By LARRY VAUGHT
PADUCAH — What kind of reception will LaVar Ball and his youngest son, LaMelo Ball, get when Spire Academy takes on The Rock (Fla.) tonight at 7 CST at McCracken County Mustang Madness?
LaVar Ball’s oldest son, Lonzo, plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and played against Kentucky —and DeAaron Fox — when he was at UCLA.
LaMelo Ball, who had 92 points in a high school game, verbally committed to play at UCLA when he was a freshman at Chino Hills (Calif.) and won a state title as a freshman with his brothers Lonzo and LiAngelo. The 6-6 LaMelo was considered one of the top players in his recruiting class but left high school after his junior season to play with a Lithuanian team. He also briefly played for the Los Angeles Ballers in the Junior Basketball Association before joining Spire this fall.
His presence at Spire — a school in northern Ohio — has created a buzz. His father has become a national celebrity and Facebook is producing a series, “Ball in the Family,” on this season.
Ball has over 3.9 million followers on Instagram and also has a signature shoe by his father’s company, Big Baller Brand.
Spire is 12-0 this year. Ball had 20 points and 10 assists in his debut and had a triple-double (28 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) Dec. 1 against Vermilion High School.
His teammates include Mark Watts, a Michigan State commit, and 6-10 Joseph Bilau and Myron Gardner, who both have at least 10 Division I offers.
Isaiah Jackson, a 6-9 junior, is the 14th ranked player in the 2020 recruiting class and has offers from Arkansas, Auburn, Connecticut, Creighton, Florida State, Georgetown, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Marquette, Maryland, Michigan State Mississippi State, Syracuse, USC, Xavier and others.
Terry Locket is ranked 25th in the 2020 class and his offers include Cincinnati, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Purdue.
The Rock has at least five future Division I players on its roster.