LaMelo Ball reportedly left Australia abruptly and there seem to be some hurt feelings left behind. While it had previously been reported that LaMelo was ending his time in Australia with the National Basketball League’s Illawarra Hawks, he reportedly left without saying goodbye to his teammates and coach.
Ball’s early exit also leaves him missing the league’s first-ever Indigenous Round.
The youngest son of LaVar Ball left Australia to return home to the United States to continue rehabbing his foot injury and preparing for the 2020 NBA Draft.
“I’m really disappointed that he didn’t say goodbye to his teammates and his coach,” Hawks owner Simon Stratford said, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp. His teammate Todd Blanchfield added: “It’s news to me, but [Ball’s camp has] got an agenda they have to take care of, We were teammates for half the season while he was playing, and we had our ups and downs, but it would have been good to say goodbye.”
During his time with Illawarra, Ball averaged 17 points, 7.5 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.7 steals in 31 minutes per game this season.
LaMelo has been so impressive that one NBL executive believes there is no way the youngest Ball brother will be passed up with the top pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
“I don’t see any way where LaMelo doesn’t go No. 1. He sees the floor better than anyone, and his passing and shooting is like nothing I’ve seen before,” the NBL executive told Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek.
His performance has been so impressive that Ball now finds himself as the top-rated prospect on the DraftExpress 2020 NBA Draft Board. Ball was initially slated as an early second-round pick but has since seen a steady rise up the rankings.