Sources: UCLA star Lonzo Ball files draft paperwork, hires representation

Lonzo Ball led the Bruins to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament this season. (AP)
Lonzo Ball led the Bruins to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament this season. (AP)

UCLA star freshman Lonzo Ball, the possible No. 1 overall pick, has filed paperwork to enter the 2017 NBA draft and hired representation, league sources told The Vertical.

Ball has signed with Harrison Gaines, league sources said. Gaines is based in California and counts Ball as his first NBA client.

Ball’s father, LaVar, has become the family’s public voice and has pushed the family’s Big Baller Brand athletic apparel company. The family has also launched Ball Sports Group, sources said. In hiring Gaines, however, Lonzo Ball will have standard player representation. Gaines will be responsible for Ball’s future NBA contracts and team negotiations as a member of the Ball Sports Group, sources said.

Ball led the Bruins to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament this season, averaging 14.3 points, 6.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds in the tournament, and re-established a winning culture for the program. He also set the school’s single-season assist record with 274.

At 6-foot-6, Ball has exceptional size, athleticism and passing vision. NBA executives told The Vertical that Ball will compete for the top overall selection in the June draft, which includes prized prospects such as Washington’s Markelle Fultz, Kansas’ Josh Jackson, Duke’s Jayson Tatum, Kentucky’s Malik Monk and De’Aaron Fox, and North Carolina State’s Dennis Smith.

Ball is projected as the No. 2 overall pick in The Vertical’s latest mock draft from Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.

Ball could complete a unique shoe deal in the coming months because his representatives plan to pursue a major-company partner for the family brand, as opposed to a standard endorsement contract, sources said.

Ball, 19, averaged 14.6 points, 7.7 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals in 33 regular-season games for UCLA. He committed to the Bruins after starring at Chino Hills High School in California.

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