He may be Lonzo and LiAngelo's younger brother, but 15-year-old LaMelo Ball is the sibling in the spotlight after scoring an incredible 92 points during Chino Hills' 146-123 victory over Los Osos on Tuesday (7 February). The precocious teenager scored 41 points in the fourth quarter alone and gave the Huskies reason to cheer after they saw their 60-game winning streak come to an end against Oak Hill on Sunday.
Ball, who committed to play for the University of California at the tender age of 13, made 30 two-point shots, seven three-pointers, 11 free throws and provided seven assists as he dragged Chino Hills to victory in the absence of brother and leading scorer LiAngelo, who missed the match with an ankle problem. Ball's coach Stephan Gilling said the starlet's display on the court was "almost overwhelming", but somewhat surprisingly his score is some way off from breaking the record for points made in a single high school game. That honour still lies with Danny Heater of Burnsville, who scored 135 points in January 1960.
The high school sophomore is understandably attracting attention from the basketball world after his astounding exploits on the court, but he is no stranger to the limelight. Ball, who stands at 6'3", has nearly 500,000 followers on his Instagram account, twice as many as his teammate and sibling LiAngelo, 18. He and his two brothers have all committed to UCLA and seem destined for very bright futures in the sport.
Lonzo, a 6'6" point guard, is the oldest of the three brothers at 19 and one of the best college players in the US. He is set to be one of the top picks for the NBA Draft in June and seems to have already nailed down the playmaking side of his game, something many point guards struggle with during their formative years.
LiAngelo, a shooting guard for Chino Hills, is currently averaging 38 points a game and recently plundered 62 in his side's victory over Los Osos. LaMelo, who would later overshadow his 18-year-old brother's impressive haul, made 28 points in the same game. LiAngelo presumably congratulated LaMelo on his astonishing performance on Tuesday but he may well have been annoyed by his achievement as he guns for the scoring title.
When asked what drives him to improve, LiAngelo told USAToday: "Wanting to score the most points of any player in high school. I want to win the scoring title because I know that I can do that. I just know how to score the ball, and I want to be the best at it."
LaMelo is looked upon as the most gifted player out of the three and operates as a combo guard. He made a big impression on his varsity basketball debut in 2015, scoring 28 points including five three-pointers as the Huskies ran out 98-51 victors over Muir. Lonzo and LiAngelo also featured, making 18 and 15 respectively. When asked for his thoughts on an impressive debut, the then 13-year-old told The LA Times: "It was a fast-paced game".
Eyes have been on LaMelo from the very beginning, it seems, and his performance last night is not the first thing that has sent his name hurtling through social media. He went viral in December when a video emerged of him pointing at the halfway line before proceeding to shoot a three-pointer. Golden State Warriors talisman Steph Curry was asked about the video, and it's fair to say it made a lasting impression on him.
"That was some confidence right there," Curry told Let's Go Warriors, as reported by USA Today. "The fact that he made it. I wonder if he's done it before and missed it. It's the highlight-driven generation, so that right there was pretty unbelievable, though. For him to call his shot like Babe Ruth and knock it down and act like nothing happened. So shoutout to him."
High praise indeed from the man many claim to be the best shooter in NBA history. If LaMelo maintains his rapid rate of progress, he could soon be rubbing shoulders with the illustrious point guard.