UCLA AD Weighs In On LaVar Ball; NBA Execs Discuss His Effect On Lonzo's Draft Stock
UCLA AD Dan Guerrero said "never" twice in regards to whether former UCLA G Lonzo Ball's father, LaVar, "ever tried to interfere with UCLA's coaching staff or program," according to Tania Ganguli of the L.A. TIMES. Guerrero said the school "knew when we recruited Lonzo that there would be a lot of publicity around him." Guerrero: "When you recruit the student athlete, you also recruit the family. There's nothing that we've experienced that was of any surprise." While describing Lonzo's time at UCLA, Guerrero had only praise for the potential top pick in the June 22 NBA Draft, saying, "Terrific young man. Did not create one bit of problems for us" (L.A. TIMES, 5/13).
WORTH THE BAGGAGE? Suns GM Ryan McDonough, whose team will have a lottery pick in the Draft, said that LaVar Ball's comments "won't have an impact on the draft stock" of Lonzo. McDonough: "We evaluate the player first and foremost. Every player comes from a different family situation. It seems like LaVar has been extremely involved in Lonzo's career and obviously he's a polarizing guy. But on the court, in terms of development, it seems like it's helped Lonzo. As we try to weigh in all the factors, certainly having a parent who's very involved and cares a lot, we don't view that as a bad thing" (AZCENTRAL.com, 5/12). In N.Y., Marc Berman wrote that according to interviews with a dozen GMs, personnel directors and scouts, LaVar Ball's "antics likely won't cause Lonzo to slide past No. 2" in the Draft. But "some wonder if Lonzo wouldn't be the clear-cut top pick if he didn't come with the baggage his father creates." One Western Conference scout said, "If you don’t play him the right way, is the father going to say something? And you don’t want to have him on a big stage like New York. You’re always thinking: What's next?" An Eastern Conference exec said, "I don’t think he falls past 2, but it's a concern in the back of everyone’s mind. The team will have to sit down with Lonzo and LaVar to set the groundwork. It will be interesting" (N.Y. POST, 5/14).