Published: Thu, June 20, 2019
Sports | By Brett Lawson

LaMelo Ball joining Illawarra Hawks of Australia's NBL

LaMelo Ball joining Illawarra Hawks of Australia's NBL

The youngest of the Ball brothers is scheduled to play professional basketball.

Ball, who played at Spire Academy in OH last season after returning from Europe, is the second high school prospect to choose the NBL. Hampton signed with the NBL's New Zealand Breakers in late May.

LaMelo, a top draft prospect for the 2020 NBA Draft has signed a one-year deal as part of the NBL's Next Stars program.

Ball played for Lithuanian team BC Vytautas in 2018, averaging 6.5 points and 13 minutes per game.

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith threw the conversation to Qerim, who said she was "switching gears" with the next question, to which Ball responded, "You can switch gears with me any day".

Traditionally, players have chosen to spend their "one-and-done" year at a college - where they are not paid a cent, but receive free tuition as part of their basketball scholarships.

"We couldn't be more excited to have LaMelo coming to join the NBL this season", NBL CEO Jeremy Loeliger told ESPN.

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Next year I'm taking my talents to the NBL. Jackson - who played 130 games over five seasons in the National Basketball Association and also played internationally - will accompany Ball to Australia to assist him with the transition. "I think it's a real win-win situation for everyone involved".

"With the likes of LaMelo and recently signed Sam Froling, we believe we're well on our way to achieving that goal".

His father, LaVar Ball, said in late March that LaMelo would play professionally in "either China or Australia" next season instead of playing college basketball and running the risk of being investigated for breaking the NCAA's amateurism rules, while also ruling out the G-League as a possible next stop on his youngest son's journey to the league. Scouts will want to evaluate his thin frame, unorthodox shooting mechanics, casual style of play and inconsistent effort defensively.

Lonzo Ball isn't the only member of his family who could be on the move this month.

LaMelo Ball is one of the top Class of 2019 players, although he's unlikely to play in college.

"I think it's the best route for me, I'm trying to be the No. 1 pick for the 2020 draft".

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