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.
More than 50 college coaches will see LaMelo Ball, top prospects at PSA Cardinals Showcase
By ADAM ZAGORIA
At this point, no one knows if LaMelo Ball will ever spend a single day on a college campus, but this much is clear. He will be seen by a slew of college coaches now that he’s returned to the high school ranks at Spire Institute (Ohio).
More than 50 college coaches — including coaches from Kentucky, Duke, Syracuse, UConn, West Virginia, Oklahoma and many other top programs — are expected in attendance when Ball and Spire play at the PSA Cardinals Prep Showcase on Dec. 9 at Pottstown, PA High School. They meet Our Saviour Lutheran at 6 p.m. as part of a loaded schedule.
“We’ll have 50-70 college coaches in the building on that day,” Mark Carter of the PSA Cardinals said Friday by phone. “We’re blessed to be in a position where a lot of colleges don’t play on Sundays and we’re looking forward to giving exposure and opportunities to a ton of young men.
“I’m sure if [Ball] remains eligible, as [his camp] thinks he is, they’ll have a first-hand look at him.”
This is one of several high-profile events Ball and his Spire teammates — including Michigan State-bound guard Mark “Rocket” Watts will compete in this season. As far reported by ZAGSBLOG, Spire is also set to play in both the Hoophall West and Hoophall East events.
A onetime UCLA commit, Ball told reporters he wants to play in college for a top program like Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky or Michigan State, but it remains unclear if he’ll ever play college ball due to a variety of factors, including the fact that he played professionally overseas in Lithuania and with his father’s JBA league, and also has a signature shoe named after him.
LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball reporteldy signed with agent Harrison Gaines — also Lonzo Ball’s agent — in December 2017, which could rule LaMelo out of college eligibility. The NCAA in August announced that select high school players would be able to sign with agents once the NBA one-and-done rule is changed, so Ball’s camp believes LaMelo is at least in a gray area there.
If ineligible for college, that would leave Ball with the option of going to the G League or overseas (again) in 2019.
Carter said the PSA Cardinals were in discussions with Spire director Justin Brantley last month about having them play in the event. Ball then announced on Nov. 6 he was returning to high school ball at Spire.
“I think all of the kids are in position to be headliners,” Carter said. “I think LaMelo Ball with his following and popularity in high school basketball, he is definitely a highlight within the event. I don’t want to slight any kids by saying that he is the de facto headliner.”
The event also features UConn-bound guards James Bouknight of MacDuffie (MA) and Jalen Gaffney of Westtown (PA), as well as uncommitted forward Karim Coulibaly of Scotland Campus (PA) and younger stars like Hasan Diarra of Putnam Science (CT), Jabri Abdur-Rahim of Blair (N.J.) and Akoldah “Ak” Gak of Blair .
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.