokovic trails Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal in many of the game's most important metrics, but when it comes to consistently reaching the third


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.