Ball returned to high school basketball on Friday, joining the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio. 

By Michael Shapiro
November 09, 2018

LaMelo Ball is back in the prep circuit, playing at the Spire Institute in Geneva, Ohio. His return to high school hoops was met with significant fanfare on Friday, with a billboard of his face appearing in downtown Cleveland. LaMelo and his father LaVar Ball continued their time in the spotlight throughout the morning, holding a press conference at the Spire Institute.

In addition to LaVar's traditional bombast, LaMelo announced he would like to play college hoops at a "top school," per WKYC's Ben Axelrod. Ball mentioned North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State as schools he would consider playing for as a freshman in 2019-20.

But despite LaMelo's wish list, there's skepticism over whether he'll be able to suit up in the NCAA. The Ball brothers' stint in Lithuania paired with LaMelo's signature shoe "jeopardized" his NCAA eligibility, per Yahoo Sports' Jeff Eisenberg.

Spire's associate academy director Justin Brantley told ESPN this week that LaMelo "never received payment" for playing in Lithuania or the Junior Basketball Association over the summer.

Eligibility questions will continue for LaMelo as he finishes his senior season at the Spire Institute. But if he is cleared for action in the NCAA, expect Ball to be a hot commodity. The youngest Ball brother, who originally committed to UCLA when he was 13, checked in at No. 16 on ESPN's recruiting rankings in Jan. 2017.

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