Illawarra keen to see what Ball will bring
LAMELO Ball is still learning to play “organised basketball” but otherwise the Illawarra Hawks are poised to jump on his back as see where the rising teenage star takes them this NBL season.
Ball is emerging as the league’s biggest attraction, even though he’s playing for the bottom-placed Hawks.
The 18-year-old from California became the first player to snag back-to-back NBL triple-doubles for 14 years when his team went down 91-79 to the New Zealand Breakers on Saturday.
His 25-point haul was short of the 32-point display against Cairns five days early but was no less spectacular.
And he did it in front of a hoard of scouts who reportedly regard Ball as their top choice for next year’s NBA draft.
Illawarra coach Matt Flinn said coaching Ball had been an invigorating experience through 12 games and he’s expecting the highlight reels to keep being filled. However, he also anticipates the fleet-footed guard will continue to evolve as a team player, with some shortcomings exposed at times in Auckland.
“There were times when the ball sort of stuck a little bit and we didn’t get it through hands,” Flinn said. “That’s a learning curve for him, playing so many minutes and having the ball in his hands so much.”