Lonzo Ball is chasing down some guy named Jason Kidd in the record books. pic.twitter.com/6uVvKVWKHr
— ESPNU (@ESPNU) March 20, 2017
It has been so long since a pure point guard the likes of Lonzo Ball passed through college basketball, a comparable player is admittedly difficult to find. The one landed on most often as Ball averaged a nation-leading 7.6 assists per game this season is Jason Kidd.
The UCLA freshman could justify the likeness in a way he never has before on Friday night against Kentucky in the Sweet 16. If Ball has seven assists against the Wildcats, he’ll pass the former Cal star for the second-most assists by a Pac-12 player in a single season.
Kidd had 272 assists his sophomore season at Cal. After collecting all nine of his in the second half of Sunday’s second-round win over Cincinnati, Ball has 266.
Ahlon Lewis set the conference record with 294 his senior season at Arizona State in 1998. Avery Johnson, the current Alabama head coach, set the all-time NCAA single-season assist record with 399 at Southern University in 1988.
The Kidd comparison to Ball only works on the passing front.
Despite a quirky shooting motion, Ball is shooting a very healthy 56 percent from the field and 42 from 3-point range. Kidd shot 47 and 36 percent, respectively, as a sophomore, an improvement on 46 and 29 his freshman season.
This isn’t to say Ball shouldn’t be flattered by the Kidd comparison to the player that ranks second to only John Stockton in career NBA assists. But even Kidd himself said recently Ball may be a better player than he was.