LeBron James isn’t the only high-scoring basketball player being taken to task by Charles Barkley.
The outspoken TNT analyst on Wednesday morning criticized California high school player LaMelo Ball for scoring 92 points in a game Tuesday night. Ball, the 15-year-old brother of UCLA star Lonzo, took 61 shots, scored 41 points in the fourth quarter, and played very little defense as Chino Hills beat Los Osos High 146-123.
Video highlights show Ball calling for his shot from half-court, receiving long outlet passes from teammates, cherry-picking and making easy buckets.
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“You know, the kid was waiting at half court most of the game,” Barkley said on the Mike and Mike Show. “Never went back on defense. So, I had a problem with it, to be honest with you. Go look at the game. The kid waited at the other end of the court and just every time the other team shot the ball, they just threw to him at half-court or three-quarters of the court. I have a serious problem with that, to be honest with you.”
The opposing coach was also displeased, calling it “a joke.”
“That's wrong," Los Osos coach Dave Smith told the Los Angeles Times. “It goes against everything CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) stands for. The Ball boys are very talented and great players, but it's embarrassing to high school athletics. I've been coaching for 35 years, and we've turned high school athletics into individualism.
“It's amazing to watch a kid score that many points. But it's tough to say that's what CIF athletics is about.”
LiAngelo Ball, the middle brother of the basketball-playing trio, scored 72 points in a game earlier this season. He sat out Tuesday’s game with an ankle injury. LiAngelo, a senior, and LaMelo, a sophomore, are committed to UCLA.
LaMelo dedicated the 92-point game to his friend, Lexi Anderson, who is hospitalized with a weak heartbeat.
Surprisingly, the 92 points is not a Southern California record. Tigran Grigorian of Mesrobian scored 100 against Pacific Christian in 2003. The national record is 135 by Danny Heater of Burnsville (W. Va.) High in 1960.