SLAM- The Ball family grew into a household name by doing and saying the unexpected. Unconventional move after unconventional move throughout 2017 kept basketball fans on their toes while drawing criticism from others. First it was Lonzo Ball opting to go the independent route by helping launch his family’s brand instead of signing a traditional sneaker contract with Nike, adidas or Under Armour. Then it was LaMelo Ball withdrawing from Chino Hills HS to be homeschooled. Then it was LiAngelo Ball withdrawing from UCLA to go pro overseas. That subsequently led to Melo and Gelo signing pro contracts in Lithuania with BC Vytautas Prienai. Then this past summer LaVar Ball launched the JBA league with the premise of offering top HS players an alternative to college, offering to pay players and touring throughout the United States during the summer and now throughout Europe in the fall.
Over the last couple of weeks LaMelo sat down with his family and after multiple discussions the decision was made for the 17-year-old stud to return to high school in the United States and rejoin his peers.
At the time Melo left Chino Hills HS last year he was ranked as the No. 7 recruit in the Class of 2019 and the clear-cut most famous high school hooper in the world. “I’m excited to return to school and rejoin my class on the court for my senior year,” says LaMelo. “Playing in international competition was a great experience. I learned and matured so much. I appreciated the JBA experience my dad provided for me. I think it helped my development. I can’t wait to play with my peers.”
LaMelo will enroll at Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio. He’ll be playing for the basketball program there this winter and is expected to make his debut on November 13 against national powerhouse La Lumiere in Indiana. Because Spire Institute is a prep school instead of a traditional high school, LaMelo will be eligible to play against other top prep schools.
Did LaVar do it again or did LaVar do it again? I remember when LaMelo dropped out of high school to play ball professionally in Lithuania and all the haters and small ballers (of which there are many) cried about how LaVar wasn’t acting in his kid’s best interests because he would be ineligible to play anywhere else in America. Nope. Turns out the Littlefinger of Fatherhood was three steps ahead of everybody yet again. Now Melo is back in school with some international seasoning and a JBA championship on his resume just in time to save Ohio basketball because LeBron left town to go play with Lonzo.
I know what you’re thinking too. “But Clem, he still is ineligible to play in college!”. Yeah I know that. But I also know that the G-League is now paying the best high school players in the country $125,000 to play for a year instead of whatever colleges are will to pay under the table (in addition to any hypothetical payments a college could have already made to lock up Melo and his older brothers. Hypothetically speaking of course). Is the number 7 recruit one of the best high school players? You tell me. I don’t know how many more times LaVar has to prove to us that he is playing 4D chess before people will accept that he always has a plan.
In the end however the most important thing is that we will now be getting more absolutely ridiculous LaMelo Ball high school basketball highlights!