Culver City Observer -

By Mitch Chortkoff
Sports Editor 

UCLA Will Be Better Off Without Ball Controversy


December 7, 2017

Some experts who follow high school and college basketball closer than I often share their opinions so I can write with intelligence.

Lately they’ve shared the news that the NBA doesn’t consider middle Ball brother LeAngelo a first round draft prospect.

That’s important news since father Lavar has pulled LeAngelo out of UCLA, blaming them for not handling the case properly when LeAngelo and two teammates were caught stealing at three stores when the Bruin basketball team recently played in China.

Let’s be realistic. Even college freshmen should have realized they made a big mistake that caused a lot of embarrassment not only to UCLA but to athletes from all over the United States.

Barring the players from competing this season was the proper decision and perhaps all three should have had their scholarships revoked.

UCLA is playing in a tough basketball conference and would have benefited from having these three youngsters as reserves.

Instead, the Bruins will have a hard time against both Arizona schools and USC if depth is a key ingredient, But I think back to the superb basketball athletes who have represented UCLA throughout the years. They didn’t steal from stores, they participated in classrooms, they improved their basketball talent along the way.

Even if UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford tried to keep his three freshmen in the program it’s looking like the Ball youngster is gone and the two others will miss this season.

While we’re on the subject it’s time for father Lavar to realize he wasn’t doing his son, Lonzo a favor by shamelessly promoting the kid as he went into the NBA.

I recognize that Lonzo is an outstanding passer who eventually will be a first rate NBA player.

But I doubted from the first day that Lonzo would be a savior to the Lakers’ recent troubles right away after playing just one season of college basketball.

He has an unusual shot, starting with the ball on his left side, then transferring it to the right side against experienced NBA players. And unfortunately, his excellent passing is often wasted on a team that lacks above average shooters.

I think the Lakers shouldn’t have promoted Lonzo as a savior, instead allowing him to have a year or two of NBA competition before they did that.

I know Magic Johnson went to a game at UCLA and admired Lonzo’s passing but let’s be truthful. Lonzo isn’t Magic. Few freshmen in NBA history have been Magic.


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