Lonzo Anderson Ball (born October 27, 1997) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for one season with the UCLA Bruins, earning consensus first-team All-American honors before the Lakers selected him with the second overall pick of the 2017 NBA draft.
As a high school senior at Chino Hills High School in 2016, Ball was awarded multiple national high school player of the year honors, and led his team to an undefeated record, as well as a national championship. As a college freshman in 2016–17, he led the nation in assists and broke the UCLA record for most assists in a season. He also won the Wayman Tisdale Award as the top freshman in the nation.
Early life Edit
Ball was born in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in Anaheim, California, to LaVar and Tina Ball, who were both former college basketball players. The 6-foot-6-inch (1.98 m) LaVar played at Washington State before transferring to Cal State Los Angeles, where the 6-foot (1.8 m) Tina was also playing. A two-sport athlete, LaVar also played American footballprofessionally for the London Monarchs in the World League of American Football.
Ball started playing basketball at the age of two. He grew up with his younger brothers, LiAngelo and LaMelo. Until they reached high school, the trio played together on teams coached by their father. Ball played basketball at Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, California. As a junior in 2014–15, he averaged 25 points, 11 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 5 blocks, and 5 steals. In his senior year, he led the school to a 35–0 record and a state title, and the Huskies were ranked the consensus No. 1 team in the nation. His younger brothers, junior LiAngelo and freshman LaMelo, were also on the team. Ball averaged a triple-double with averages of 23.9 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 11.7 assists per game. He received national honors including the Naismith Prep Player of the Year, Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year, USA Today Boys Basketball Player of the Year, and Mr. Basketball USA.
College career Edit
Ball was rated a consensus five-star recruit by the major scouting services. In November 2015, he signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and play for the Bruins. As a freshman in 2016–17, he was one of 50 players named to the preseason watch list for the John R. Wooden Award, given annually to the top college player in the nation. Ball's vision and passing skills led UCLA's rise up the national rankings, as he and fellow freshman T. J. Leaf helped the Bruins bounce back from a 15–17 record from the year before. Ball led the nation in assists and transformed the Bruins into the top scoring offense in the country. In his first collegiate game against Pacific, he had 19 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds. Later in the year, Ball was named the MVP of the Wooden Legacy tournament, after he led UCLA to a win over Texas A&M in the championship game. He remained on the Wooden Award list in midseason, when he was also joined by Leaf, as UCLA was one of just five schools with two candidates on the list.
In a 107–66 blowout win against Washington, Ball had 22 points, six rebounds, and five assists. With close to two dozen NBA executives in attendance, the game matched Ball against the Huskies' Markelle Fultz, who were among the nation's top point guards and projected to be among the top picks in the 2017 NBA draft. Fultz scored 25 points in an even matchup between the two freshman. In the Bruins' regular season finale, Ball had a career-high 14 assists in a 77–68 win over Washington State, when he also broke Gary Payton's 30-year-old Pac-12 season record for assists by a freshman. UCLA was seeded No. 3 in the NCAA Tournament, and won their opening game 97–80 over Kent State. Ball had 15 points and three assists to surpass Larry Drew II's school record for most assists in a season. In the second round, he flirted with a triple-double with 18 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists in a 79–67 win over Cincinnati. All of his assists came in the second half, when UCLA overcame a three-point halftime deficit after scoring a season-low 30 points in the first half. The Bruins were eliminated in the Sweet 16, losing 86–75 to Kentucky. Ball had 10 points, eight assists, and four turnovers in the loss, while Wildcats point guard De'Aaron Fox scored 39 points for an NCAA tournament freshman record. Ball strained his hamstring in the game and was limping in the second half, but did not offer it as an excuse for being outplayed. After the game, he announced his intention to declare for the 2017 NBA draft, where he was generally projected to be a top-3 pick. He later hired an agent, which precluded him from returning back to college.
For the season, Ball averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists, and 6.0 rebounds. He was the only player in the nation to average at least 14 points, six assists, and six rebounds, and was the first player in the conference since California's Jason Kidd in 1993–94 to average at least 14 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. His 274 assists also passed Kidd (272) for the second-most in a season by a Pac-12 player, behind only Ahlon Lewis (294) of Arizona State in 1997–98. Ball made 55.1 percent of his field goal attempts and 41.2 of his three-point attempts to become the first NCAA Division I player since 1992–93 to make at least 70 percent from 2-point range and 40 percent from 3-point range. He was a unanimous first-team All-American, earning honors from the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), and Sporting News. Additionally, he was awarded the Wayman Tisdale Award by the USBWA as the top freshman in the nation. Ball was the only freshman to be a finalist for the Wooden Award, Naismith College Player of the Year, and Oscar Robertson Trophy. He was also voted Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and was named first-team All-Pac-12 along with teammates Leaf and Bryce Alford. He also received honorable mention for the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.
College statistics Edit
Professional career Edit
Los Angeles Lakers (2017–present) Edit
On June 22, 2017, Ball was selected with the second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. He became the Lakers' third straight choice for the second overall pick, with them previously taking D'Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram in 2015 and 2016 respectively. On July 3, 2017, Ball signed a four-year rookie scale contract with the Lakers. During the 2017 NBA Summer League, Ball led the event in double-doubles and triple-doubles recorded. As a result, he was the Summer League's MVP that year by averaging 16.3 points, 9.3 assists, 7.7 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game in the six games out of eight he played for the Lakers during the event. Ball also was named to the NBA Summer League first team.
Accomplishments and awards Edit
- Associated Press first-team All-American (2017)
- USBWA first-team All-American (2017)
- NABC first-team All-American (2017)
- Sporting News first-team All-American (2017)
- First-team All-Pac-12 (2017)
- Wayman Tisdale Award (2017)
- Pac-12 Freshman of the Year (2017)
- Pac-12 All-Freshman team (2017)
- Honorable mention Pac-12 All-Defensive Team
High school Edit
- Naismith Prep Player of the Year (2016)
- Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year (2016)
- USA Today Player of the Year (2016)
- Mr. Basketball USA (2016)
- McDonald's All-American (2016)
- Ballislife All-American (2016)
- Ballislife All-American Game MVP (2016)
- California Mr. Basketball (2016)
- Los Angeles Times Player of the Year (2016)
Personal life Edit
Ball's two brothers, LiAngelo (Gelo) and LaMelo (Melo), have also verbally committed to playing college basketball for UCLA. Gelo will be starting as a freshman at UCLA in the fall of 2017. Ball has been dating his girlfriend, Denise Garcia for three years. The pair met in high school.
In May 2017, Big Baller Brand, owned by Ball's father LaVar, announced the release of Ball's first shoe, the ZO2. The $495 price tag on the shoe sparked wide criticism from celebrities and on social media. In response to his critics, LaVar tweeted on May 4, "If you can't afford the ZO2'S, you're NOT a BIG BALLER!"
At the end of August 2017, Ball along with his mother, father and brothers premiered in their Facebook reality show, "Ball In The Family".