As expected, LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball are in Lithuania to stay. Lithuanian club Vytautas Prienu will exercise contract guarantee options for LaMelo and LiAngelo this month, as the sides have committed to the remainder of the season through June, sources told Yahoo Sports.
LaMelo and LiAngelo — the younger brothers of Los Angeles Lakers starting point guard Lonzo Ball — turned professional Dec. 11, signing one-year contracts with Vytautas. For LaMelo and LiAngelo, the decision to sign in Lithuania has led to individual and team progress, and Vytautas team officials told Yahoo Sports the commitment for the remainder of the season has been a foregone conclusion.
LaMelo, 16, and LiAngelo, 19, have had success in tournament games and found increased minutes and production in first-division league games while assimilating to the pro game abroad. In three Lithuanian league games, LiAngelo has averaged 10.3 points, 40 percent 3-point shooting and 15.6 minutes, while LaMelo has averaged 6.3 points, two assists and 12.1 minutes.
LaMelo, a gifted 6-foot-5 point guard, left Chino Hills High in California before his junior season this year to be home-schooled and is considered a legitimate pro prospect. The move to turn pro overseas was unprecedented for the consensus top-10 player in the class of 2019, who skipped two years of high school and his commitment at UCLA. LiAngelo, a 6-foot-5 scorer, parted ways with UCLA in early December to begin his professional career after an international scandal.
On Friday, Vytautas plays Lithuanian team Zalgiris — one of the top Euroleague clubs, which includes NBA veterans Beno Udrih and Brandon Davies and ex-Gonzaga standout Kevin Pangos — giving LaMelo and LiAngelo another opportunity to contribute in high-level games.
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