LaMelo Ball, the youngest of the basketball-playing brothers from Chino Hills, is in his first season with the Charlotte Hornets and a leading candidate for NBA rookie of the year.
From the moment he broke onto the national stage as a 14-year-old starter at Chino Hills High, he was in the spotlight.
From the widespread social media following, to the hype surrounding his family’s Big Baller Brand and their “Ball in the Family” show on Facebook Watch, to his globe-trotting teenage years, there was much fanfare.
As he developed into a 6-foot-6 point guard with superior court vision, a deft passing touch and the ability to collect rebounds to ignite fastbreaks that ended with flashy finishes and no-look passes, NBA scouts took notice.
He announced his presence on the amateur basketball scene the previous June when, as a 13-year-old coming out of middle school, he scored 27 points in Chino Hills’ 98-51 defeat of Pasadena Muir during a summer league game.
Complete coverage: Chino Hills and the Ball family
An in-depth look at the fascinating relationship between LaVar Balll and his family with the city of Chino Hills.
The trio of Ball brothers started along with former USC star Onyeka Okongwu, a rookie now with the Atlanta Hawks, and Eli Scott to lead the Chino Hills Huskies to a35-0 state championship season in 2015-16. In his sophomore season, Ball scored 92 points in a game.
Ball began to build his body of work after two seasons at Chino Hills by heading to Lithuania with middle brother LiAngelo, who had left UCLA following a shoplifting scandal for which he was suspended, to play professionally for Vytautus Prienai. He averaged 6.5 points, 2.4 assists and 1.1 rebounds in eight games of the 2017-18 season. His play was hampered by an undisclosed back injury and eventually Ball’s father pulled his sons from the team.
After returning to the states, Ball headed to SPIRE Academy in Geneva, Ohio, for a 33-game season in 2018-19. He averaged 26.7 points for the private prep school.
Ball spent the fall of 2019 in the Australian pro league, where his profile as a top NBA prospect grew. In 12 games with the Illawarra Hawks, Ball averaged 17.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.6 steals before an injury to his left foot sidelined him for the rest of season.
Ball was selected third overall in the 2020 draft by Charlotte. LaMelo and elder brother Lonzo became the first set of brothers to be chosen in the top three of their respective drafts. LaMelo is averaging 15.8 points, 6.3 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 1.6 steals through 38 games heading into a matchup with the Lakers on Thursday night.
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