LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball both signed with an agent on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, which officially means they will not play basketball at UCLA or any other college program. Instead, the two brothers are planning to play overseas.
It had previously been reported that this was the plan for the two Ball brothers not in the league, but by signing an agent, it ends all speculation that LaMelo Ball might still attend UCLA. Ball had been committed to UCLA, like his two brothers, but the 16-year-old now has his sights set on professional basketball elsewhere after signing with 28-year-old agent Harrison Gaines, whose story is detailed by Sports Illustrated here. (Gaines also represents Lonzo Ball.)
It was confirmed that LiAngelo Ball dropped out of UCLA on Monday. LiAngelo had been suspended indefinitely by the UCLA men’s basketball program after being charged with shoplifting while overseas in China, along with two teammates. LaVar Ball reportedly believed that the suspension, which kept Ball out of UCLA’s first eight games of the season and counting, was unfair because the charges were dropped by the Chinese government after two weeks.
LiAngelo Ball is not considered an NBA prospect, but LaMelo Ball might be, depending on his development. His ability to play at UCLA was already in question due to his signature shoes, which might have violated the NCAA’s policy on amateurism. For now, both brothers will look overseas to begin professional basketball careers.
How does this affect UCLA?
It’s almost certainly all right with the Bruins. Lonzo Ball has long been the best prospect of the three brothers, and UCLA received a stellar freshman year from him.
It was unlikely that LiAngelo Ball would have played much this season — he was already going to come off the bench — and LaMelo Ball is still a major question mark. But Lonzo Ball helped raise the school’s profile, and UCLA is off to a 7-1 start to the season.
How does this affect the Ball brothers?
LiAngelo Ball is ‘famous’ enough now that Big Baller Brand has announced his upcoming signature shoe. LiAngelo had been the forgotten brother of the three up until the high-profile China incident that left his dad and President Donald Trump exchanging Twitter barbs, but now he’s equally famous.
As for LaMelo Ball, he could benefit from the development and coaching of an overseas program, assuming there’s a league interested in signing him and his brother.