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UCLA

LaVar Ball on UCLA basketball: ‘Can’t win no championship with three white guys’

LaVar Ball cheers during a game last year when all three of his sons played together at Chino Hills High.
LaVar Ball cheers during a game last year when all three of his sons played together at Chino Hills High School.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

It has been two weeks since the season ended for the UCLA men’s basketball team, but LaVar Ball still has more to say about it.

The outspoken father of UCLA star Lonzo Ball said Thursday that the reason for the Bruins’ Sweet 16 exit was a lack of athleticism by certain teammates.

“Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow,” LaVar told the Orange County Register. “I told Lonzo, ‘One of these games you might need to go for 30 or 40 points.’ It turned out the that was the one game. Then once they get to the Elite 8, they’re right there.”

LaVar was presumably talking about UCLA starters TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford and Thomas Welsh, who combined for 39 points in the Bruins’ 86-75 loss to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament on March 24. Lonzo finished with 10 points, eight assists and four turnovers.

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Meanwhile, Kentucky freshman guard De’Aaron Fox raised eyebrows with his NCAA tournament freshman-record performance, finishing with 39 points.

Throughout the season, Leaf, Alford and Welsh have been regular starters for the Bruins along with Lonzo.

LaVar went on to reveal that Lonzo had suffered a hamstring injury in the loss, even though Coach Steve Alford said in the postgame news conference two weeks ago that Lonzo was healthy.

“People thought he was giving up, but he popped his hamstring,” LaVar said. “He said ‘I was trying to run, but my hamstring was pulled.’ But he’s never going to make excuses.”

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Lonzo declared for the NBA draft shortly after the game, which could reveal via health records at the draft if he indeed suffered the injury.

Twitter: @edmgonzalez

eduardo.gonzalez@latimes.com


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