By LARRY VAUGHT
LaMelo Ball will be coming to western Kentucky to play two games in January.
Ball, the younger brother of Los Angeles Laker guard Lorenzo Ball, plays for SPIRE Academy out of Ohio after withdrawing from high school last season to play professional basketball in Lithuania at the urging of his father, LaVar Ball. .
LaMelo is a former ESPN top-100 recruit and is still just 17 years old. He won’t be able to play college basketball because he signed with an agent before going overseas.
SPIRE will play The Rock (Florida) at 7 p.m. CST on Jan. 4 at McCracken County Mustang Madness and then face Bella Vista Prep (Arizona) at 7 p.m. CST on Jan. 5.
“Any event they have been in this year they have been something,” Mustang Madness organizer Dan Hudson said. “They have got 7-8 Division I players. They are very, very talented and fun to watch.
“LaVar has millions of social media followers and he is an enterprise in himself. He has done some good things and every place they go, they are selling out the gym. They have four kids from Michigan that are incredibly talented to go along with LaMelo. They are No. 7 in the national but quite honestly they could beat anybody in the nation. LaMelo could eventually be a high draft pick, too.”
SPIRE also has 6-2 senior Rocket Watts, a Michigan State commit who is No. 27 in ESPN’s top 100. Another player is 7-7 center Robert Bobroczky.
Bella Vista has a talented team as well that includes 6-7 junior guard Addison Patterson, the No. 1 player out of Canada in the 2020 recruiting class along with 6-7 senior Terry Armstrong, who averaged 20 points per game during the Nike EYBL last summer. At least five other players have multiple Division I offers.