LaMelo Ball, the brother of Los Angeles Lakers’ guard Lonzo Ball, has decided to skip college and prepare for the 2020 NBA Draft overseas. During his appearance on ESPN’s The Jump, Ball confirmed that he will play the upcoming season in Australia and that he agreed to a deal with Illawarra Hawks.
The news was also confirmed on the Hawks’ official social media profile.
“Having him in a Hawks jersey fits with the goal of cultivating the best young talent and making them great,” – said Illawarra owner Simon Stratford in a statement Tuesday. “It’s putting the club at the top of the list for future NBA stars.”
Ball is regarded as one of the top basketball prospects in the nation coming out of high school and is projected to be a high draft pick in 2020.
He is the second top U.S. prospect to go overseas, as guard R.J. Hampton decided to forgo his college eligibility and sign with the New Zealand Breakers last month. Hampton opted for the Breakers although he had offers from several top colleges in the nation including Kansas.
When asked about his motives to skip college and go to Australia, LaMelo Ball said that this move gives him a better opportunity to get prepared for the NBA.
“The NBL is a really solid league, with great coaches and players, and I am looking forward to putting all my focus and energy into basketball and getting to work,” – Ball added.
This won’t be the first professional basketball experience for Ball, as he played professionally with Lithuanian side Vytautas Prienai–Birštonas. He appeared in eight games during his time in Lithuania and averaged 6.5 points, 1.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.