Charlotte Hornets select LaMelo Ball with the third pick in the NBA Draft


The most polarizing player in the 2020 NBA Draft is heading to Charlotte.

The Hornets selected 19-year old LaMelo Ball with the third overall pick in Thursday night's draft.

Ball, 19, most recently played for the Illawarra Hawks of the Australian National Basketball League in 2019, where he averaged 17 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.6 steals in 12 games.

"He is 19 and he is going to come onto a team where there are players who have NBA experience and we’re hopeful that he works hard and earns any minutes that he gets this year," general manager Mitch Kupchak said. "If he does that and if he loves the game as much as we think he loves the game, he has the chance to be a heck of a player in this league for a long time.”

The national spotlight has been on Ball since he was a freshman in high school thanks to his brother, Lonzo Ball, being drafted second overall in the 2017 draft and his outspoken father, Lavar Ball.

Now, he'll get to play for Hornets owner Michael Jordan.

“Man, straight blessing, for real,” Ball said of Jordan. “I don’t even have enough words to say, I’m just blessed.”

Ball, a product of Chino Hills High in California, originally committed to UCLA to play collegiately, which is where Lonzo played, but his eligibility became at stake when Lavar signed Ball and his older brother, LiAngelo, to Big Baller Brand shoe deals, forcing the brothers to play overseas.

Before playing with the Hawks, Ball spent time with Prienai of the Lithuanian Basketball League and the Los Angeles Ballers of the Junior Basketball Association.

Ball will now join a crowded backcourt in Charlotte along with Devonte' Graham and Terry Rozier.

“I feel like I fit anywhere,” Ball said. “It is positionless basketball. I feel like I can get it and go.”