Charles Barkley Has A Problem With LaMelo Ball, The Kid Who Scored 92 Points In A Game
February 9 / Rick Chandler / SportsGrid
So a local radio guy here (San Francisco Bay Area) was kind of going nuts over LaMelo Ball on Wednesday, recounting how the sophomore from southern California's Chino Hills High scored 92 points in a game on Tuesday night. Amazing! He's a future Steph Curry!
But then some of the details started to emerge. As it turns out:
* Ball spent much of the game lurking at or around midcourt, then breaking toward the basket when his team got a defensive rebound. Back in the day we called that cherry picking.
* In the second half, Chino Hills began fouling their opponent purposely in order to get the ball back and give their star more chances to score.
* No one was really playing much defense -- Chino Hills beat Lo Osos 146-123. As shown in YouTube highlights, Ball just casually dribbled through defenders for layups on several occasions.
* The Los Osos coach called Chino Hills' fouling tactics "... a joke. It's not what the CIF is about."
* Ball made his final 3-pointer with just seconds to go, and his team ahead by 20. Classy.
Charles Barkley appeared on ESPN'sMike & Mike on Thurday morning, and was asked about Ball's big night. Charles didn't hold back:
“You know, the kid was waiting at halfcourt most of the game,” Barkley told the ESPN Radio show. “Never went back on defense. So I had a problem with it, to be honest with you. Go look at the game. The kid waited at the other end of the court and just every time the other team shot the ball, they just threw to him at half-court or three-quarters of the court. I have a serious problem with that, to be honest with you.”
Word is that LaMelo had dedicated the game to a critically ill classmate -- so tried to score as many points as possible as tribute to her. But is cherry picking, playing no defense and making a mockery of the game any way to honor anyone? Piling gratuitous points onto the scoreboard is the opposite of a tribute. Someone's priorities are seriously screwed up, and I blame the adults.
The Ball brothers are big news in SoCal: Older brother Lonzo Ball plays at UCLA, and the two younger ones, LiAngelo and LaMelo, are committed to the Bruins as well. LiAngelo, a senior, is actually the Huskies' leading scorer, but didn't play on Tuesday. He was resting a bad ankle for the playoffs. And although that might have been a legit reason to skip a game, even that sounds pretentious.
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