LaMelo Ball is a five-star point guard prospect.
He’s the type of athletic scorer and playmaker that normally draws the attention of Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas on the recruiting circuit.
Except he appeared to have burned those bridges as part of his dad LaVar Ball’s master plan to pull his brother LiAngelo out of UCLA and ship the two overseas to play professionally.
LaMelo was on track to be the third Ball brother to become a Bruin after Lonzo spent a season in Westwood before being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers.
LaMelo appeared to forfeit NCAA eligibility
This all happened after LiAngelo was caught shoplifting in China during a visit with UCLA and subsequently suspended from the team. Instead of facing the suspension, LiAngelo left the Bruins on LaVar’s behest to play in Lithuania with LaMelo, essentially ending any relationship the Balls have with the school.
But it sounds like LaMelo still has his sights set on playing in college. In the latest episode of the family’s web series “Ball in the Family,” LaMelo told Lonzo at the dinner table that he’s been recruited by Kansas and USC.
LaMelo: I’m ‘for sure’ going to college
“Oh I’m going, for sure now,” LaMelo said of college. “I actually talked to USC two days ago. I’m talking to KU.”
LaMelo is back in the United States after LaVar pulled him and LiAngelo off the Lithuanian squad over a coaching dispute.
He regained his prep eligibility and has been playing for the Spire Institute, an elite basketball-focused high school in Ohio.
Spire eligibility doesn’t equal NCAA eligibility
But just because LaMelo is allowed to play at Spire doesn’t mean the NCAA is going to grant him eligibility. LaMelo signed with an agent before joining the team in Lithuania, which appears to have ended his hopes of NCAA eligibility.
His high school eligibility status was a big enough concern for competing programs to cancel games with Spire because Ball had previously played as a professional. Spire, which acts as a basketball factory, is not governed by the Ohio High School Athletic Association and cited the fact that LaMelo never got paid in Lithuania as reason to allow him to play.
LaMelo facing likely legal battle
If LaMelo is seriously intent on playing in college, he has a legal battle ahead of him to argue for his eligibility, which appears to be a long shot.
And with USC and Kansas already both in hot water with the NCAA, it doesn’t seem in their best interest to be talking with LaMelo.
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