News broke on Monday that UCLA Freshman LiAngelo Ball, known by most as Gelo, was withdrawn from UCLA by the patriarch of the Ball family, Lavar. While this type of move, might make some sense, because news was breaking that Gelo was not an NBA prospect and was not being scouted, perhaps a move to a mid-major school would have been just what the doctor ordered. Sure, Gelo would have to sit out a year in order to transfer, but it’s not like he was going to be playing anytime soon. Gelo would have the chance to start fresh at another school.
What made this story turn even more, is that there is now talk that Lavar is looking to send Gelo and possibly his little brother Melo overseas in preparation for the NBA.
Here at Ball Takes, we are very much pro-Lavar and the whole Ball clan but I just don’t agree with how he is handling the kids. Today, Gelo and Melo have both signed with Lonzo’s agent and are now ineligible for the NCAA. That said, here are what I believed would have been the best options for Gelo.
Transfer to a mid-major college
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Gelo was never considered an NBA prospect, not even as a fringe prospect, so it would make sense for him to try to get as much experience as possible. A great landing spot for him, might have been Wichita State. The Shockers are led by coach Gregg Marshall who has a good track record of winning games and making it to the NCAA tournament. One thing Lavar is very adamant about, is his boys being on winning teams, and Marshall and the Shockers could have given Gelo just that. Gelo would have to sit out for a year, but he’d still be allowed to learn from Marshall and perhaps turn some heads at some point after refining his game a bit.
Other schools that might have made sense for Gelo would have been Pepperdine or Loyola Marymount due to how close they are to home.
Play in the G-League
Gelo may not actually be good enough to make a G-League team, but perhaps older brother Lonzo might have some pull and get Gelo a spot on the South Bay Lakers. This again, would keep Gelo at home, while giving him structure and experience (though perhaps just practice experience) in an NBA system. If Gelo can start to turn heads in practice or during garbage time, he might be able to eventually get himself a look from an NBA team.
Drop out and focus full-time on Big Baller Brand
Gelo might not ever make it playing basketball, but for every Peyton and Eli Manning, there’s a Cooper Manning. If Gelo can’t play basketball, he can definitely still stay connected with his family and take a larger role in the family business. Perhaps some business classes might have helped, but based on what we’ve seen of Lavar, the Ball family seems to be doing just fine.
While these options are things that I believe are best for Gelo, it will all come down to what Lavar wants to do. So far he’s 1 for 1 with his kids, so here’s hoping Gelo is just another of Lavar’s successes.