The youngest member of the Ball family is going back to high school. LaMelo Ball is state-side again and plans to enroll in Ohio's SPIRE Institute to play a senior season of high school hoops, Slam reports. He could be on the court playing against fellow 17-year-olds as early as next week, when SPIRE takes on prep behemoth La Lumiere in Indiana.
The move comes after a brutal sojourn overseas last season with Lithuanian squad, BC Vytautas Prienai. That gig blew up, as anyone who has been around Lavar Ball would have predicted. Over the summer, LaMelo—now standing at 6'7"—joined older brother LiAngelo Ball in the Junior Basketball Association (JBA) his father started, then he toured the world with a select group after the inaugural season ended. His tenure with the JBA All-Stars included an ejection for fighting in the country where his zany year out of high school started.
When he left Chino Hills, LaMelo was considered the No. 7 player in the 2019 class, and the plan—since he's already gone professional—is to play against other prep schools with SPIRE, to show scouts how he fares against kids his own age. Then, he's eyeing the 2020 NBA Draft, when he'll first be eligible. Hopefully, he has better luck than his brother, LiAngelo, who left UCLA without playing a game after stupidly stealing some sunglasses on a trip to China. The middle Ball brother went undrafted last summer, and is looking to catch on with a G-League squad this upcoming season.
"I’m excited to return to school and rejoin my class on the court for my senior year," LaMelo tells Slam. "Playing in international competition was a great experience. I learned and matured so much. I appreciated the JBA experience my dad provided for me. I think it helped my development. I can’t wait to play with my peers."