Mark J. Terrill/AP
Lonzo Ball and the UCLA Bruins bowed out of this year’s NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16. Several weeks later, Lonzo’s eccentric father, LaVar Ball, suggested it was because the team had “three white guys” in its starting lineup.
“Realistically you can’t win no championship with three white guys because the foot speed is too slow,” LaVar told The Orange County Register on Thursday. “I told Lonzo, ‘One of these games you might need to go for 30 or 40 points.’ It turned out that was the one game. Then once they get to the Elite 8, they’re right there.”
This season, UCLA started three white players: TJ Leaf, Bryce Alford, and Thomas Welsh.
In the Bruins’ Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky, Lonzo Ball played through a bad hamstring and managed only 10 points.
“People thought he was giving up, but he popped his hamstring,” LaVar Ball said. “He said, ‘I was trying to run, but my hamstring was pulled.’ But he’s never going to make excuses.”
In the locker room after his team’s March Madness loss, Lonzo Ball announced that he was turning pro, and he’s projected to be a top-three pick in this year’s NBA draft. Basketball fans may debate whether his wonky jump shot will translate to the NBA, but one thing is certain: LaVar Ball will surely continue to make headlines once his son reaches the next level.