UCLA No Longer Having A Ball: And That’s Not A Bad Thing

The Saga Of The Ball Family Continues Sometimes you want people to go away and shut up. Sometimes you’ll settle for half of that. UCLA’s basketball program will be...

The Saga Of The Ball Family Continues

Sometimes you want people to go away and shut up. Sometimes you’ll settle for half of that.

UCLA’s basketball program will be rid of LaVar Ball soon enough. Eventually he’ll have to stop talking. And that may bring peace to Westwood. Time to let the air out of the Ball.

Ball, not on anyone’s list for father of the year, pulled his son LiAngelo out of school on Tuesday. The younger Ball, a freshman, was one of three players arrested for shoplifting during the team’s trip to China. The trio was ultimately suspended indefinitely by UCLA.

Intercession on their behalf by President Donald J. Trump while they were held in China apparently helped get them out, but Father Ball – and father knows least – claimed that was mostly nonsense. Oh, let’s not get into their Twitter war. You’ll struggle against the potent POTUS and his flashing fingers.

Father Ball has now turned on coach Steve Alford in removing LiAngelo from UCLA. He blamed the shoplifting episode not on the shoplifters but the coaching staff, which, at last count, had not pocketed illicitly any high-end sunglasses at the victimized Chinese mall.

“Let’s stand up to bat (for the players) and say you’re the coach,” Poppa Ball told CNN. “Coaches are making enough money. They’ve gotta hold some accountability.”
Alford’s reply: “I’ve been doing this (coaching) for 27 years, and playing before that. These guys are 17, 18 years of age. It’s not like we turned them loose to go across town. They had a 90-minute window to walk around in an area outside the hotel. They were told not to go individually so they were going to be in a group, and they’re adults.”

We can argue that latter point another day. Adults? Old enough, sure, but not mature enough.

LiAngelo’s older brother, Lonzo, did the one-and-done trick at UCLA and wound up going to the Los Angeles Lakers second overall in the June draft. LiAngelo is doing the none-and-done. Suspended since the China trip (which included the Bruins’ opener), he never played. Nor is he considered much of an NBA prospect.

There is still another Ball in play – LaMelo, the baby Ball. He’d have been part of UCLA’s Class of 2019. That certainly won’t happen now.

In Los Angeles, it’s not easy to upstage the Kardashians. But this one basketball family is apparently having a ball trying.

And ultimately, LaVar took his little Ball and went home.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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