There are a number of draft-eligible players from Lithuania in the upcoming NBA Draft, but no one is drawing as much of the spotlight as former Vytautas swingman LiAngelo Ball. After getting his professional career underway in Betsafe LKL, the 19-year-old American athlete has his sights set on earning a spot on an NBA roster for the upcoming season.
Following his first pre-draft workout for the Los Angeles Lakers, Ball spoke highly of his Lithuanian experience with Vytautas in terms of preparing him to take the next step. While he couldn't help the Prienai-Birstonas side avoid relegation, Ball had a relatively succesful run in the Lithuanian top flight, averaging 12.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.
"I think it prepared me a little better as far as going agianst grown men that care about their job every day," he told the media after the first of a series of workouts. "If you're not going out there and producing, they'll fire you quick. Every game is hard out there."
Ball showed a lot of progress throughout his time in Prienai and was amongst the most prolific three-point shooters in the competition, converting three-poitners at a 41.5 percent clip.
"They play a lot more pro-style, so I improved a lot as far as setting screens and coming off of screens, [executing] sets. In college, you just do a little bit of that, but they don't focus too much on it," he explained. "It was a big change, but I adapted and got better from the experience. It was good for me."
Ahead of next month's NBA Draft, Ball is set to work out for the Golden State Warriors and potentially some other teams as well.
LiAngelo Ball highlights from Lithuania: