Lonzo
Ball
Position: PG
Height/Weight: 6'6" / 190 lbs
School/Club: UCLA
Status: Freshman
Birthday: October 27, 1997

About Lonzo Ball

Ball is a dynamic young point guard who has a toolbox filled to overflowing. He’s got the unique ability to make his teammates better and facilitate offense while also able to get his own points. Set aside the school-record assist total and the 3-1 assist-to-turnover ratio for a second and look at his own offensive numbers: Per kenpom.com, Ball was ninth in the nation in effective field-goal percentage (66.8), fourth in two-point percentage (.732) and also shot better than 40 percent from 3. It’s difficult to defend a point guard who can grab a defensive rebound and start transition, who can finish at the rim or toss out to wide-open teammates, or who can make 3-point shots with deadly accuracy. And all this in a 6-foot-6 package.

Strengths

  • Excellent passer
  • Tremendous basketball IQ
  • Great court awareness/vision
  • Exceptional size for his position
  • Good rebounder
  • Effective finisher at the rim
  • Good 3-point shooter
  • Solid defender

Weaknesses

  • Has to get bigger and stronger
  • Could stand to tack a few points onto his free-throw percentage

NBA projection: Ball has a chance to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, but if he falls out of the top three, someone has made a serious mistake.

2016-17 Season
Wherever Lonzo Ball ends up living, he’s going to have to make sure he’s got a room big enough to house all the trophies he won during his only season of college basketball. Ball was a consensus first-team All-American, and he was also voted national freshman of the year by the NABC, USA Today, The Sporting News, CBS Sports and the USBWA. He was UCLA’s first first-team All-American since Kevin Love in 2007-08. More important than individual honors as far as Ball was concerned was the fact he pulled up a program that had been slipping and drug it along to a regular-season program record of 28 wins and into the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.

Key statistics: 14.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 7.6 apg, 2.4 tpg, 1.8 spg, 35.1 mpg, .551 FG, .412 3PT, .673 FT

Career Highlights: As a UCLA freshman, was one of five finalists for the John R. Wooden Award and one of four for the Naismith Trophy, both awards honoring the nation’s top player. One of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award. A Consensus  All-American -- landing first-team honors from the AP, USBWA, NABC, Sporting News, USA Today, NBC Sports and Basketball Times. Also took National Freshman of the Year laurels from USA Today, USBWA, NABC, Sporting News, Basketball Times and Bleacher Report.

Cool statistic: Ball set UCLA’S single-season assists record (274). That was also the second-highest total in Pac-12 history, behind Ahlon Lewis’ 294 for Arizona State in the 1997-98 season.

Reminds me of: Jason Kidd

What Insiders Say
UCLA coach Steve Alford

“Lonzo can beat you by getting 15 rebounds, 15 assists, 25 points, guarding your best player on the other team. He's so disruptive to the other team because of his talent and skill set. As good as he is from a skill set, he's a better person, and he has a good understanding of how to orchestrate a game. Those are hard traits. There are a lot of guys out there skilled, but to orchestrate a game. Where does the ball gotta go? Who’s gotta get a touch? Who is hot? What kind of a stop do we have to get now? Who do we have to guard right? He's got a great, great feel with that.”

What Outsiders Say
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin

“Their conversion is excellent. It's because they have probably the best passer since Jason Kidd or Magic Johnson playing with the ball in his hands.”

 

Chris Dortch is the editor of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook. You can email him here, follow him on Twitter and listen to the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Hour.

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