UCLA basketball fans have got to be buzzing about the program’s future courtesy of the Ball brothers, as the Chino Hills High School trio and their state championship basketball team completed, what the Los Angeles Times called on March 27, “One of the greatest, and entertaining, prep basketball seasons ever.”
Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball all guided the Huskies to their improbable 35-0 season, finishing with a 70-50 pounding of Concord (Calif.) De La Salle for the CIF Open Division championship at Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena on March 26.
All three future Bruins showed every prep gymnasium why they’re ahead of the curve on the hardwood; plus why UCLA should be energized about their future arrivals in Westwood.
The oldest Lonzo – committed to UCLA since early 2014 – displayed the kind of passing accuracy and court vision that college basketball coaches normally crave out of point guards. And, in this era of the point guard-friendly Dribble Drive attack, Lonzo has a deadly pull-up jumper that can light up the scoreboard quick. He has one fan in scout.com’s Rob Harrington, who offered this assessment of Lonzo in Aug. 2015:
“Simply stated, Ball possesses truly superb talent both for the short and longer term. He’s a magnificent scorer and playmaker with prototypical size, athleticism, intelligence and incomparable competitive instincts,” Harrington said.
Middle brother LiAngelo, who graduates in 2017 and committed to UCLA in April 2015, is a similar scorer as a swingman. He’s equal to his older brother in size at 6-foot-5, 175-pounds and comes with long range accuracy. However, LiAngelo also goes into attack mode in the paint, as he throws his body into the key and finishes with a dunk or layup.
The youngest LaMelo, who committed to the Bruins’ pledge as a 13-year-old in Aug. 2015, may be the shortest Ball brother at 5-foot-10. But like his older siblings, the rising freshman comes equipped with shooting touch and fearlessness. His parents started him out young on the court, as “Melo” played against 17-year-old kids at the age of 11 according to Gary Parrish of CBS Sports.
The siblings and their top ranked team executed the kind of hardwood dominance that would make Chino Hills look more like Kentucky or the Golden State Warriors. Chino Hills was rarely tested all season long, with margin of victories ranging from 20 to 50 points on any given night.
Unfortunately, UCLA head coach Steve Alford can’t have all three brothers next basketball season. Yet, getting the 5-Star Lonzo at Westwood first is a good start for Alford and the Bruins.
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