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Why You Might Know Him
Lonzo Ball began his college career this season as one of the most hyped freshmen in the nation, in part because of his prior success at Chino Hills High School, which he led to the No. 1 ranking in the nation, and in part because of his father Lavar Ball’s outspoken admiration. The 6-foot-6 UCLA point guard had no problem living up to the pressure, as he averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game and was named Wayman Tisdale Freshman of the Year. Many believe that Ball is the top distributor of his draft class, which is no surprise after he led the NCAA in assists by a mile.
Possessions Scouted from 2016-17 Season:
OFFENSE: 20.1 percent of possessions
DEFENSE: 22.7 percent of possessions
Lonzo Ball is a pass-first point guard who makes his teammates better. He makes the game look easy and plays with great poise on the court. The ball is a part of him on the court. He is a supremely talented passer who can make every pass in the book with soft touch. He sees things before they happen and sets his teammates up for success. He has outstanding anticipation and vision. He’s decisive on the court, be it with a move he’s making, with a pass he’s making, or with a shot he’s taking. Ball has a quick first step and covers a lot of ground quickly. He drives with leverage and strength. Ball has an unorthodox release, but he has a beautiful follow through. It works for him, and I don’t anticipate it will result in his shot being blocked more often than a normal release. He is an outstanding finisher in the paint with both hands. He is a very good overall athlete who has the potential to be a high-level defender. He has great feet and hips and lateral agility. He gets around screens at a high level. His only weaknesses defensively are that he doesn’t trust his teammates enough, and he doesn’t give great effort when he’s off the ball. If he corrects those two issues and finishes all defensive possessions, he could become the best player to come out of this draft class.
Lonzo Anderson Ball was born Oct. 27, 1997 in Anaheim, California to LaVar and Tina Ball. His father played college basketball at Washington State and Cal State Los Angeles, before going on to become a professional football player for the London Monarchs of the World League of American Football. His mother also played college basketball at Cal State Los Angeles. Ball began playing basketball at the age of two. He, along with his two brothers LiAngelo and LaMelo, were all coached by their father until they reached high school. Ball attended Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, California and played four years for the varsity basketball team. He committed to UCLA as just a sophomore, and his younger brothers later followed in his footsteps by committing to the Bruins’ program as well. During his junior season, Ball averaged 25.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 5.0 blocks and 5.0 steals per game. He then averaged a triple-double during his senior campaign, as he notched 23.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, 11.5 assists and 5.1 steals per game. The three Balls led the Huskies to a 35-0 record and a state title that season, while earning the consensus No. 1 ranking in the nation. Ball was named 2016 Mr. Basketball, an award that has been received by a number of Celtics players in the past, including Legends Paul Pierce and Bill Walton. Ball was also named Mr. Basketball USA, Naismith Prep Player of the Year, Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year and USA Today Boys Basketball Player of the Year. ESPN and Rivals both ranked him as the No. 4 overall recruit in the nation, while 247Sports had him ranked at No. 3 and Scout placed him at No. 7. Ball continued his success at UCLA, where he won the Wayman Tisdale Award as the top freshman in the country. He averaged 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and a nation-leading 7.6 assists per game, becoming the first player Pac-12 player to finish with such numbers since 10-time All-Star Jason Kidd did so during the 1992-93 season at Cal-Berkeley. He finished with a UCLA-record 274 total assists, which also surpassed Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton’s previous Pac-12 freshman record of 229 assists. Ball wasn’t only a productive distributor; he was also an extremely efficient shooter. He had the third-highest 2-point percentage in the nation with an absurd 73.2 percent clip, and also shot an impressive 41.2 percent from 3-point range. Ball nearly tallied a triple double during his collegiate debut on Nov. 11, 2016 when he racked up 19 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds during a 119-80 win over Pacific. He notched double-digit assist efforts on seven occasions, including a program freshman-record 14 dimes on March 4 against his father’s former team, Washington State. Ball and the Bruins earned a 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and they made it three rounds deep before falling to Kentucky. His top postseason performance came during the second round against Cincinnati as he logged 18 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and two steals en route to a 79-67 win. Along with his freshman of the year nod, Ball was a consensus first-team All-American and was one of five finalists for both national player of the year awards (John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy). He also joined teammates Bryce Alford and T.J. Leaf on the first-team All-Pac-12. On March 25, moments after UCLA’s Sweet-16 loss to Kentucky, Ball declared for the NBA Draft.