Chino Hills High School sophomore basketball standout LiAngelo Ball made a verbal commitment to UCLA on Wednesday.
He follows in the footsteps of much-heralded junior brother Lonzo who did the same a year ago. But Lonzo’s decision to go there wasn’t a factor in LiAngelo’s decision.
Why is that? Well Lonzo has said publicly he hopes to be one-and-done at UCLA and then go on to the NBA. If that happens he’d be leaving before LiAngelo gets there.
“I really like that they play an up-tempo game and the school has a great legacy in basketball,” he said.
The school being close to home was also a factor. The brothers have considerable family support and presence at games and it’s something they would miss.
LiAngelo has made two unofficial visits to UCLA and never really considered another school.
Last season LiAngelo averaged 20.1 points and 3.5 rebounds with a season high of 53 in one early season tournament game. He was a first-team All-Inland Valley selection, helping the Huskies to a spot in the Division I state championship game.
He wanted to get the decision out of the way and make it public to focus on the rest of his high school career.
The high school season may have ended but he hasn’t stopped training. In addition to travel ball (Big Ballers) he is doing considerable conditioning.
“A lot of running hills and lifting weights,” he said. “We’re still working hard.”
Yet another award for Chino Hills basketball standout Lonzo Ball.
A few days after earning national recognition, Ball has garnered praise from CalHi Sports which named the Division I player of the Year as well as the state’s overall top junior.
Ball, a 6-foot-6 guard, can play any position on the floor and boasted top notch numbers in several offensive categories, averaging 24.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 9.1 assists, five steals and five blocked shots per game playing tough non-league competition and in arguably the toughest league in the state.
He was also CalHi Sports sophomore of the year last season.
Chino Hills basketball standout Lonzo Ball has another accolade to add to his growing resume.
The 6-foot-6 guard was one of the top five juniors in the country according to MaxPreps which named an All-American junior team that consisted of five players on first team, five on second and five on third.
Ball, who has committed to UCLA, nearly averaged a triple-double (24.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 9.1 assists per game) while leading Huskies to Division I state title game.
Only one other Californian was singled out, that player being T.J. Leaf of Foothills Christian who was a second team selection.
Chino Hills coach Steve Baik talks about double overtime loss to San Ramon Valley
The Chino Hills boys basketball team couldn’t quite finish the job. The Huskies lost the Division I state title game to San Ramon Valley 79-71 in double overtime Friday night at Cal-Berkeley.
There will be a lot of “what ifs” for the Huskies. The biggest of those . . . What if star player Lonzo Ball hadn’t fouled out with 3:17 left in regulation of a nip and tuck contest?
The Huskies did will to survive a first overtime but collapsed in the second. But give San Ramon Valley some credit. The Wolves made all the clutch shots down the stretch.
The Huskies have gotten just enough offense from players not named Ball to advance this far. But in the end the inexperience of those players showed.
The scarey thing, the entire team will be back in tact. The team has five seniors, but only one of those saw significant playing time, that being Jared Nyivih. They’ll also have the two transfers who weren’t eligible and are expected to be huge contributors next year in Shane Hopkins (Ayala) and Eli Scott (Upland).
They’ll also have another Ball, this one also supposedly very good.
Look for the Huskies to use this loss as motivation moving forward.
The Chino Hills boys basketball team has developed a national reputation in the past couple of years led by a marquee player in UCLA-bound junior Lonzo Ball.
Well the Huskies will be part of the 43rd Culligan City of Palms Classic field Dec.18-23 in Fort Myers, Fla. The event has become one of the nation’s premier basketball events.
The event features 20 teams from around the country, 16 of which compete in one main bracket with four others in what is called a Signature Series. Those schools are typically from basketball academies/boarding schools.
Tournament Director Donnie Wilkie says Chino Hills was one of the first schools he locked in for the coming season. He typically tries to get teams from different geographic regions while sprinkling in some locals.
Sierra Canyon, which won the Division V state title early Friday, played in the event last year. Mater Dei has competed there on multiple occasions.
“We try to get the big fish from as many ponds as possible and then put them in one big pond,” Wilkie said. “We’re about great teams and great players but great stories too.”
Junior Lonzo Ball of Chino Hills and senior Jeremy Hemsley of Damien have led their respective teams to state tournament championship games. So not surprisingly they have earned special recognition.
Both are among the seven recipients named winners of the John R. Wooden Award for their division. Ball was the honoree in Division 1 while Hemsley is the honoree in Division 3.
They are in select company. Here is the list of those honored:
* Open – Lindsey Drew, Los Angeles Fairfax
* Division I – Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills
* Division II – Chimezie Metu, Lawndale
* Division III – Jeremy Hemsley, Damien
* Division IV – Stephen Thompson Jr., Bishop Montgomery
* Division V – Cody Riley, Sierra Canyon
* Division VI – Roderick Williams, Price
He runs. He jumps. He passes the ball with pinpoint precision. He scores at will. Defense? He plays that pretty well too.
Yes he probably leaps tall buildings in a single bound.
He’s Chino Hills junior guard Lonzo Ball. If you haven’t seen him play do yourself a favor and make a it a point to do so next season, his senior campaign.
He’s one of those players that come around every 10, maybe 20 years or so. He’s a lean 6-foot-6 but he plays much bigger than that. His game is so well rounded it’s scarey.
Most think he’ll be one and done at UCLA, then go on to the NBA. That’s a lot of expectations for a guy not out of high school but he passes that eye test. Everywhere I go basketball fans and true experts are talking about him, even when his team isn’t necessarily playing.
He single-handedly propelled Chino Hills to a 62-51 win over Corona Centennial in the Division 1 Southern California Regional at The Pyramid In Long Beach. His line for the night – 26 points, 15 rebounds, 8 steals, 5 assists, 3 blocked shots. That’s pretty insane when you think about it.
Despite how good he is, he is still pretty grounded and has a good temperment on the court. He stole the ball right out of the hands of Centennial’s Ike Anigbpgu in the closing seconds of the third quarter with Chino Hills up 45-34. The Centennial player, perhaps a little embarrassed and frustrated had a few choice words and it looked like there might be minor skirmish. Ball just shook his head, grinned and walked away.
Here’s what Centennial coach Josh Giles had to say about him:
Anyone hoping to take in the Open Division boys basketball quarterfinal between Chino Hills and Mater Dei on Wednesday is advised to get tickets in advance because there likely won’t be any available at the venue before the game.
All the details are still being worked out and the contract is expected to be signed today with the game being played at Colony High School.
The CIF directed Chino Hills to move the game because it’s gym holds just 1,300, well under what the CIF wants for a game of this magnitude.
Students can purchase tickets at the student store during school hours.
The general public may also purchase tickets at the school between noon and 2:50 p.m. but must check in at the main office and they will be directed back to the store.
The CIF will announce the Open Division bids for basketball at 3 p.m. on Friday. There probably won’t be any drama when it comes to what local teams are selected.
The Baseline League teams all play their last game today but those won’t change anything.
Damien (22-3, 8-1) is a shoe-in. The Spartans finished first in the difficult Baseline League and took three of four head-to-head meetings with premier teams in Etiwanda and Chino Hills. That’s reason enough to include them. But they also have some quality wins out of league to bolster their resume.
Etiwanda (19-7, 7-2) finished second to Damien. The Eagles also beat both Chino Hills and Damien the second time through league play after losing the first time to both. Like Damien, Coach Dave Kleckner’s team has played a top-notch schedule.
And heck, they’re Etiwanda. History alone would indicate they’re deserving.
Chino Hills (9-15) will likely end up third in the league. Yes there was a matter of those nine forfeits. But the Huskies had a great run in the Open Division last year, advancing to the final before losing to Mater Dei. They have played national caliber schedule. And they have a marquee attraction in Team Ball. They’re going to be in, even if they end up fourth.
On the girls side the lone team that should get in and will is Etiwanda (15-6, 9-0). The Eagles are a perennial title contender on the girls side too. Even though Coach Anders Anderson graduated nine players, he’s still loaded. And he has probably played the most difficult schedule of any team anywhere.
Despite graduating so many players the Eagles still won every league game by 20 points or more. Yes they have a game left but it will be a win. They’re in too.