October 2, 2017 at 8:37 PM
LaVar Ball has always had strong feelings about how the basketball careers of his sons should go, and in the case of Lonzo Ball becoming a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, he was correct about how it would go. It remains to be seen how the outspoken patriarch’s youngest son fares, but LaMelo Ball’s high school basketball career is apparently over after two years.
Citing disagreements with the basketball coach of Chino Hills (Calif.) High, LaVar Ball told reporters Monday that he was pulling LaMelo out of the school. The 16-year-old, listed as the 17th-best prospect in the national composite rankings at 247 Sports, will instead be home-schooled for the next two years and won’t play competitively again until his spring travel team gets underway.
“I’m not dealing with the coach over there,” LaVar Ball told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, referring to Chino Hills. “I’m not dealing with the administration over there. I don’t want no distractions on Melo.
“So therefore I’m going to home-school him and make him the best basketball player ever.”
According to Shelburne, Ball is frustrated that the new coach at Chino Hills, Dennis Latimore, wants to rein in the team’s offensive approach, one that has previously meshed with the philosophy of Ball, who coaches the travel team to maintain a fast pace and take a high volume of shots. All three of Ball’s sons, including UCLA freshman LiAngelo Ball, have played on the travel team and for Chino Hills, which went 35-0 two years ago and won a state championship.
“The coach made a comment the other day,” Ball told Shelburne. “He said, ‘All those 50 shots a game, that’s going to stop.’ ”
Ball said that he still plans to have LaMelo play for UCLA, like his older brothers, in 2019-20. However, there may be NCAA eligibility issues, given that LaMelo already has a signature shoe by the family’s company, Big Baller Brand.
Even if the teenager is deemed eligible, possibly after the company temporarily shelves his shoe, there will be questions about his skill level and ability to fit into college-level team concepts, assuming he only plays for his travel team and in summer showcases for the next two years.
Not surprisingly, though, Ball brought his trademark bravado to the topic. “It’s good for Melo,” the 48-year-old told the Los Angeles Times. “Less distractions. He just needs to focus.”
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