NBL buzz as Hawks get Ball rolling

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT -

SYD­NEY NBL coach Will Weaver pre­dicts a host of fu­ture NBA prospects to ar­rive on Aus­tralian shores af­ter the suc­cess of LaMelo Ball.

A record 17,513 crowd con­verged on Syd­ney’s Qu­dos Bank Arena to watch Ball and Illawarra go down fight­ing on Sun­day against the Kings.

Most fans ar­rived to catch a glimpse of Ball, an 18-year-old point guard pro­jected as a pos­si­ble No. 1 draft pick in next year’s NBA draft.

And the brother of New Or­leans Pel­i­cans star Lonzo Ball de­liv­ered for the Syd­neysiders, scor­ing 16 points with eight re­bounds and six as­sists. Weaver praised Ball for bounc­ing back af­ter a rough first half.

“What’s not to like?” Weaver said. “Com­posed, un­selfish. I’m ex­cited to see where he heads.”

Ball is one of three Amer­i­can im­ports by­pass­ing col­lege to join the league’s Next Stars pro­gram. The oth­ers are RJ Hampton and Terry Arm­strong.

Ball and Hampton are tipped to be picked in the top five. Asked whether he ex­pected more high school tal­ents to fol­low in Ball’s foot­steps, Weaver said: “Hell yeah.”

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