Jonas Valanciunas: Lithuanian League 'Great Fit' for LiAngelo, LaMelo Ball

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 12, 2017

Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas expressed his belief Monday that LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball are making a sound decision by signing to play in Lithuania.

In an interview with TMZ Sports, Valanciunas said the Ball brothers would be a "great fit in Lithuania," and that it is the "perfect country for those guys."

LiAngelo and LaMelo each signed a one-year deal with Prienu Vytautas of the LKL on Monday, according to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony.

Valanciunas played in the LKL for several seasons before he moved on to the Raptors. He was a three-time LKL All-Star, one-time league MVP and one-time champion during his stint in his native Lithuania.

LiAngelo and LaMelo are set to embark on professional careers after their father, LaVar Ball, pulled them from their respective amateur teams.

In October, LaVar pulled LaMelo from Chino Hills High School in favor of home-schooling and training his son. This month, LaVar announced LiAngelo was leaving UCLA instead of serving an indefinite suspension for shoplifting in China.

Per Wojnarowski and Givony, the Ball brothers aren't expected to receive big minutes in the LKL for Prienu Vytautas. The club does have another team in the lower-level Baltic League, however, and discussions have been held over giving LaMelo and LiAngelo between 20 and 25 minutes per game there.

LaVar has made it his goal for both LaMelo and LiAngelo to follow in Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Lonzo Ball's footsteps to the NBA.

LiAngelo is considered a long shot after ranking No. 226 overall in his recruiting class, according to 247Sports. LaMelo may have a legitimate chance if he thrives in Lithuania, though, since 247Sports ranked him as the No. 15 overall recruit in the class of 2019.   

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