In the wake of his indefinite suspension for shoplifting in China with teammates Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, freshman LiAngelo Ball is leaving UCLA to pursue an NBA career.
“He’s out of there. I’m not sitting back and waiting,” LiAngelo’s father LaVar Ball told ESPN. “We get back over here and the consequences were even stiffer than China. So basically they’re in jail here.”
“He’s not transferring to another school,” added LaVar. “The plan is now to get Gelo ready for the NBA draft. I’m going to make him way better for the draft than UCLA ever could have.”
UCLA head coach Steve Alford said he accepted the freshman’s decision to leave.
“We learned today of LiAngelo Ball’s intention to withdraw from UCLA,” Alford said via a statement. “We respect the decision he and his family have made, and we wish him all the best in the future.”
Now the question for LiAngelo — who is not high on any experts’ 2018 NBA Draft boards – is what happens next.
He could go overseas (highly unlikely after the China debacle), go to the G League, or just train on his own this year for the Draft.
SBNation’s Tim Cato likes the G League pootion for LiAngelo.
“Ball could play against second-tier basketball talent, even players who are currently signed to NBA teams [in the NBAGL],” Cato wrote. “He wouldn’t have to leave the country and could maybe even stay close to home.”
“A G-League team would bring him in to help sell tickets,” Cato added. “It’s a win-win scenario.”
The 6-5 LiAngelo Ball, ESPN’s No. 41 SF in the 2017 high school class and younger brother of Lakers’ 2017 No. 2 overall pick Lonzo Ball, averaged 33.8 points last season for Chino HS (CA), leading the team to a 30-3 record.
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