LaMelo Ball Announces That He Signed 2-Year Deal with Australia's NBL

Arnold Nichols
June 20, 2019

His father, LaVar Ball, said in late March that LaMelo would play professionally in "either China or Australia" next season instead of playing college basketball and running the risk of being investigated for breaking the NCAA's amateurism rules, while also ruling out the G-League as a possible next stop on his youngest son's journey to the league.

On Monday, June 17, the youngest of the Ball brothers appeared on ESPN's The Jump to announce the next chapter of his career.

Also playing in the NBL will be ESPN's fifth-rated prospect from this year's USA high school talent, R.J. Hampton, who will play for the New Zealand Breakers next season.

According to ESPN, Ball agreed to a two-year deal with the Hawks.

United States basketball player Lamelo Ball takes part in his first training session in Prienai, Lithuania, where he will play for the Vytautas club on January 5, 2018.

"My experience in Lithuania will help make the adjustment easier", Ball told ESPN.

LaMelo's decision to play in Australia follows a recent trend, as some top high school prospects have chosen to play professionally overseas rather than in college.

Ball's social media audience presents a unique opportunity for the NBL to gain more widespread global popularity.

"I had already chose to play in the NBL prior to RJ's decision, I just hadn't yet narrowed down the team", Ball said. Then on the court, pros have been through there, so I think it's all gonna help. He is now the Editor-in-Chief of Campus Sports.

"I just think it is the best route for me". The Hawks play in Wollongong, a blue-collar, working-class city of 300,000 people located 55 miles south of Sydney.

The NBL launched its "Next Stars" program past year, and is already seeing it pay dividends. "It has been a goal of the club to provide pathway opportunities for our young talent to play in the National Basketball Association".

"We're very excited to have LaMelo join the team", Illawarra General Manager Mat Campbell said.

LaMelo is now playing in the famed Drew League in Los Angeles. I'm trying to be the No. 1 pick for the 2020 draft.

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