LaMelo Ball turns 16 on Tuesday.
With 201,000 Twitter followers and 2.4 million Instragam followers, he’s more than just a high school basketball player at Chino Hills. He’s a social media star.
Like him or despise him, everyone seems to have an opinion about him. He also happens to have a brother playing at UCLA, another brother playing for the Lakers and a father named LaVar known for speaking his mind.
LaMelo is a pretty good basketball player who’s committed to UCLA. He started for a state championship team as a 5-foot-10 freshman. He scored 92 points in a single game last season as a 6-2 sophomore.
He has grown to 6-5 and should be dunking for the first time this coming season.
“Oh yeah, he’s dunking,” new Chino Hills Coach Dennis Latimore said.
And LaMelo knows how to entertain.
He has to work harder on defense, and that will be something many will be focusing on to gauge his improvement.
“When you’re leaking guys, some call it cherry-picking. I say keep doing it if the other team isn’t stopping it,” Latimore said. “From what I’ve seen, he’s pretty scrappy. We can all improve on defense.”
The good news is that LaMelo is a “true” junior, with lots more physical growth to come. Mentally, he’s as strong as they come. He can shoot from anywhere, can pass with precision, is unselfish and embraces the attention he receives.
The big surprise from the workouts Latimore has conducted over the summer is LaMelo's cousin, Andre Ball, who will be a senior and has been slowed down by injuries the last two seasons.
“Of all the guys, I’ve been most impressed with Andre,” Latimore said. “He’s long, he’s 6-7 with a 6-10 wingspan. He can dribble, shoot it and has a great attitude. I think if he stays healthy, he’s going to be one of the most surprising players in California basketball.”
There's also going to be an emphasis on getting the ball inside to 6-9 junior Onyeka Okongwu.
So get ready for another year of entertaining Chino Hills basketball. It will be the third coach in three years, but the Huskies plan to run and gun, and with LaMelo and Onyeka leading the charge, beware.