LaMelo Ball’s overseas playing career appears to be over. Up next: the NBA.
The youngest Ball brother has reportedly decided to shut things down in the National Basketball League in Australia/New Zealand.
Ball, a potential top-five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, suffered a foot injury earlier in the season. The foot has reportedly healed, but he won’t return to the court in Australia.
“Melo’s foot is totally healed, but the doctor’s policy is if you’re out for six weeks, you must rehab for six weeks,” LaMelo’s manager, Jermaine Jackson, texted ESPN. “He’s starting court work tomorrow.”
Ball averaged 17 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.7 steals in 31 minutes per game this season. His team, the Illawarra Hawks, has six games left on its schedule.
LaMelo Ball’s time playing in the NBL is over. “Yeah he’s done,” his manager, Jermaine Jackson, told me this evening.
— Olgun Uluc (@OlgunUluc) January 16, 2020
Ball will now begin preparation for the NBA Draft. It’s going to be an interesting process…
Most NBA decision-makers did not have an opportunity to evaluate Ball in person during his time in Australia. Although several scouts told ESPN they feel Ball is the most talented prospect in the draft, he has a significant amount of work to do to convince teams he will reach his full potential, due to concerns about his reportedly erratic work ethic, potential distractions generated by his father, LaVar, and the foot injury that forced him to miss more than half this season.
Ball is projected to go somewhere inside the top five by most mock drafts.
👀 LaMelo Ball goes behind the back twice!!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) October 21, 2019
The 2020 NBA Draft is set to take place on Thursday, June 25.