HoopFocus writer covering Basketball of all levels
Introducing your freshest three-headed monster
LaMelo was a head case. He still is, mind you. Only in 2017 there was no doubt he was on the goofy, careless, youngish and cheerful mood 24 hours a day, even while sleeping–that when able to catch the bed. And you could expect what happened to Los Osos when facing Chino Hills. They went empty. Turned black. Fooled by the Ball.
That chilly night in SoCal, Melo made history and dropped–not cherry-picked–the mere amount of 92 points while handing 7 assists and capturing 5 boards. “Nah, no big deal, he just an indulged kid”, haters said.
Two years later, and a few round-world trips after that match, Melo finds himself at the spotlight again, and not only because of his surroundings. LaVar’s game keeps going strong, yes. Lonzo is partnering LeBron just around the corner, right. LiAngelo, well, LiAngelo is part of the triple B, which is something. But it is all about LaMelo now. Now lanky and sporting a shiny-trimmed hair, the small of the Balls is just doing that, Ballin’.
His family still brings the fanfare, for sure, but he’s undoubtedly the leader of a Spire Academy team nothing but full of talent. He may not be ranked by most scouting services because they see them as a pro, but the kid could be easily the leading PG of this year’s class. Don’t sweat it tho. As in the past, time will put everyone in his spot, and Melo ain’t gon be far from the L much long.
What are you supposed to explain when talking about someone sought by the likes of UConn, FSU and Michigan State? Most probably greatness. Ask Rocket Watts, the No. 1 prospect coming out of Ohio in 2019 and future MSU Spartan. And yet, with all of this, we can consider him only the second-best player in a Spire team led by Melo (yes, bullies are coming packed in full.)
It ain’t a unique routine, for sure, but don’t get surprised if you catch Rocket awake and putting up shots in the gym barely by the time your father gets to bed. Watts is ahead, and he only wants more. Actually, what started as a middling career with a dubious future ahead (he was ranked No. 100+ in the nation just one year ago) has turned into a sure-thing waiting to hit the NBA. Excuse me, I better say smash it.
Just check this out. This summer playing for The Family on the summer Nike U17 tourney, Rocket hung 20 buckets per game. He can handle the ball, move it around and find his targets, spot on. You know the best thing about playing along LaMelo Ball? He can hook you up anytime. Tell Rocket about it and he’ll show you an endless string of killer dunks, so start getting some free time in your schedule cause it may take a while to cover all of them.
And still, he shares the court with yet another stud. Spire can’t stop, won’t stop.
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The class of 2020 looks strong. Michigan State, well, they pounded on Watts and could strike gold on Isaiah. Why would you get satisfied just scoring one of them? Bring Rocket in 2019, build a solid team around him, hope he stays for a second year (sorry Spartans, he won’t) and pair him again with Jackson later. One can dream and East Lansing looks like the place of dreamers nowadays, to be fair.
Don’t get fooled by that messy hairdo though. Isaiah is ditching offers from top-dog colleges and looks like he would be pleased to greet Sparty every week in a couple years when he arrives in campus. Can’t say he doesn’t deserve it now, and much less that he won’t deserve it even more in 12 months time when he finishes his high school run. Melo could be anywhere, Rocket is NCAA-bound, but Isaiah Jackson will keep bringing his game to Spire. No little business.
The kid is putting up 15.2 PPG and it is hard to watch him drop below the 10-point mark. And then, there are the rebounds. The rock can’t escape Isaiah’s hands in the paint. He’s turning the ball over no more than he’s sharing dimes and we’re talking about a big guy. And don’t look now, but he’s blocking almost five shots per outing while also getting a good couple of steals a game. Complete package, they say.
So yes, this is Spire Academy 2019 and if you don’t know, now you know. Being undefeated is a thing. Coasting is another, and the Academy is surely bringing flair to the game.