Ball is now on Jordan’s radar
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.”