Ball is now on Jor­dan’s radar

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - JO­CE­LYN AIRTH NBL, Ex­clu­sive

THE mes­sage to Michael Jor­dan couldn’t be any clearer: do what­ever you can to draft “once in a gen­er­a­tion” su­per­star LaMelo Ball.

Ball’s his­toric per­for­mance for the Illawarra Hawks on Mon­day night came in front of the man tak­ing notes for Jor­dan, the great­est player of all time who also hap­pens to be the owner of strug­gling fran­chise the Char­lotte Hor­nets.

Ball, 18, be­came the youngest player in NBL his­tory to notch a triple-dou­ble in an over­time win over the Cairns Taipans. Ball slot­ted a three­p­ointer to send the game into over­time, just me­tres away from Hor­nets GM Mitch Kupchak, who was in Wol­lon­gong to get a close-up view of Ball’s skills.

Ball is bat­tling the like of James Wise­man and An­thony Ed­wards at the top of the NBA draft class, with his high­lights from Mon­day’s game al­ready gen­er­at­ing more than seven mil­lion views on­line.

Golden State War­riors gen­eral man­ager Bob My­ers is also re­port­edly plan­ning a trip to Aus­tralia in com­ing weeks to watch Ball and fel­low NBA draft hope­ful RJ Hamp­ton.

NBL com­men­ta­tor Corey ‘Homi­cide’ Wil­liams has no doubt that Ball is the fron­trun­ner the NBA’s No.1 pick next year. “Mitch Kupchak would have been sali­vat­ing at the mouth after leav­ing Wol­lon­gong that night, he is go­ing back to Michael Jor­dan and say­ing this is a gem right here,” Wil­liams said. “Six foot seven? And a point guard? This is a once in a gen­er­a­tion player we’re talk­ing about. ”

Wil­liams and praised the teenager’s for­mi­da­ble work ethic. “Just look at his pass­ing abil­ity, his abil­ity to cre­ate for him­self and oth­ers, to make the right de­ci­sion off a pick and roll,” the com­men­ta­tor said.

“He’s in the gym shoot­ing, do­ing 2am ses­sions with his men­tor Jer­maine Jack­son, changed up his tech­nique a bit and it’s pay­ing off.”

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