A handful of NBA teams have already reached out to the high school where LaMelo Ball spent the 2018-19 season. The Blazers, Pelicans, Nets and Raptors have reached out to executives at Spire Academy in Ohio where the 6-foot-7 Ball played last season before joining Australia’s NBL for the 2019-20 season. The Cavaliers have also evaluated the youngest Ball, sources said. With his strong play overseas, Ball is now in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
“LaMelo is a 6-foot-7-plus playmaker who sees the floor at an elite level,” Justin Brantley, the academy director at Spire, told me. “He makes everyone around him better and has shown that his game tends to get better as the level of competition rises around him. He plays above the rim, has more than serviceable range and although his form is ‘unorthodox,’ he shoots the ball well from 3. He has become a more motivated defender and has shown the work ethic, dedication and desire to get better and be an elite guard in the NBA.”
While the Phoenix are benefiting from Mitch Creek missing out on a full-time NBA gig, Simon Mitchell’s goal is to see him earn another shot at the big time. “We want him to be in the NBA. I know there has been a lot of conjecture but…man, I was devastated when he didn’t make it,” Mitchell said after Creek inspired the Phoenix to a 91-88 debut victory.
A proud indigenous Australian, the 31-year-old Mills helped institute the Community Water Project, which aims to bring sustainable water to far-flung regions of Australia without access to it. Mills teamed with Zero Mass, a company based in Phoenix, which manufactures hydropanels used to produce water out of sunlight and air. He helped bring the panels to six communities in the Australian wilderness.
“The water that’s accessible (in these communities) isn’t drinkable, or even good to bathe in,” said Mills, who was raised in Canberra and boasts Torres Islander heritage. “So these communities are either getting water trucked in, or they just don’t have it at all. These hydro panels were a good kind of place to start.” “It doesn’t necessarily solve the problem,” Mills added, “but at can at least assist and start the conversation.”
Mills credits his new wife for helping to make the journey possible so soon after they were married. “There wasn’t even a thought from here otherwise,” Mills said. “It was, ‘We’ve got to do this, because it means a lot to those people.’ She was like, ‘Yep, let’s do it.’ ” He vows to pay Alyssa back some day. “I do owe her a honeymoon,” Mills said.