Last month, LaMelo Ball was left off of the 42nd annual McDonald’s All-American game rosters in favor of players ranked lower than him by ESPN to the surprise of many high school basketball fans. However, Ball had already been ruled ineligible by a member of the voting committee in November, so his omission wasn’t all that shocking.
Ball’s latest snub is a little more of a head scratcher.
The rosters for the Allen Iverson Roundball Classic were released on Thursday and Ball’s name wasn’t among the 24 players that were selected for the game, though SPIRE Institute (Geneva, Ohio) teammate Rocket Watts Jr. was on the list:
— Allen Iverson Roundball Classic (@iversonclassic) February 21, 2019
Watts is ranked No. 29 in ESPN’s top 100 for the class of 2019. Ball’s former teammate at Chino Hills, Onyeka Okongwu, was also named to the roster after not being invited to participate in the McDonald’s All-American game.
Okongwu is ranked No. 17 in his class, four spots behind Ball, though Okongwu is No. 21 in the Chosen 25 and was a Pacific region Midseason Player of the Year nominee (Ball plays in the midwest and is not in the Chosen 25).
Midseason POY candidates: Midwest region
But while Watts and Okongwu are the most notable players that were ranked below Ball to make the rosters, they’re far from the only ones. Here are how some of the prospects that were invited rank compared to Ball, per ESPN:
13. Lamelo Ball
24. C.J. Walker
26. D.J. Carton
27. Cassius Stanley (Note: No. 16 in the Chosen 25)
41. Terry Armstrong
So why was Ball left off of yet another high school All-Star roster?
It’s highly likely that several players were concerned that playing with Ball would jeopardize their eligibility in high school and possibly college. That’s why Cole Anthony, who was selected to play in the Iverson Classic, and Oak Hill backed out of their game with Spire Institute this season, according to Anthony (via Ballislife):
“I hear it a lot. When I hear something dumb, something uneducated, I just ignore it … The real reason is if we would have played them, we wouldn’t have been able to qualify for GEICO nationals. So, there was just no point in that. We’re not gonna sacrifice that for a game. Like, that’s not even worth it. The whole reason I came to school (at Oak Hill) was to win GEICO. Why would I sacrifice that?”
Anthony, the No. 1 player in the Chosen 25, is ranked second on the ESPN list behind James Wiseman, who was also left off of the Iverson Classic roster.
Expect this to be a theme with Ball and the other big high school showcases that are coming up, including, but not limited to, the upcoming Jordan Brand Classic.