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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / October 17.
  • LaVar Ball Rips Markelle Fultz, Says Lonzo is Better…And Lonzo is Going to the Lakers

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    Say this about LaVar Ball. He’s persistent. And consistent.

    In his latest video chat with TMZ, he ripped Washington guard Markelle Fultz and said that his son, UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball, should be the No. 1 overall pick.

    Led by Ball, UCLA went 29-4 this year and won their first-round NCAA Tournament game Friday night over Kent State. Led by Fultz, Washington went 9-22, missed the Big Dance and saw coach Lorenzo Romar get fired.

    “If you got a kid that makes everybody better, you mean to tell me you wouldn’t take him over a guy that’s averaging 40 points but the team’s losing?” LaVar asked. “If you wanna winner, you pick my boy.

    “Look what he did to UCLA. They 15-17 last year. You bring one dude and change the culture that’s what you want, it’s not Lonzo’s passing and shooting that’s his great gift, it’s the winning.”

    The elder Ball has previously stated his desire for his son to land with the Lakers, and he reiterated that.

    “He gonna go to the Lakers, watch,” he said. “The Lakers gonna get that ball, then they gonna get that Ball.”

    Ball — along with Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Duke’s Jayson Tatum — can lift their NBA Draft stock even further with a deep run in March, as discussed here.

    But in order for the Bruins to make such a run, they will not only have to emerge from the “Region of Death” in the South that also includes No. 1 North Carolina and No. 2 Kentucky, but now they will have to deftly fight off numerous distractions.

    First, UCLA head coach Steve Alford is now linked to the Indiana opening following the firing of Tom Crean on Thursday. Crean is owed $4 million by Indiana, Alford’s buyout is reportedly $7.8 million this year, and the school will have to pay the new coach $3-4 million annually.

    Second, Lonzo was asked on the podium following Friday’s win whether his mother, Tina Ball, had suffered a stroke. The question was based on an online report, and you can bet this story won’t end with Lonzo’s answer.

    Third, LaVar Ball continues to make comments like these associated with Fultz which may raise question marks with some NBA executives about what they’re in for should they draft Lonzo.

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    Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.