92 Points Game: Epic Performance Or Disgrace?

Posted at 10:59 AM, Feb 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-09 11:59:13-05

A high school basketball star scored 92 points in a game Tuesday night, but it should not be celebrated. The performance was a disgrace to the sport and the spirit of competition.

LaMelo Ball, the younger brother of UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball, is a highly regarded sophomore guard on the Chino Hills High School basketball team in California. He put up the prolific scoring total in a 146-123 win over Los Osos. 

But one look at the highlights from the game show that this was hardly the epic performance it was made out to be. Ball cherry picked more in this game than the 55 year old law professor at the local rec center.

He shot 61 times, including 39 shots that were essentially lay ups. I'm not sure if he crossed midcourt to even attempt to play defense in the fourth quarter.

The display rubbed it in the faces of his outmanned opponent and embarrassed the sport.

"It's a joke," Los Osos coach Dave Smith said after the game. "It goes against everything [high school basketball] stands for."

The effort was abysmal and more than one college coach told me Wednesday they were appalled by the UCLA commit's effort - or lack thereof. 

But I don't blame Ball. 

The responsibility for this display falls squarely on Ball's father, LaVar, and first year Chino Hills head coach Stephan Gilling. They're the adults in the room and they allowed this to happen, or worse yet, encouraged it.

"I just unleashed him," LaVar Bell said.

"As a coach, who am I to stop his shine," Gilling said.

Don't unleash him. Stop the shine. LaMelo Ball is a basketball star, one of the best players in the country at the age of 15. He didn't need to score 92 to prove that.

But while he did, the adults in the room allowed the kids on the other team to be embarrassed and compromised the principles of teamwork and defense that are part of what make basketball great.

Gilling is in charge of one of the best teams in the country. He needs to be held to a higher standard.

Some have argued that the strategy worked because of Ball's performance and the team's 23 point win, but this was a vastly inferior opponent that was able to score 123 points against this "strategy". If it was such a good plan, why didn't Chino Hills employ it in their showdown with Oak Hill Academy last weekend when it's 60-game winning streak was snapped?

Some have defended Ball's performance because he said he did it in honor of a sick classmate. That's a very kind gesture, but it would've been equally thoughtful, maybe even more so, had he dedicated the game to her and played hard on both ends of the floor as opposed to just racking up points. 

It also doesn't appear this was a onetime thing. Earlier this season, LiAngelo Ball, LaMelo's brother and a senior at Chino Hills, scored 72 in a game using a similar strategy. 

Both of the Ball brothers are stars and should be celebrated for their talents. But not these performances that place individuals above the team, embarrass opponents and mock the spirit of the game. 

They both have a lot of basketball in front of them. Let's hope "92" just becomes a footnote to LaMelo's career and not his legacy.