LaMelo Ball Scores 20 Points, Dishes 10 Assists in Spire Institute Debut

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 07: LaMelo Ball attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Staples Center on November 07, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

LaMelo Ball made his debut for the Spire Institute on Saturday in a 96-86 scrimmage victory over The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Ball, who announced his decision to enroll at Spire on Tuesday, scored 20 points and tallied 10 assists for a double-double in the exhibition contest.

Here's a look at some highlights from his performance (via Frankie Vision):

Overtime also shared highlights:

Ball's decision to join Spire, which is located in Geneva, Ohio, has already generated ample controversy within the high school ranks.

The La Lumiere School announced Friday it decided to cancel Tuesday's scheduled game against Spire because Ball played professionally for BC Prienai in Lithuania last year. Per Stan Maddux of The Times, the school said: 

"The scholar-athletes at La Lumiere School are here to prepare in every way for success at the college level. We aim to put together as competitive a schedule as possible for our team, but we have never played against a team whose roster included any players who have played at the professional level. With the recent news that someone who has played professionally intends to play for SPIRE Academy, we are not comfortable moving forward with our game slated for next Tuesday against SPIRE."

TMZ Sports reported Ball is also ineligible to play in the 2019 McDonald's All-American Game, a top showcase of elite basketball prospects, because he's already obtained pro status.

"LaMelo Ball is a professional basketball player and has played professionally in Lithuania resulting in him being ineligible for the McDonald's All-American Game," a representative told TMZ.

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Meanwhile, Ball said Friday he's hoping to earn a college basketball scholarship from a top program, namely Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State or North Carolina, per Ben Axelrod and Will Ujek of WKYC.

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports reported it's "tough to envision" Ball receiving NCAA clearance after playing in the Lithuanian Basketball League and getting a signature shoe through the family's apparel company, Big Baller Brand, though.

All told, the 17-year-old combo guard has showcased a lot of potential, but his future path toward the NBA remains very much up in the air as he restarts his high school basketball career.

Ball and Spire are scheduled for a return to action Friday night against Northfield Mount Hermon in Massachusetts.

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