Chino Hills bas­ket­ball is a Ball fam­ily af­fair

Three broth­ers and one cousin will be play­ing to­gether soon for the Huskies.

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - ERIC SOND­HEIMER ON HIGH SCHOOLS eric.sond­heimer@la­ Twit­ter: @LATSond­heimer

“The cir­cus is com­ing” might be the ap­pro­pri­ate way to in­tro­duce the Chino Hills Huskies bas­ket­ball team next sea­son con­sid­er­ing the amount of in­ter­est the team is go­ing to gen­er­ate from fans and me­dia.

Start­ing this sum­mer, get ready for any­one and ev­ery­one with a cam­era to show up to watch three Ball broth­ers on the court at the same time. There’s also a fourth Ball, a cousin, who will be con­tribut­ing. Add to that play­ers who are 6 feet 8, 6-7 and 6-4 be­come el­i­gi­ble af­ter sit­ting out last sea­son. Chino Hills could be No. 1 in Cal­i­for­nia.

“We’re in the plan­ning stages how to go about it,” Coach Steve Baik said about deal­ing with the com­ing me­dia and fan frenzy ar­riv­ing at a gym near you.

First there’s Lonzo Ball, a 6-6 se­nior-to-be com­mit­ted to UCLA who’s the best point guard in Cal­i­for­nia and a pos­si­ble one-and­done player for col­lege. Then there’s 6-5 ju­nior-tobe LiAn­gelo Ball, an­other UCLA com­mit who’s not afraid to shoot from any­where. And ar­riv­ing in the mid­dle of June will be fresh­man LaMelo Ball, who one day could be the best Ball brother of all. There’s also the cousin, An­dre Ball, a sopho­more-to-be who showed plenty of po­ten­tial as a fresh­man.

“I think it’s a fun thing,” Baik said. “I feel the fam­ily will get a kick out of it. The kids have grown up play­ing to­gether. It won’t be any­thing new. They’re used to it.”

The Ball broth­ers fi­nally might get to play their true po­si­tions af­ter hav­ing to play a va­ri­ety of roles last sea­son. Be­com­ing el­i­gi­ble for the Huskies are 6-8 Shane Hop­kins, 6-7 Chazz Smith and 6-4 Eli Scott.

Also ar­riv­ing is 6-7 fresh­man Onyeka Okongwu, the younger brother of for­mer Chino Hills stand­out Nnamdi Okongwu, who died af­ter a skate­board ac­ci­dent in 2014.

Chino Hills isn’t go­ing to be the only team cre­at­ing ex­cite­ment in prep bas­ket­ball. South­ern Cal­i­for­nia is loaded with top teams for 2015-16.

Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, the Di­vi­sion V state cham­pion, will present a stiff chal­lenge to Chino Hills. Five starters are back and 6-8 Ira Lee, side­lined last sea­son be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury, will be re­turn­ing this sum­mer. Chino Hills and Sierra Canyon are en­tered in the Fair­fax sum­mer tour­na­ment June 22-27.

Los An­ge­les Cathe­dral has three play­ers com­mit­ted to Pac-12 Con­fer­ence pro­grams: Kobe Paras (UCLA), Lu­cas Siew­ert (Ari­zona State) and Mi­lan Ac­quaah (Wash­ing­ton State).

Tor­rance Bishop Mont­gomery loses Stephen Thomp­son Jr., but his brother, Ethan, is ca­pa­ble of tak­ing charge, and there’s more tal­ent with ju­nior-tobe Jor­dan Schakel and sopho­more-to-be David Sin­gle­ton.

River­side North, 24-4 last sea­son, re­turns vir­tu­ally its en­tire team, led by tal­ented point guard Dikymbe Martin. En­cino Crespi, the Di­vi­sion IV state cham­pion, is filled with top play­ers and is ex­pected to add Max Hei­deg­ger, a stand­out guard from two years ago. Mission Hills Ale­many re­turns the Mission League most valu­able player, Shac­quille Dawkins, plus 6-8 Daron Hen­son.

Don’t for­get about Santa Ana Mater Dei. De­nied a fifth con­sec­u­tive state cham­pi­onship af­ter an over­time loss in the Open Di­vi­sion fi­nal, the Mon­archs are plot­ting a re­turn trip, led by 6-10 M.J. Cage.

City Sec­tion cham­pion Fair­fax will have All-City guard Don­ald Gip­son, 6-7 de­fen­sive spe­cial­ist Babacar Thiom­bane at cen­ter and three-point shooter An­toine Mon­roe. Corona Cen­ten­nial will have 6-9 ju­nior Jalen Hill and 6-9 se­nior Ike Anig­bogu. L.A. Wind­ward is filled with top play­ers, led by guard Jalen Har­ris.

And just wait un­til all the trans­fers have moved around. There could be more top teams in the mak­ing.

Ge­naro Molina Los An­ge­les Times

LONZO BALL, a 6-foot-6 se­nior-to-be point guard, is among four fam­ily mem­bers who will play bas­ket­ball at Chino Hills High next sea­son.

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