The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

'A voice for the voiceless'
Kiley O’Brien ’25, Assistant Features Editor • July 18, 2024
Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim '25 M.A., Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

LaMelo Ball: the answer for St. Joe’s men’s basketball

The St. Joe’s men’s basketball team warms up before a game during the 2017-18 season (Photo by Luke Malanga ’20).

Crowds of people line up outside Michael J. Hagan ’85 Arena, creating a significant buzz in the air. Vans from ESPN, not the usual ones from ESPN 2 or EPSN+, are stationed in the parking lot. The eyes of the college basketball world are on Hawk Hill.

It all starts with 17 year old LaMelo Ball. The 6-foot-6-inch  point guard out of SPIRE Academy is currently the 13th ranked player on the ESPN Top 100. He is a five-star recruit and has been a household name since he was 16 years old.

It is no secret that this season for St. Joe’s basketball hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. Some tough early losses and another seemingly never-ending slew of injuries has created some massive dents in the Hawks hull. The St. Joe’s basketball program has taken on water, decreasing their chances to make it to the NCAA tournament.

Barring a miraculous run in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament, it will be another season ending a bit too early for Hawk fans. This recent stretch of middling seasons has infected the student fanbase with apathy. Students can just watch the Hawks lose from home, making the walk to Hagan that much more tiresome.

Changes need to be made. Wouldn’t getting a shiny new star turn some heads? A potential top 10 NBA draft pick? Who would want to miss that?

Ball would instantly be the most talented player ever to don the crimson and gray (sorry Jameer Nelson). He might even be the most talented to ever play in the A-10 (sorry David West). Ball would be a superstar from the get-go.

There isn’t a single team in the A-10 who would be able to bring in a star to match Ball. This is a kid who put up 92 points in a game. He’s the best playmaker in the country right now- he’s tall, athletic and he can shoot. Ball is the complete package.

Besides being the third best point guard in the country for his class, Ball brings something extra.

He is a celebrity. His brother is playing alongside LeBron James for the Los Angeles Lakers. His father has been featured on ESPN numerous times due to his outrageous claims about the Ball family’s basketball ability. His whole family has a reality show on Facebook Watch. Imagine the Ball clan sitting right behind the scoring table, all dressed in triple B attire.

He has been covered by national media outlets since he was a spiky haired freshman on Chino Hills in California. That coverage won’t stop once he steps foot on Hawk Hill. Suddenly, the talk of the sporting world isn’t Zion Williamson and the Duke UniversityBlue Devils. It’s the Hawks.

Every game would become a must-see event. The Hawks blowing out opponents left and right. The stands of Hagan packed to the brim with not only students but NBA scouts. The NCAA wouldn’t miss out on the chance for Ball to be featured in March either.

There is a reason Ball hasn’t signed yet. Coming to St. Joe’s could incite an investigation into whether Ball breached his amateur status by playing overseas, by signing with an agent or by having his own signature shoe. The odds aren’t exactly in his favor, but should that really stop us from trying?

Sure, if Ball plays and is eventually found guilty by the NCAA, maybe our wins get revoked. Maybe we forfeit a couple scholarships. Does that mean they didn’t happen though? You can’t have everyone unwatch all of the coverage. Sure, the years after could be painful, but you know what’s a great painkiller? Winning.

Kellan Grady, Davidson University’s star forward, picked the small school in North Carolina because he wanted to emulate Steph Curry. Just think what seeing Ball running the floor in Hagan would do for recruiting and admissions in general.

I get it, t’s a risk to sign Ball. But in order for people to show up and care about this team, what is the harm in offering a scholarship?

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