No question now he’s a big baller. Charlotte Hornets rookie point guard LaMelo Ball is taking the NBA by storm. While drawing major acclaim across the association. The NBA’s third overall draft pick so far exceeding all expectations coming in.
A fantastic start
The journey has not been a smooth ride for him. Ball arrived with numerous stops along the way. The youngest son of empresario LaVar and Tina Ball expected to follow in his brothers’ footsteps. From Chino Hills High School in Southern California to UCLA and the famed Bruins basketball program.
He proved to be a phenomenon from early in his freshman year of high school. Ball soon turned heads by notching 92 points in a game during his sophomore season. Following that, things would take a very unexpected twist.
Big change of plans
Ball left Chino Hills at the outset of his junior year. Father LaVar set up a deal for LaMelo to play pro ball in Lithuania. He joined a Prienai team with older brother LiAngelo. As oldest brother Lonzo became the Los Angeles Lakers‘ first round draft choice in 2017.
In April 2018, several months after joining the Lithuanian Basketball League, Ball quit and returned home to the states. A brief stint in his dad’s fledgling Junior Basketball Association followed. After that he landed in Geneva, Ohio at SPIRE Academy.
Ball finished his senior year and signed a two-year contract with the Illawarra Hawks of Australia’s National Basketball League. This led to a vital stretch of growth and development for him as a player. Ball jumped from a curious type of prospect to a bonafide top 5 selection.
To such an extent even Hornets‘ boss Michael Jordan put his faith in the 19-year-old play maker. The 6’6″ sensation is more than living up to his part of the pact. Ball made an immediate impact on the court.
A huge impact
Six weeks into his rookie campaign, he was elevated to a starting role with Charlotte. Ever since February 1st, Ball has flourished. He’s averaged over 20 points with nearly seven assists and six rebounds per contest.
He also makes a difference on the defensive end. Ball is averaging almost two steals a game as a starter. Add his outstanding passing skills plus solid shooting numbers and Ball’s potential appears to be sky-high. MJ didn’t hesitate to heap praise on his protégé.
Jordan recently praised Ball for his tremendous progress this season. Jordan gave glowing reviews about Ball’s ability to adjust in the NBA. The whole organization is on obviously on board. General Manager Mitch Kupchak has openly raved of Ball as well.
Sky is the limit
The California native is clearly at the top of his class. Through the 2021 all-star break, Ball has emerged as a clear front runner for NBA rookie of the year honors. A dynamic talent that looks to possess those rare all-NBA qualities. One who may possibly guide a franchise to glory.
Does anything prevent his rapid ascent? How far can he take Charlotte? What will the future hold?