While it seemed like the new high school coach for LaMelo Ball was all-in on his new point guard, perhaps his tune will change soon. It seems SPIRE Prep Academy in Ohio has run up against a spate of canceled games, most notably their Tuesday contest against powerhouse La Lumiere.
"We aim to put together as competitive a schedule as possible for our team, but we have never played against a team whose roster included any players who have played at the professional level," La Lumiere said in a statement, via Thomsen Reuters. "With the recent news that someone who has played professionally intends to play for SPIRE Academy, we are not comfortable moving forward with our game slated for next Tuesday against SPIRE."
La Lumiere isn't wrong. LaMelo has played professionally—even if it was against inferior competition in a bracingly cold environ that might as well be on the dark side of the moon in comparison to LaMelo's hometown of L.A. When family patriarch, Lavar, was asked about this pro issue after LaMelo listed a group of big-name colleges he'd like to attend during his introductory press conference, he claimed LaMelo wasn't compensated. We're assuming he meant he wasn't compensated while playing in Lithuania or Lavar's own Junior Basketball League. It sounds shady to us, and we don't run a high school basketball team.
Perhaps that's why La Lumiere isn't alone. Oak Hill Academy in Virginia has said they're canceling their Dec. 3 game against SPIRE to protect against eligibility issues surrounding LaMelo. Virginia scholastic rules say members—like Oak Hill—can only play nonconference games against schools that meet state rules. With LaMelo on the roster, they might not qualify. Teams are willing to cancel the contest rather than risk the consequences if LaMelo is ruled ineligible.
Lavar is right that amateur athletics are messed up in America, but he also might have sabotaged his youngest son's chances to follow his oldest brother in the NBA. However, Pennsylvania's Hill School played SPIRE on Saturday, where LaMelo scored 20 points and dished 13 assists.