little sceptical of LaMelo when he first announced he was coming to play for Illawarra.
The highlights were there for all to see. The half court shots, the lack of defence being
played, the cherry picking. The list goes on.
LaMelo has matured far beyond his years from those highlights we saw when he was a 15-
16 year old kid. He’s still a kid now at the age of 18, playing in a grown man’s league, getting
better and better each game we get to watch him play.
LaMelo had himself a monster triple double in a big home win against the Cairns Taipans (32
Points, 11 Rebounds and 13 Assists). To go along with this, he hit the huge trailing 3 to get
the game into OT, a shot you just knew was going in given the game he was having.
This stat line just about broke twitter, and you could’ve sworn he was a 28 year old veteran
watching him play against an import who is regarded as a top 3 point guard in the league
this season (Scott Machado), someone who’s been around the NBA scene.
LaMelo followed this up with yet another Triple Double in New Zealand (this time in a loss),
against another top prospect in next year’s NBA Draft (RJ Hampton).
What’s making this stretch more remarkable for LaMelo, is the fact his team lost their prime
import at the beginning of the season (Aaron Brooks), so this 18 year old kid is shouldering
the load on his own.
He never seems to get down on his team mates, showing incredible poise and leadership for
a kid at his age, and is clearly gaining the respect of his team. That in itself makes it known
to NBA execs that the kid is growing up fast down under.
Gone are the half court shots and the cherry picking defence out of his game. He is
moulding himself into the Number 1 Overall pick in the NBA Draft, and a lot of us out there
can happily admit we were wrong about LaMelo Ball.
Coming to Australia is the best thing that could’ve happened to the kid, playing against
grown men in one of the best leagues in the world, and growing up outside of Basketball
away from the College scene (and distractions in his home country).
This has definitely opened the door for future High School kids in America, seeing that the
NBL is a clear and better pathway for their development into the NBA than College
Basketball ever could be!