Saturday, April 21

LiAngelo, LaMelo Ball sign one-year contract with Lithuanian pro team


LiAngelo Ball's basketball career at UCLA was quite short. He'll be headed to Lithuania to play basketball professionally, and his little brother LaMelo Ball is going with him. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)

LiAngelo Ball's basketball career at UCLA was quite short. He'll be headed to Lithuania to play basketball professionally, and his little brother LaMelo Ball is going with him. (Aubrey Yeo/Daily Bruin senior staff)


LiAngelo Ball spent just one exhibition game in a UCLA uniform. His younger brother LaMelo Ball will never be a Bruin.

Former UCLA men’s basketball freshman LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball, 16, have each signed one-year contracts with Prienai-Birštonas Vytautas of the Lithuanian Basketball League. Reports indicate they will join the team in January.

Harrison Gaines, the agent who began representing the brothers shortly after LiAngelo Ball left UCLA, told ESPN of the deal Monday.

“We engaged in serious talks with several teams, and Vytautas made the most sense as LaMelo and LiAngelo work to develop as professionals and set a foundation for their careers,” Gaines said. “It was critical to find a situation in a competitive league that works with both of their short- and long-term goals.”

The signing eliminates the possibility of LaMelo Ball playing NCAA basketball. He committed to UCLA when he was 13, and was slated to join the team for the 2019-2020 season.

Concerns over his NCAA eligibility sparked up when the high schooler began selling his own line of shoes as part of the Big Baller Brand, but it has become certain that he will not play college ball.

LiAngelo Ball will be eligible for the upcoming 2018 NBA draft. Father LaVar Ball said that getting LiAngelo Ball ready for the draft was part of the reasons he pulled his middle son – who was serving an indefinite suspension from the team for his arrest in China – out of school.

When asked what kind of NBA prospect LiAngelo Ball could be, UCLA men’s basketball coach Steve Alford said he had no idea.

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Sports editor

Gottlieb is the Sports editor. He was previously an assistant Sports editor in 2016-2017, and has covered baseball, softball, women's volleyball and golf during his time with the Bruin.


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  • Michael L. Cawley

    UCLA has too much to offer to be distracted by the Ball circus. World-class academics and a great athletic tradition. I wish the Ball brothers success in their pro-basketball pursuits, but not at the expense of a great institution. For UCLA, this is the best outcome.

  • vince bingham

    Those Ball brothers are going to have a rude awakening. Lithuanian teams have always been good, they will play against grown men that will dominate. I think they are starting in the development league first, (Lucky for them) This could ruin the kids confidence forever if they can’t handle it.

  • vince bingham

    What is this great institution crap? They had some good B-ball teams. UCLA fans are probably the most uninformed and immature. If they win it’s not Alford, but if they lose it’s his fault. His strong point has been halftime adjustments, yet these “Alum” blame him if the play sloppy. Players are going to see how bad the fans are and recruiting will be hurt, watch and see. “World class” academics? What finding a safe place?

  • Randy

    What in the world?????????
    Is it too late to call child protective services?

  • Ima Conservative

    Enough of the Ball Brothers. Neither of these two clowns will make it to the NBA.
    They are the Kardashians of basketball, and their lives are being exploited on Youtube.

  • Tim Berton

    I’m not sure LaMelo Ball is locked out of the NCAA just yet.

    He’s a minor so can’t even be held responsible for any contract he signs. If he wants to play college ball when he’s 18, he might have a good case that his father made him turn pro, and he wasn’t legally responsible.