Lonzo Ball

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UCLA gets commitment from Class of 2019 guard and brother of five-star commitment

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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.

Four players stay atop the latest Rivals 2016 rankings

(Scott Phillips/NBC Sports)
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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 gets commitment from younger brother of five-star Class of 2016 pledge

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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.

Pangos All-American Camp Friday: UCLA commit Lonzo Ball has a great opening night

(Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com)
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LONG BEACH, Ca. – The opening night of play at camps like the annual Pangos All-American Camp is usually sloppy and littered with uninspired basketball.

Between camp teammates barely having a chance to learn each other’s names — let alone complicated sets — and also experiencing travel lag from making the camp, it isn’t necessarily the best time to see a prospect play a complete game of basketball.

UCLA commit Lonzo Ball changed that notion with his play on the opening night of the 12th annual Pangos camp on Friday night.

In a highly-touted matchup of 2016 five-star guards between Ball and Findlay Prep point guard Derryck Thornton, Ball was clearly the better player on Friday night, although the two have dramatically different games.

Ball is just a complete basketball player with a tremendous feel for the game and IQ. At 6-foot-5, Ball is the No. 14 player in Rivals.com‘s 2016 rankings and he has great size with the ball in his hands and the future Bruin is a tremendous passer in delivering to shooters or finding a big man in the post. Ball might be slow-footed defensively to guard quicker lead guards, but his hands and instincts are good enough to still make some plays in the passing lanes against wings that play more off-the-ball.

The 6-foot-1 Thornton is the No. 20 prospect in those same rankings and he has a lot of tools to work with, including a killer first step and crossover. But Thornton spends far too much time pounding the ball into the floor while trying to hunt for his own offense.

While Ball just played basketball and let the game come to him, Thornton instead seemed focused on the one-on-one matchup and it showed with some bad shots and overaggressive drives to the hoop.

Isaiah Briscoe battles Tyler Dorsey: While the Ball vs. Thornton matchup was the undercard of Friday night’s action, thanks in-part to it’s earlier slotting, the main matchup on the opening night featured a pair of high-level guard prospects in the 2015 class as Isaiah Briscoe matched up with Arizona commit Tyler Dorsey.

Briscoe and Dorsey spent a good portion of the game on each other and it made for some interesting basketball in the second game on Friday night. Much like the first matchup of elite guards, both Briscoe and Dorsey got a little too consumed with hunting their own offense, but they both made scoring plays and plays as passers and you can’t fault the clear best players on the floor for wanting to take the majority of the shots.

The slight edge probably goes to the 6-foot-3 Briscoe because he is more effective against physical play and he’s a much better passer — specifically moving the ball up the floor on the break. Dorsey is a better athlete, however, and has more upside getting in the lane and making plays around the rim thanks to his 6-foot-4 size and leaping ability.