If you are one of the several people who have been clamoring for the Ball family to just go away, you (sort of) got your wish.
LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball are heading to Lithuania, after signing one-year deals to play professionally for the Lithuanian club Prienu Vytautas on Monday, according to multiple reports.
LaMelo, 15, and LiAngelo, 19, will now have the opportunity to play competitive basketball at the professional level after previously dropping out of their respective schools.
The boys’ father LaVar Ball recently pulled LiAngelo out of UCLA due to frustrations stemming from the freshman’s indefinite suspension as a result of his shoplifting arrest in China. The loud-mouthed basketball dad previously pulled LaMelo out of Chino Hills High School in August in order to home school him and better prepare him for the 2020 NBA Draft.
“I don’t care about the money,” LaVar Ball told ESPN last week. “I want them to go somewhere where they will play them together on the court at the same time. The priority is for the boys to play on the same team.”
The decision to play for Prienu Vytautas comes less than a week after LaMelo and LiAngelo signed with their older brother Lonzo’s agent, Harrison Gaines.
LaMelo Ball is beginning his pro career at just 15 years old.
(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Prienu Vytautas plays in both the Baltic and the Lithuanian (LKL) league.
The brothers will reportedly begin play in the lesser-competitive Baltic league. Both LaMelo and LiAngelo will play roughly 20-25 minutes, according to ESPN.
Gaines said signing with Prienu Vytautas “made the most sense” when it came to discussing LaMelo’s and LiAngelo’s development and professional basketball future.
“We engaged in serious talks with several teams, and Vytautas made the most sense as LaMelo and LiAngelo work to develop as professionals and set a foundation for their careers,” Gaines told Yahoo Sports. “It was critical to find a situation in a competitive league that works with both of their short- and long-term goals.”
While LiAngelo, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, was just a three-star prospect coming out of high school and wasn’t projected to crack UCLA’s rotation this season, LaMelo is widely viewed as a legitimate NBA prospect.
LiAngelo Ball is leaving UCLA for Lithuania.
The younger brother, a talented 6-foot-3 point guard, was rated five stars by all major recruiting outlets and is viewed as a likely first-round pick in the 2020 draft.
Both Ball brothers posted jaw-dropping scoring performances while at Chino Hills. LaMelo scored 92 in a game in February and LiAngelo had a 72-point performance last December.
The additions of the two Ball brothers will be a major publicity boom for Prienu Vytautas, which has struggled financially in recent years, according to ESPN.
Former Knicks forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas began his professional basketball career playing in the Lithuanian league. He was a four-time LKL All-Star before leaving to play in Spain and later signing with the Knicks in 2016.