clear
Tuesday October 17th, 2017 11:54PM

Lonzo Ball's draft stock stays strong with Lakers watching

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LOS ANGELES (AP) — By now the entire basketball world knows Lonzo Ball is a singular talent with a unique parent.

The UCLA product with preternatural court vision is among the most intriguing prospects in the NBA draft this week. In perhaps the greatest testament to his abilities, his father LaVar Ball's bombast and $495 shoes and racially insensitive comments don't appear to be scaring off the Los Angeles Lakers or any other team that believes Lonzo could be the next great point guard.

Because of his headline-magnet father, Ball's celebrity has already outpaced his talents before he plays his first professional game. Yet ever since his days leading the Big Ballers AAU team set up by his dad, Lonzo has shown nothing but maturity and calm in the face of LaVar's audacious approaches to hoops, parenting and the business of sports.

"I think it definitely doesn't help," Ball said of his father's notoriety. "Definitely makes it a little bit harder. But any good player is going to have attention on him at all times, and I'm pretty used to it by now."

Ball's mental steadiness is another big reason he's almost certain to be a top-three pick on Thursday. Ever since the Lakers got the No. 2 choice in the lottery last month, most draft observers have believed Ball will wear a gold jersey in the fall, completing a serendipitous match of player and team.

That's been the dream scenario for the entire Ball family ever since Lonzo showed the first inklings of world-class talent. He was raised in Chino Hills, a suburb about 35 miles east of Staples Center, and LaVar Ball is an ardent fan of the Lakers — and specifically Magic Johnson, the Hall of Fame point guard now running their basketball operations.

After Ball worked out for the Lakers last week, he didn't mince words about his hopes to make it permanent: "Of course. I want to stay home."

Los Angeles and its sprawling suburbs have produced an incredible portion of the NBA's top talent of recent years. All three MVP finalists this season — Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard — are from the area, as are Paul George, Klay Thompson, Tyson Chandler, DeMar DeRozan and many others.

Although the Lakers have been his family's team since before he could walk, Ball said he hasn't been to many games in person: "My dad didn't like the seats, because I guess they were too small for him."

That's understandable, since father and son are both 6-foot-6. Lonzo watched on television and then emulated the stars from Magic to Kobe Bryant while playing with his brothers at home.

"I patterned my game after (Johnson)," Ball said. "My dad asked me what position I wanted to play. I told him, 'Point guard.' He was like, 'All right, if you're going to play point guard, you've got to get the ball up.'"

That's what Ball does better than almost any guard in recent college basketball history.

He led the nation in assists (7.7) while turning the Bruins into the highest-scoring team in Division I basketball. The freshman showed astonishing passing ability while orchestrating the UCLA offense, utilizing angles and defensive creases that made him look more like an attacking soccer midfielder than a basketball player.

And if any NBA team is worried about having the ultimate sports parent in the front row, UCLA coach Steve Alford has repeatedly said LaVar wasn't a problem for him — and Lonzo's two little brothers are both planning to play in Westwood.

Ball admits his father gives him unwanted notoriety. He also promises he can handle any distraction.

"That was said about me in college, said about me in high school," he said. "I don't think it affected me."

Just a few days away from the decision, Ball still appears to be a splendid fit with the Lakers, whose up-tempo offense under coach Luke Walton looks tailor-made for Ball's skills. The Lakers just completed the worst four-year stretch in franchise history, but their fans hope that another playmaking superstar will be their reward for the 16-time NBA champions' misery.

Ball is one of those fans.

"They need a leader," Ball said after working out for the Lakers recently. "They need a point guard, and I feel like I can fill that hole. ... They said they want me to come in — if I get picked — come in and be a leader and play with a lot of pace. So the stuff they were saying was very positive, and it kind of fits my game."

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Entertainment, APOnline Celebrity News, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball, AP Sports - NBA
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Macron kicks off Paris Air Show with airborne entrance
French President Emmanuel Macron is opening the Paris Air Show from the skies
4:42AM ( 15 minutes ago )
In spite of tweet, lawyer says Trump not under investigation
In spite of Trump's tweet decrying 'witch hunt,' lawyer says president not under investigation
4:37AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Global shares higher in subdued trading on Wall Street rise
Global shares are higher after Wall Street ended last week barely higher and investors watched for Brexit talks set to start later in the day
4:37AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Long road: Koepka's journey now includes a US Open title
The list of places Brooks Koepka had to go to win golf tournaments looks like a page straight out of a travelogue
2:14AM ( 2 hours ago )
LEADING OFF: Indians set sights on O's, Kershaw faces Mets
LEADING OFF: Indians set sights on O's, Kershaw faces Mets
2:12AM ( 2 hours ago )
Vegas holds trade cards during expansion draft window
The Vegas Golden Knights hold all the cards in the trade market during their expansion draft window and could extort some big prices from other NHL teams
2:12AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Sports
AP source: 76ers, Celtics agree on trade for No. 1 pick
Philadelphia and Boston have agreed in principle on a trade where the 76ers would acquire the chance to take Markelle Fultz with the No. 1 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press
1:04AM ( 1 day ago )
Vowing to return, Rodman wraps up low-key Pyongyang visit
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, vowing to return soon, has wrapped up a low-key visit to the North Korean capital
7:15PM ( 2 days ago )
Apologies demanded from Steve Harvey after Flint comment
Apologies are being demanded from comedian Steve Harvey following comments reportedly made about Flint's lead-tainted water crisis
2:13PM ( 2 days ago )
AP Online Basketball
54-4 Oregon State out to finish job in College World Series
Oregon State, on a 21-game winning streak and with a 54-4 record, is out to finish job as College World Series opens
6:53PM ( 2 days ago )
When it comes to Heimlich, Oregon St teammates not talking
When it comes to Luke Heimlich, his Oregon State teammates at College World Series aren't talking
5:49PM ( 2 days ago )
Pitino outraged at NCAA penalties, Louisville will appeal
Rick Pitino was outraged at the NCAA's penalties levied against him and the University of Louisville after the governing body completed its investigation of an escort's allegations
9:16PM ( 3 days ago )
College Sports
Cosby judge could revisit issue of revealing names of jurors
The names of the jurors who failed to reach a verdict in Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial have not been made public, but the judge could revisit the issue as early as Monday
12:12AM ( 4 hours ago )
Kelly presses 'Infowars' host Jones on Sandy Hook denial
Pressed repeatedly by Megyn Kelly to admit he was wrong to call the shooting at Newton, Connecticut a hoax, Alex Jones hemmed and hawed
7:39PM ( 9 hours ago )
Prada takes inspiration from graphic novels for Milan show
Miuccia Prada took inspiration from graphic novels for her latest collection, which aims to create a dialogue between the virtual world and the real world.
7:07PM ( 9 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Cosby's team attacks judge likely to retry him in sex case
Bill Cosby's publicity team is going on the attack after a jury deadlocked on charges he drugged and molested a woman in a case that followed dozens of similar accusations
6:27AM ( 22 hours ago )
Bill Cosby faces 2nd trial in sexual assault case
Prosecutors say they will retry Bill Cosby after jurors in his sexual assault trial deadlocked and the judge declared a mistrial
11:33PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: For Bill Cosby, 2nd sex assault trial ahead
Bill Cosby's team declared victory after jurors in his sexual assault trial deadlocked and a judge declared a mistrial
11:28PM ( 1 day ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Louisville, Pitino await NCAA discipline in escorts case
Louisville, Rick Pitino await NCAA discipline in escorts case; former staffer accused of hiring strippers to entertain players and recruits
10:43AM ( 3 days ago )
Pitt releases Johnson to play at UNC as graduate transfer
Pittsburgh has released guard Cameron Johnson to play immediately at North Carolina as a graduate transfer
7:19PM ( 1 week ago )
Pittsburgh, graduate transfer at odds over move to UNC
Former Pittsburgh guard Cameron Johnson is fighting the school to allow him to play immediately at North Carolina as a graduate transfer next season
2:10AM ( 1 week ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Clippers, city of Inglewood negotiate on proposed new arena
The Inglewood City Council unanimously approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with the Los Angeles Clippers that could lead to building an arena for the NBA team across the street from the future home of the NFL's Chargers and Rams
9:23PM ( 3 days ago )
Warriors fans celebrate, with expectations of more to come
The Golden State Warriors twirled T-shirts over their heads from atop double-decker buses as blue and yellow confetti rained down on them during a parade to celebrate the team's latest championship
7:30PM ( 3 days ago )
Report: West intrigued at joining Clippers front office
Hall of Famer Jerry West is leaving his job as an executive board member with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors and is expected to take a similar role with the Los Angeles Clippers
4:12PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Sports - NBA
Macron kicks off Paris Air Show with airborne entrance
French President Emmanuel Macron is opening the Paris Air Show from the skies
4:42AM ( 15 minutes ago )
In spite of tweet, lawyer says Trump not under investigation
In spite of Trump's tweet decrying 'witch hunt,' lawyer says president not under investigation
4:37AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Global shares higher in subdued trading on Wall Street rise
Global shares are higher after Wall Street ended last week barely higher and investors watched for Brexit talks set to start later in the day
4:37AM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Top EU lawmaker says UK's aims a mystery
The head of the biggest group in the European Parliament says that what Britain wants out of the Brexit talks is a mystery as negotiations get underway
4:27AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Launch of Nevada's recreational pot sales may hinge on court
Nevada regulators are working against a fast-approaching deadline to launch recreational marijuana sales July 1
4:24AM ( 34 minutes ago )