USA Today– LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball have both signed one-year contracts with Vytautas Prienai — a professional basketball club in Lithuania.
It looks like the Big Baller Brand can’t quite cut it in America, and are now being forced to play in Lithuania. Now this could actually be a good move for the Big Baller Brand, in that it will allow them to expand their brand into Europe. But for the two kids who will have to go live and play in Lithuania, it will do nothing but hurt them.
All of this was set in motion when Lavar Ball pulled LaMelo Ball out of high school in order to be homeschooled back in October. Then the whole fiasco with LiAngelo shoplifting in China made it easy for Lavar to pull him out of UCLA. It was at first stated that Lavar would be training LiAngelo for the NBA draft, and would train LaMelo until he went to college. Well now neither of those is happening, because he is not the one training these kids in Lithuania, and LaMelo can no longer even consider playing in college.
I think that pulling both of these kids out of school is the completely wrong decision, because them playing overseas won’t give the same experience as playing in school. While this move could possibly benefit LiAngelo, simply because he will get more playing time. He will not be facing the level of competition he would have seen at UCLA, which in my opinion would have given him a better chance of improving his skills. He will probably already be one of the better players on the team, which could effect his mindset of needing to get better.
Speaking of effecting a kids mindset LaMelo, will go into this team thinking he is already the best player on the team, and will likely hinder his development. Many people think that LaMelo had a chance of making the NBA if he had stayed in school, and had gone to UCLA. With him going to Lithuania he will be playing against lower level competition and he will continue to play the style he was in high school, where he is just jacking up terrible three-pointers and not playing defense.
This move will end up hurting both players as far as their basketball skills go, but it is a move that will likely help out the Brands reach outside of the United States. So Lavar is clearly putting his brand above what will be best for his children.