WOLLONGONG, Australia (AP) — American import LaMelo Ball became the youngest player in National Basketball League history to record a triple-double — 32 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists — on Monday.
The 18-year-old Ball achieved the feat as his Illawarra Hawks beat the Cairns Taipans 114-106 in overtime.
“Everyone saw what he’s capable of — he just impacts the game in so many ways,” Illawarra coach Matt Flinn said.
“There’s plenty of good players in this league but it’s the great ones that have the ability to get the best out of their teammates, which is what LaMelo is doing. He’s a completely different player to when he arrived here and he’s only going to get better the more time he spends on court.”
Cairns coach Mike Kelly said Bell “controlled the tempo far beyond his years.”
“He made plenty of great passes and hit big shots when the Hawks needed him to,” Kelly said. “He was the difference-maker for them.”
Ball, who is averaging 16.3 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.7 assists on the season, played previously in Lithuania and is the third brother from the family known for the “Big Baller Brand” apparel company.
Playing in the NBL’s “Next Stars” program to attract elite NBA prospects, Ball is expected to be a potential top NBA draft pick, and the Hawks are often followed by dozens of scouts.