The 17-year-old younger brother of NBA point guard Lonzo Ball and son of outspoken basketball father LaVar Ball, announced on ESPN in the USA that he would be the latest young American basketball star to play in the NBL.
Ball is likely to forego college after Monday's announcement, playing in Australia as he prepares for the 2020 National Basketball Association draft.
"My agents did a ton of research on the options I had to play this coming season, and Australia really made sense for me", Ball told ESPN. So, I heard they've got great strength and conditioning over there. I'm trying to be the No. 1 pick for the 2020 draft.
The NBL launched its "Next Stars" program past year, and is already seeing it pay dividends.
"LaMelo is one of the most exciting and talked about young players in the basketball world and he is going to create enormous interest wherever he goes while he's playing here", NBL Chief Executive Jeremy Loeliger said.
Stein noted that the Illawarra Hawks have been mentioned as a potential landing spot for Ball, although Next Stars contracts are negotiated with the NBL, which places players with teams, rather than Ball forcing his way onto a specific franchise.
He joins RJ Hampton among highly rated American prospect who'll take their talents to Australia next season. Last month, R.J. Hampton chose to play for the New Zealand Breakers of the NBL instead of spending one season playing college basketball. "But having RJ there only adds to the excitement".
"Pros have been through there and it's just best for me, I think".
"The NBL is an extremely high standard of competition and these kids might go on to become super stars, but when they're 18 or 19, there's a lot of development to do physically and in learning the game", he said. He is eligible for Thursday's NBA Draft.
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