LaMelo Ball has generated a lot of headlines since announcing that he would skip college basketball and jump straight into the Australian National Basketball Association ahead of the NBA 2020 draft.
Fast forward five months since its announcement on ESPN’s “The Jump,” and Ball now sits near or at the top of many symbols.
“It certainly (feels) good,” Ball said in an exclusive interview at Foot Locker QV in Melbourne. “(I’ve) been working on it for a minute now and pretty much just trying to grow from there.”
While there were many question marks over the passing of the ball to Hawks Illawarra on the other side of the world, the 18-year-old gave up his numbers to speak up and become the youngest player in NBL history to record a triple-double with a career high 32 points , 13 assists and 11 rebounds on the Hawks’ Nov. 114-106 during the Cairns Taipans.
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He followed with another triple-double in his next game, recording 25 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists against fellow RJ Hampton and New Zealand Breakers.
With the teenage star sending social media around the world in overdrive with every deep 3-pointer and flashy help, Ball says many of his peers back home whether in college or high school had their heads off showstopping games in the NBL and the potential he puts into playing overseas to prepare for the NBA draft.
“There are definitely (there are) many questions,” Ball said in a chat with his friends at home. “I feel that people in the future will start doing it.” (It was) almost all good reviews. “
Ball and Hampton arrived in Australia as the stars of the Next Stars program, designed to give presumptive designers the opportunity to pay to grow in a professional environment. Six months into the plan, the ball gives NBL the opportunity to work full-time playing and learn the ropes to be a professional athlete.
“I like being different. College is not for everyone, I think, so this path can help you do other things you want to do,” Ball said. “It’s a big league, which says it’s the second (-best) league, the NBA players who were in the NBA and how people are trying to get to the NBA.
After his first triple double show, they shot video footage of Ball at 2am along with trainer Jermaine Jackson and his Hawks Sunday Dech partner, giving an insight into the teenager’s work ethic.
2 US EXCLUSIVE CONTENTS:
Jermaine Jackson teaching footwork skills come off screen w @ MELOD1P & Sunday Dech in the morning of the game. He made these moves in the game making history as the youngest player to get a Triple Double 32p 11r 13a 2to 4/7 3pt fga and a W In OT. pic.twitter.com/BWRYRUy8Uq
– Corey “Homicide” Williams (@humicide) November 25, 2019
“Just a little bit of grinding never stops,” Ball said. “You know you always have room for improvement, so after having a good game, go back there and just keep working. Quite simply trying to improve everything, you know it’s almost the main thing, just going for it every single day.”
Basketball is Ball’s family business, and as LaMelo continues his preparations for the NBA 2020 draft, his big brother and today’s Pelicans point guard Lonzo led him every step of the way.
Lonzo, who was selected by the Lakers as the No. 2 overall pick in the N17 Draft, entered the league with a level of LaMelo-like advertising campaign.
“They talk to him almost every day,” LaMelo said. “He always takes my advice” (He) more or less (says), “Keep your head up, do what you want to do and what you feel is best, follow this.”