After LaVar Ball pulled ESPN No. 7 ranked high school junior and son LaMelo out of Chino Hills HS (CA) over the summer due to disagreements with the coach, it meant this season would be the first without a Ball on the team in five years.
LaMelo, a 6-2 point guard, averaged 26.7 points last season for Chino Hills, including pouring in an eye-popping 92 points in a 146-123 win over Los Osos in February.
His older brother 6-5 LiAngelo Ball, ESPN’s No. 41 SF in the 2017 high school class, averaged 33.8 points last season for Chino Hills, leading the team to a 30-3 record.
And oldest brother Lonzo Ball, the Lakers’ 2017 No. 2 overall pick, led USA Today No. 1 ranked Chino Hills to a 35-0 record and the California CIF State Open Division Championship two years ago.
So getting used to life without a Ball brother has been an adjustment for Chino Hills, which is 3-3 this season.
But the players say the team will be fine.
“People think that because we don’t have any Ball brothers that we’re not good,” ESPN No. 56 Jr PG Phaquan Davis told USA Today. “But we’re a really good team. Things are just different now.”
Chino Hills’ 6-8 forward and ESPN No. 16 Jr Onyeka Okongwu agrees that the squad will be ok.
“Melo is a star and a phenom and of course we miss him,” said Okongwu. “But we’re gonna be fine without him, we just have to figure it out.”
“This year the ball gets moved around more and everyone gets touches now,” added Okongwu. “I’m getting the ball more than I have in the past. There are pluses and minuses to it. I’m just not used to losing this much, this early.”
Okongwu poured in 33 points in the team’s 85-81 loss to Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, AZ) on Friday.
He has college offers from the likes of Kansas, UCLA, Cal, and TCU.
Life moves own without the Ball brothers.
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