LaVar Ball has made the decision to have his son LiAngelo quit the UCLA basketball team, and the elder Ball says the move is designed to better prepare the 19-year-old for the NBA Draft.
LaVar confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman on Monday that LiAngelo is leaving UCLA, but he said there are no plans for LiAngelo to transfer schools.
“I’m going to make him way better for the draft than UCLA ever could have,” he said. “He’s not transferring to another school. The plan is now to get Gelo ready for the NBA draft.”
LaVar Ball indicated that he grew frustrated with the indefinite suspension LiAngelo had been serving at UCLA stemming from his shoplifting incident in China.
“I’m not sitting back and waiting,” the Big Baller Brand founder said. “He wasn’t punished this bad in China. We get back over here and the consequences were even stiffer than China. So basically they’re in jail here.”
TMZ first reported on Monday that LiAngelo Ball is leaving UCLA, and LaVar said he didn’t bother to speak with Steve Alford and the Bruins coaching staff about the decision.
“I haven’t told any of those guys,” LaVar Ball said. “They didn’t tell me anything, so why am I gonna tell them? … They had him there just to use the Ball family name. They were going to keep the best shooter on the team coming off the bench? That’s like telling the Clippers back in the day not to play J.J. Redick.”
While Ball said the plan is for his son to remain enrolled at UCLA, a university source told ESPN’s Arash Markazi that this will likely be the end of the Ball family’s relationship with the school. LaMelo Ball, the youngest of the Ball brothers, had committed to go to UCLA in two years. There have been some questions about whether LaMelo would be eligible to play NCAA basketball because he already has his own shoe.
LaVar Ball has been unapologetic over LiAngelo’s shoplifting arrest in China, and the incident has resulted in him engaging in a surreal war of words with Donald Trump.
Back in October, LaVar Ball chose to pull LaMelo out of high school in favor of homeschooling and private basketball training.