LaMelo Ball has officially ended all hopes of playing at the collegiate level.
The youngest of the three Ball brothers, who said earlier this year that he still planned to attempt to play in college next season, will be playing overseas next season in either Australia or China, his dad, LaVar, said on Sunday — foregoing any long-shot attempt at regaining his NCAA eligibility.
LaVar Ball on where LaMelo Ball will play, next season: “He’s definitely going overseas... either Australia or China.” pic.twitter.com/5DZeRjpCe8— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) April 1, 2019
“I’m going to let you know the plan now, so everyone can just stop,” LaVar said. “In college, I already know what they were about to do. Like, ‘We’re going to investigate. We’re not going to let him play until we let him play. We’re not going let you do all that big-mouth talking and then we’re going to hold him back and a whole year go by.’
“The G League, I’m not going to let no 28, 29-year-old dudes tee off on him and try to make a name for himself, so he’s definitely going overseas.”
LaMelo hired an agent and left high school to play professionally in Lithuania with his brother, LiAngelo, which, along with his involvement with the Big Baller Brand, put his NCAA eligibility in serious jeopardy. Despite him being a five-star prospect, college programs have, for the most part, stayed away from LaMelo, too.
The announcement is in stark contrast to what LaMelo said last month, when he said he was “going, for sure” to play in college. He said he talked to multiple programs then, too, including USC and Kansas. Had he continued to pursue NCAA eligibility, he was likely going to have a tough, lengthy legal battle ahead of him.
LaMelo — who was pulled off the Lithuanian team with his brother over a coaching dispute — is back in the United States playing for the Spire Institute, an elite basketball-focused high school in Ohio.
So instead of attempting to play in the United States next year, it sounds like LaMelo will be joining either the Australian National Basketball League or a league in China, both of which offer lucrative deals for players like LaMelo.
If nothing else, this route at least ensures that LaMelo will be on the court somewhere next year instead of in the midst of a legal battle with the NCAA.
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