Comparisons to superstars are a dime a dozen for top young athletes, and names like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are thrown around far too often in basketball. They’re all unfair. With that aside out of the way, there’s a reason to cite LeBron when looking at one California pre-teen, not because of the style of his game, but his ability to dominate competition that is much older and more sophisticated than himself at a very young age.
The player in question is young LaMelo Ball, a rising eighth grader from Chino Hills, California. He is the youngest of three brothers, all of whom are seen as top-tier Division I basketball recruits, and it’s already looking like he could be the best … by far.
That’s saying something when you look at the Ball family in total. Lonzo Ball, the eldest brother, is a 6-foot-6 point guard for Chino Hills who has already committed to UCLA before his junior season of high school ball. LiAngelo Ball (6-foot-4) will be a sophomore at Chino Hills in the coming 2014-15 season and is seen as a bright prospect who, in all likelihood, could easily wind up with the Bruins as well.
All three of the Ball brothers can light up the net, but no one can compare with little LeMelo, who currently stands just 5-foot-8. Don’t worry about the height and just believe the hype; in one high school summer league game, LaMelo scored an incredible 29 points … while facing off against 16 and 17-year-olds.
LaMelo is just 12 years old. He’s going to grow and he’s going to keep improving. That is a very scary thought.
“It it truly incredible for a kid of his age and size t have the confidence to be in there and want to compete,” Chino Hills Coach Steve Baik told the Los Angeles Times. … “Everybody in his family says he’s going to be better than Lonzo and LiAngelo.”
Time will tell, and the rest of us can sit back and judge for ourselves. Few things should be more fun in the prep basketball seasons to come.