The Nike Extravaganza will also play host to the best recruits in the nation. Leaf, another UCLA signee, looks to cap off a successful high school career. What to Watch For There are plenty of great in-state matchups set to take place at the Nike Extravaganza. We take an in-depth look at the two headlining games below.
There is no other way to put it. He doesn't keep the upper part of his right arm perpendicular to the court. His right forearm is cocked sideways across his face. And worst of all, he brings the ball up on the left side of his head.
He knows. His former coach at Chino Hills High School, Steve Baik, would put the ball in Ball's right shooting hand and make sure he remained efficient, releasing his shot quickly and with no wasted motion despite his unorthodox delivery.
A freshman at UCLA, he is arguably the most exciting player in the country at any level—high school, college or pro. But how is it that the best player in college, and possibly the first pick in this year's NBA draft, shoots wrong?
AP Ball, 19, and his family, particularly his dad, LaVar, might be a lesson to our American sports system about how we develop our kids. Or he might be a fluke.
But the truth is simple: If Ball had fallen into the hands of most coaches along the way, he would have been changed. But he still shoots wrong, and that bothers some people who can't see the obvious: that it's right for Ball to do everything convention says is wrong. The shot is so strange that Ball's parents and his coaches at UCLA have met to discuss what to do about it.
It might cost him millions of dollars by scaring off NBA teams at the top of the draft. The result? You've never seen anyone shoot it like me. It comes off the left side.
I don't know. It still spins the right way. I was just trying to make it more traditional, I guess. With the guys, I just know where they're going to be. The game just comes easy to me.
But most people would be better off just not f--king with it.
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Who is this guy, really? He is an unusual mix of showboat and selflessness.
Flashy and fun-loving but serious. And so far, away from the court, he rarely puts together more than a few words for most people. But if you spend a little time with him, with his family, with his circle, you find that his inconsistencies all work together and somehow make sense.
Ball warms up on the court before a game on March 4, , in Los Angeles. So when I'm in my room with nothing to do, I just whip my phone out and type words out.
Got money on my mind if you wonder what I'm thinking. Something, something, something, something. I just have fun with it, whatever comes to mind. Hip-hop, rap, stuff like that. That's just about it for me: basketball, school, music.
And it's not only in how he plays, but also in who he is and how he got here. As a result, he supercharges fanbases, including UCLA's, wherever he goes. For example, in his senior year at Chino Hills High School, tickets were hard to come by, and games were on national TV.
And it isn't just that Ball is good—it's how he's good. He's a 6'6" point guard who runs and guns and throws behind-the-back passes. He has been taught not only to stay calm in a storm but also to see things clearest in the middle of one.
My dad's a funny guy.
No, I'm not embarrassed. I know how he's going to act. I just go out there and play. Let him be him. LaVar says that as great as UCLA is playing, it could score 20 more points a game if Lonzo's teammates ran as hard and fast as he did the second his son got the ball.
Actually, Lonzo knows where people will be before they know where they'll be. He has read their tendencies, looked for signs in their body language. Also, he has some sort of psychic thing going. He taught us how to play fast, and that's how it's always been.
Getty Images This was all the grand scheme of Ball's father, who says his plans for his basketball family started "from day one with me picking my wife.
What you have to understand is that when it comes to parenting, LaVar Ball is shooting from the left side of his head, too. He is part eccentric and part genius.
And you just have to decide on the mix. But whichever conclusion you reach estimate: genius , the thing is, both parts work together in perfect harmony.
Each side boosts the other. This is what has shaped Lonzo. When Lonzo, then Gelo, then LaMelo he of the half-court shots were two years old, LaVar would have them jump from the first step of the staircase that leads upstairs at their house.
At that point, he was four years old. Getty Images Most parents do not have their toddlers practice jumping off the stairs. In fact, most people put up a portable fence on their stairways to keep their kids from climbing up and falling down.
LaVar has a theory about everything, a plan of success. Do not get him started on how he potty-trained his sons. He is one of those parents, raising three kids with the goal of revolutionizing basketball and the NBA.
And now Lonzo, the oldest, is expected to be an early first-round pick in the NBA draft. Gelo, a 6'5" shooting guard, is a year behind him and has committed to play for UCLA next year, and then, possibly, the NBA is next for him, too.