As March comes to a close, the NCAA tournament has whittled its sixty – eight team field down to the “Sweet 16”. Among the remaining teams in the field, one of the primary contenders is the UCLA Bruins. Led by their star point guard, Lonzo Ball, the Bruins have had a wildly successful season that will continue this Friday against Kentucky.
Ball, who boasts a lean six – foot six – inch frame and a stat line of fifteen points and eight assists per game is seen by the vast majority of scouts to be a top three pick at the very least in this June’s NBA Draft.
I cannot deny the talent either, the freshman point guard has phenomenal court vision and an uncanny feel for the game for a freshman playing at the highest level of college basketball. Last night, in the Bruin’s Round of 32 matchup against Cincinnati, Ball made a number of critical plays down the stretch that prevented any chance of a Bearcat comeback. Thus, I completely understand why many NBA teams are enamored by the possibility of Lonzo Ball leading their team for the foreseeable future.
With all of that said, I am out on Lonzo Ball. That is to say, I fear Ball will be the next college star to fall flat upon entering the professional ranks.
This is for a couple of reasons. First, I think it is far too easy to look at the stats and a highlight video and determine that player X is a lottery pick. What does that player do when everything is on the line? Are they a good teammate? Are they a leader? Far too often I watch UCLA and Lonzo Ball plays as if he is above the college game. A sort of superiority complex. That type of attitude doesn’t translate to the professional game. I don’t know Lonzo Ball and only time will tell whether he truly will pan out in the NBA. But what I do know is, when all of my cards are down, I want a player who is willing to give everything for his team and I just don’t know if Ball is that type of competitor.