18-year old LaMelo Ball is currently playing hoops professionally in Australia for the Illawarra Hawks as he fine tunes his game ahead of the highly anticipated 2020 NBA Draft. Everything seems to be going according to plan for the youngest Ball brother, but dropping out of school to play professionally overseas wasn't always the path that he had envisioned.  

Like his older brothers, Lonzo and LiAngelo, LaMelo had planned to play his college ball in Southern California - but he wasn't interested in attending UCLA like they did. Instead, LaMelo explains to Bleacher Report's Mirin Fader that he would have played for the USC Trojans for one season before making the leap to the NBA.

“I thought I was gonna do four years at Chino Hills. I thought I was going to go to USC and from there go one-and-done.”

LaMelo has impressed scouts in his games with the NBL's Illawarra Hawks so far this season and, as a result, he has climbed up the draft boards. Most mock drafts have the 6'7 point guard slotted as a sure-fire Top-5 pick that could go as high as #1 overall next June.

Former NBA point guard Aaron Brooks, who played alongside LaMelo until he tore his achilles in October, described the LaMelo's IQ as "amazing" and said he has no doubt that the kid is ready for the NBA.

“The stuff I see is NBA stuff. His IQ is amazing,” Brooks told Mirin Fader of Bleacher Report. “There’s no doubt about it: He’s ready for the NBA. His ceiling is so high.”