Big Baller Brand is on its way down to Illawarra this year.
17-year-old and youngest of the Ball family, LaMelo Ball, announced on ESPN’s The Jump that he’ll be continuing his development and taking his talents to the Illawarra Hawks in the NBL.
“I’m trying to be the No. 1 pick for the 2020 draft.”
— ESPN (@espn) June 17, 2019
The Australian side has acquired the services of LaMelo on a two-year-deal as part of the NBL’s Rising Stars program, allowing him to play basketball regularly in a professional setting, rather than go down the traditional college route.
This makes him the second player from the U.S. to opt out of the college route to play professionally abroad; after R.J Hampton signed with the New Zealand Breakers last season.
LaMelo’s outspoken father LaVar Ball recently told Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s First Take that he expects his son to be the no.1 draft pick in 2020 because he believes “he’s that good.”
“[LaMelo] … is going to be the No. 1 pick in 2020. Cause he’s that good.”
—LaVar Ball pic.twitter.com/pasKHmsztW
— First Take (@FirstTake) June 17, 2019
LaVar infamously made controversy surrounding his eldest son Lonzo, proclaiming he would be able to beat Michael Jordan in a one-on-one pick up game in his ‘heyday’, and that his son is better than two-time MVP Steph Curry.
LaVar recently has been critical of the Los Angeles Lakers after they agreed to include his son Lonzo in a trade deal to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of their quest to sign Anthony Davis.
LaMelo career has taken quite a few twists and turns up until now. Once being committed to UCLA, The 6 ft 7 point guard played with Chino Hills High School before being withdrawn by his father to play for professional Lithuanian side Vytautas Prienu with his brother LiAngelo at the tender age of 16. LaMelo then made his way back to the United States to sign with junior team Los Angeles Ballers for one season, before joining SPIRE Institute in Ohio for his senior season.
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Featured image via Twitter @SportsCenter.