LaVar Ball announces LaMelo Ball plans to play overseas in China or Australia

Photo: Credit: Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

LaVar Ball announces LaMelo Ball plans to play overseas in China or Australia

Boys Basketball

LaVar Ball announces LaMelo Ball plans to play overseas in China or Australia

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Chino Hills High School and Spire Institute basketball star LaMelo Ball plans to play professionally overseas in China or Australia next season, his father, LaVar Ball, announced during halftime at the Big Baller Brand All American Game on Sunday.

Here’s the transcript of the interview in which LaVar broke the news (H/T @ABtheHERO)

“I’m going to let you know the plan know so everyone can just stop. With college, I already knew what they were about to do. ‘We’re going to investigate, we’re not going to let him play until we let him play, LaVar. We’re not going to let you do all that big mouth talking and then we’re going to hold him back and a whole year goes by.’ The G League … I’m not going to let no 28, 29-year-old dudes tee off on him. He’s trying to make a name for himself, so he’s definitely going overseas … to either Australia or China.”

Not too long ago, LaMelo expressed a desire to play college basketball at a top Division I school and even said that some of those schools expressed interest in him, including USC and the University of Kansas. He had also said that he was open to playing in the NBA G League with “the little program they got going on,” referring to the G League Select Contracts that will take effect this fall.

Most recently, there were reports that the 17-year-old was “leaning toward” returning for another year of prep school, so the announcement that he wasn’t going to do either of those three things is surprising, to say the least. What’s most surprising, though, is the logic behind LaVar wanting him to play overseas.

According to LaVar, he doesn’t want LaMelo playing in the G League because he doesn’t want him going up against more older and more physically mature athletes. However, assuming LaMelo plays in the CBA or the NBL, he will be playing against professional basketball players that are just as old, if not older. Andrew Bogut, who turned 34 in November, played in the NBL before re-signing with the Golden State Warriors earlier this month and he’s far from the only former NBA player that plays in the league.

The CBA is just as loaded with veteran talent, including Shabazz Muhammad, Brandon Bass and Michael Beasley, who played with LaMelo’s older brother Lonzo Ball on the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this season. Perhaps the plan is for LaMelo to play in a lower-division Chinese or Australian league, but if that’s the case, he might as well just redshirt for a G League team and get a taste of what life in the NBA is like before declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft.

It’s more likely that LaMelo’s decision was influenced by the opportunity to play with his older brother LiAngelo. LiAngelo entered his name in the G League player draft pool in November, but he didn’t get picked up by a team. Barring substantial improvement over the next few months, that will likely be the case next season as well.

In the CBA or NBL, though, LiAngelo’s youth, athleticism and celebrity status holds more value than it does in the G League. The same can be said of LaMelo, although he would probably get a look from a G League team before LiAngelo did.

Suffice to say, it’s going to be interesting to see how this all plays out and who’s involved.

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LaVar Ball announces LaMelo Ball plans to play overseas in China or Australia
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