New coach says LaMelo has potential to be No. 1 draft pick

Top prospect LaMelo Ball is returning to the U.S. after a short stint as a pro overseas.

LaMelo Ball is headed back to high school and his new coach is a big believer in the youngest big baller.

“LaMelo Ball can be the No. 1 pick in a year or two going to the Cleveland Cavaliers,” former NBA player and current Spire Institute coach Jermaine Jackson told TMZ Sports. “Ain’t no question about it. … He has the talent that, some of it just can’t be taught.

“So I’m not the guy that’s going to say, ‘Oh, let me put some handcuffs on you, let me put some more dribbling on you.’ Hell no. Do what you do and I’m going to sit back and watch you do what you do.”

Spire Institute is located in Geneva, Ohio and is a prep school that is expected to help prepare Ball for the next level. Ball is a senior. Because he played professionally overseas, he cannot play in college next season. The G-League is an option. So is sitting out. It seems much will be determined by how well he fares at Spire.

Some scouts feel as if LaMelo will be a better pro than older brother Lonzo Ball, in his second season as a point guard with the Los Angeles Lakers.

So why did Ball, a Southern California native, select a small school in Northeast Ohio?

“My understanding is (LaMelo) was looking to relive that high school experience, looking to really focus on his game, as well as his education, and graduate,” Justin Brantley, Spire’s associate academy director, told ESPN. “It’s more so of a feeling-out process to make sure it was the right fit all the way around, make sure we can help him, make sure we can provide him what he needs socially.

“Basketball is the furthest thing from his mind (in this decision), because he can develop somewhere else. It’s all the components that Spire provides.”

After that, apparently, it will all be about the NBA.

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