Lonzo Ball’s UCLA teammates must have experienced a brief sensation of déjà vu. The Bruins were locked in a high-scoring shootout with Michigan on Saturday night when Ball ended the first half by hitting a three-pointer at least 10 feet behind the arc.
This would be outside of the normal shooting range for almost anyone else in college basketball, but not for Ball. He stepped into the shot confidently and drained it to tie the score going into halftime.
The Bruins have seen this before, as recently as their last game. A week earlier, in UCLA’s season-defining win at Rupp Arena, Ball did the exact same thing. A crossover, a step back, and another bomb with his foot on the center-court logo to beat the halftime buzzer:
As UCLA outlasted Michigan to improve to 10-0, Ball continued his impressive shooting by going 4 of 7 from three-point range. It was the third time this season he’s hit at least four threes in a game.
It’s a big development both for UCLA’s title chances and Ball’s NBA draft hopes. His jump shot was thought to be a real question mark heading into the season because of an unconventional stroke and middling high school percentages. Instead, it’s becoming clear the progressive, ultra-high-tempo offense Ball played in at Chino Hills High School has prepared him for taking and making tough shots with unparalleled range.
Ball’s shooting stroke is odd, but it works for him. There are other aspects of shot mechanics that are harder to notice, like footwork and balance, and that’s where Ball excels. Through 10 games, he’s making 45.3 percent of 5.3 threes he’s attempting per game.
He’s not just proving to be a great shooter, he’s doing it by making difficult shots at a high volume. It’s part of the reason the freshman has risen all the way to No. 4 in DraftExpress’ last mock and why UCLA is now third in the country in offensive efficiency.
We put together a compilation of Ball’s best threes from the start of this season. It’s hard to question his shooting ability after watching this: