Back in 2017, Kevin Durant broke down some of the then-high school players’ games including Zion Williamson, Keldon Johnson, among others. KD even hyped up current Hornets star LaMelo Ball.
In only his first season at the NBA, LaMelo Ball has proven to be one of the most entertaining and best young talents in the league. The Charlotte Hornets youngster was on a tear during this past 2020-2021 season. Due to his captivating style of play, Ball has made himself a must-watch for every basketball enthusiast.
Despite having one of the most untraditional routes to the league, Melo has clearly superseded all the surreal expectations set for him. Melo even bagged the Rookie of the Year honours after averaging 15.7 points, 6.1 assists and 5.9 rebounds while leading the Hornets to play the newly added play-in tournament
However, long before the 6-foot-6 guard even set foot in the NBA or even NBL hardwood, he was already a common household name, who played alongside his brothers- Lonzo and LiAngelo, at the Chino Hills High School together.
When Kevin Durant lauded a 16-year-old LaMelo Ball as a high school junior
LaMelo was easily one of the most famous high-school athletes in the nation. And why not? He had reclassified a year up to play with his brothers. He was in the starting line-up of the squad which went 35-0 while winning the CIF Open Division state championship as a freshman. Had a half-court shot that completely blew up on social media. Oh, and he also scored 92 points in one of his high school games as a 15-year-old!
Back in 2017, Kevin Durant did a video where he broke down the games’ of some of the then-top high-schoolers. Apart from talking about Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish, Keldon Johnson, Cole Anthony among others. One more name which was brought up in the video was Ball’s.
While lauding a few aspects of Melo’s game, The Durantula even warned everyone about his potential once he got into the “right structure” in the league.
“The first guy we got is LaMelo Ball. I don’t even have to introduce him. Can shoot it from anywhere. Love his game cause he’s skilled. Pull up. Kids not pulling up like that, man. Catch and shoot. Once he learns the real game, he played kind of erratic at Chino Hills last couple years — just shooting whenever he wants, shooting as soon as he crosses half court. But he’s that good. He could do that … Once he gets into a right structure, system too that’s gonna maximize his talent, he’s gonna be tough. Just need to keep learning the game, man.”
It’s pretty safe to say KD has been spot-on with his predictions about LaMelo getting into a system which would “maximize his talents”. Ball has proved his worth this past season, and will surely be one of the future faces of the league.