UCLA continued to recruit the entire Ball family and it resulted in a commitment from the youngest brother, LaMelo, late this week. The Class of 2019 guard is only 13 years old and the youngest brother of UCLA commits Lonzo (Class of 2016) and LiAngelo (Class of 2017). LaMelo committing to UCLA was confirmed by NBCSports.com after being first reported by Michelle Gardner of the Daily Bulletin. The three brothers all play together on the 17U level with the family-run Big Ballers VXT and LaMelo showed an ability to hit perimeter shots at a high level despite being tiny at his early age.
LaMelo has yet to play a high school basketball game and will attend Chino Hills High School with his brothers this fall. The Bruins are investing heavily in the Ball family in-part because the three can really score the ball and play at an uptempo pace in AAU.
Lonzo Ball is a consensus five-star prospect with elite vision and deep shooting ability while LiAngelo has also shown an ability to hit perimeter shots. LaMelo is committing at a very young age, but UCLA is banking on him growing and being potentially elite like his oldest brother.
The first of three live periods begins on July 8 at 5 p.m.
In preparation for the July live period, Rivals released an updated version of the Class of 2016 rankings. However, there was no movement through the top-4. Josh Jackson (Prolific Prep), Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian), Jayson Tatum (Chaminade High) and Dennis Smith (Trinity Christian) remain as the top-4 prospects, in that order.
If you’ve watched Jackson, Giles and Tatum play in the FIBA U19 World Championships, or what Smith did to his fellow participants at Steph Curry’s SC30 Select Camp in the Bay Area this week, it’s easy to see why they retained their respective positions in the Class of 2016.
UCLA commit Lonzo Ball, the only player in the top-10 to give his verbal commitment at this point, checks in at No. 5 while Malik Monk, Edrice Adebayo and De’Aaron Fox stay in the bottom half of the top-10. After shining at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, Lone Peak High (Utah) point guard Frank Jackson checks in at No. 10, jumping 21 spots.
The full, updated list can be seen here.
UCLA added its first commitment in the 2017 class on Tuesday as LiAngelo Ball pledged to head coach Steve Alford and the Bruins. The 6-foot-5 Ball is the younger brother of five-star Class of 2016 point guard Lonzo Ball, who committed to UCLA in January of 2014.
The younger Ball, also 6-foot-5, is a high-level scorer. That’s probably in-part because LiAngelo is accustomed to playing with his older brother, Lonzo, who is arguably the best passer in high school basketball. Regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, LiAngelo can play either spot on the wing. Both Ball brothers attend Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, CA.
Alford has done a great job of tapping into family to land commitments at UCLA. Besides the Ball brothers, Alford reeled in Aaron Holiday in the Class of 2015, who is the younger brother of former Bruin Jrue Holiday.
And UCLA might not be done recruiting the Ball family either. In a story from Scout.com’s Josh Gershon (subscription required), the father of the Ball brothers, LaVar Ball, says that the youngest brother, Class of 2019 guard LaMelo, could also follow his brothers’ footsteps.
“Gelo has been working hard on his game and our plan was to get him committed to UCLA the same way at the same time,” LiAngelo’s father, LaVar Ball, said to Gershon. “I’ve got three monsters over here and all three of them are lined up to follow the same path. The little guy (2019 PG LaMelo Ball) is next.”
It looks like Alford might be on to something here. Obviously, it will take some time for the Ball brothers to reach campus, but it might pay off with multiple commitments from talented players for UCLA.