LaVar Ball’s oversized influence on basketball continues, and it impacts on a micro level in his own backyard, too.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Chino Hills, the basketball program that Ball’s three sons Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo helped put on the map, is looking for a new basketball coach after apparently splitting with first-year coach Stephan Gilling on Thursday.
Gilling led Chino Hills to a 30-3 record in his lone season leading the program, though the Huskies fell earlier than expected in the CIF state playoffs.
Ball told the Times that he was not aware of a coaching change and did not think the school would change coaches because of him. Athletic director Jeff Schuld has previously said that the school “absolutely stood by Coach Gilling” in the war of words with Ball.
The elder Ball took multiple shots at Gilling via public channels during the season, including direct broadsides such as “Gilling can’t coach,” and, “My boys don’t want to play for him.”
Gilling told For The Win of an incident at an event in Las Vegas when he felt LaVar Ball undermined him, telling at players from the stands to play defense differently than Gilling was instructing.
“I’m just trying to be positive,” Gilling said. “I’m not all that worried about what he’s saying, but I want to let the people know that it was tough throughout the whole year, starting with that one game.
“It was that much harder to bring the guys together after that game. Other than that, I’m fine. I came into this position ready to coach and do what I do. I’m still ready to continue coaching in the future for sure.”
The public nature of Ball’s feud with Gilling could make it difficult for the school to find a replacement, despite the ability to play with LaMelo Ball for two more seasons.
For his part, Steve Baik — who led Chino Hills to a USA TODAY Super 25 national title before departing for Fairfax following the 2015-16 season — was unequivocally supportive of Gilling when reached for comment by the Times.
“I am disappointed,” he said. “Stephan is a guy who came in understanding the whole dynamics of the job. I don’t think this was a fair shake.”