Youngest player to record a trip-double.
That is the claim belonging, for the moment at least, to LaMelo Ball of the Illawarra Hawks of the NBL.
To all appearances, Ball is auditioning for the 2020 NBA draft in late June of next year.
Ball took a different path, skipping US. collegiate hoop for the Lithuanian Basketball League before joining the Las Angeles Ballers, part of the Junior Basketball Association (JBA) league.
Ball was heavily recruited by UCLA and he verbally committed to the NCAA college basketball behemoth when he was just 13.
Ball risked his NCAA eligibility by using his marketing value to sell a signature shoe.
He signed a two-year deal to play for Illawarra, but he has an escape clause built into the contract, so this 2019 – 2020 NBL season might be the last opportunity to witness a player the scouts consider to be a lock first-round NBA pick.
The NBL record of being the youngest player to record a triple-double is questionable as a bullet point on a resume, as players of any age are always welcome to do the same thing, as it can be done simply with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Ball went above and beyond, scoring 32 points, grabbing11 rebounds and dishing out 13 assists in the 114 – 106 win over Cairns Taipans.
The game went into overtime following Ball’s clutch three-pointer with six seconds remaining in regular time, which sent the game to extra time tied at 99.
So, the name of LaMelo Ball might require an asterisk to indicate that his triple-double included overtime, so the record is one of the ephemeral sort that appeal to stats freaks.
If Ball does, as predicted, receive the No. 1 selection in the NBA draft, he will not need to sell any shoes with his name on them, as he will capture millions of dollars as the No. 1 NBAS Draft pick.
That alone will ensure that his shoes will be in demand.
In the interim, Ball took the path that lead to an immediate salary as a professional and it will be interesting to see what he can do over the course of this NBL season.
The NBL will miss him when he goes, while the NCAA has removed the sanction on college players’ acceptance of endorsements.