LaMelo Ball’s Hawks teammates upset that he left without even telling them
NBA Draft prospect LaMelo Ball put an end to his first season with the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League of Australia, as his manager decided to shut him down for the remainder of the year to recover from a bone bruise and focus his efforts on his preparation for the draft.
One of his teammates with the Hawks, Todd Blanchfield, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) that he had no idea Ball had left when the network contacted him to get his reaction.
“It’s news to me, but [Ball’s camp has] got an agenda they have to take care of,” said Blanchfield, according to The New York Post. “We were teammates for half the season while he was playing, and we had our ups and downs, but it would have been good to say goodbye.”
Hawks owner Simon Stratford told NewsCorp the same thing, per ABC Australia.
“I’m really disappointed that he didn’t say goodbye to his teammates and his coach,” said Startford.
It seems that Ball’s venture to Australia was just what many thought it would be — an avenue to get enough NBA exposure to reach his NBA dream.
Ball was previously out of any NBA Draft boards until his signing with Illawarra and consequent display allowed him to crack the first round as a 6-foot-7 point guard with unparalleled vision. He shot his way up to the top of the boards, most recently ranked as the No. 3 prospect in ESPN’s draft rankings.
Now that he has gotten what he wants from the experience, it seems Ball has no other use for the team or his former teammates, leaving them on a whim and returning to the United States to focus on his workouts.