Who Needs College Anyway?
05 Dec, 2017
LaVar Ball told ESPN that he has pulled his son LiAngelo out of UCLA.
“We are exploring other options with Gelo,” LaVar Ball said on Monday. “He’s out of there.”
LiAngelo Ball, a freshman, is one of three UCLA basketball players who were indefinitely suspended after a shoplifting incident in China in November.
Ball, the middle Ball brother, did not play a single game in college after being suspended from the team — along with teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.
“I’m not sitting back and waiting,” LaVar Ball told ESPN. “He wasn’t punished this bad in China.”
“We get back over here, and the consequences were even stiffer than China. So basically they’re in jail here.”
UCLA coach Steve Alford issued a statement later Monday.
“We learned today of LiAngelo Ball’s intention to withdraw from UCLA,” he said. “We respect the decision he and his family have made, and we wish him all the best in the future.”
Ball told ESPN he hasn’t decided where LiAngelo will play this season.
“I’m going to make him way better for the draft than UCLA ever could have,” he said.
“He’s not transferring to another school. The plan is now to get Gelo ready for the NBA draft.”
LiAngelo’s plan to withdraw his son from school was first reported by TMZ.
“That’s a long time of doing nothing,” LiAngelo told NBC’s “Today” on Tuesday of his suspension at UCLA. “I just want to play, period. I’m not worried about money.”
LaVar Ball told ESPN before the season that LiAngelo would stay at UCLA for only one season, even if he wasn’t projected as a draft pick. His brother Lonzo played one season with the Bruins before being drafted No. 2 by the Lakers.
LiAngelo Ball is regarded as a long shot to be drafted in June, and that was before his arrest in China.
“He’s not on any of our scouting lists — even the extended lists,” one GM told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
LaVar Ball said earlier Monday that he hadn’t informed the UCLA coaching staff that he was pulling LiAngelo.
“I haven’t told any of those guys,”Lavar told ESPN. “They didn’t tell me anything, so why am I gonna tell them?”
The three players are subject to review for violating the university’s student conduct code, which includes a section on theft.
As part of their indefinite suspensions, the players haven’t been allowed to suit up, practice or travel with the Bruins.
“They had him there just to use the Ball family name. They were going to keep the best shooter on the team coming off the bench? That’s like telling the Clippers back in the day not to play JJ Redick,” LaVar Ball said.
LaVar Ball said that that the plan is still for LaMelo Ball — ESPN’s seventh-ranked player in the class of 2019 — to go to UCLA. LaMelo committed to attend UCLA in two years. However, a source at UCLA told ESPN’s Arash Markazi that this is probably the end for the Ball family at the school.
There are questions about whether LaMelo would even be eligible, because he has his own signature shoe as part of the family’s Big Baller Brand. The NCAA was asked by ESPN about the matter and said, “Generally speaking, a college athlete or prospect paid for use of their athletics reputation or ability risks their future eligibility in that sport.”
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