It is with much sadness that I write this today. My satirical coverage of the Ball brothers must come to an end. You see, Beyond the arc is supposed to be news and notes from college basketball and LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball have gone off and turned professional on us.
Professionals? The two younger brothers are professional basketball players now? I thought there was an age restriction for the NBA.
There is indeed an age restriction in the NBA which is why LaVar Ball took his son’s to Europe. Lithuania no less. They will play professionally for Prienu Vytautas in the small town of Prienai.
The details of the contract have not been disclosed. The details of the situation they are entering into have been discussed openly.
For starters, the town of Prienai is very small, about 7,500 population with very, very few English speaking citizens. The team plays in a gym that seats about 1,500 fans. As a comparison, the Glen Rose ISD Tiger Arena in Glen Rose, TX (4A Tx UIL) seats 2,000. All in chairback seats.
Ben Brust, a former player at Wisconsin and in Lithuania, said, “There are only like 5 or 6 hours of sunlight every day (in winter), and you’re in a gym for half of it. It’s a good basketball league, but there are plenty of other places in Europe that I would much prefer to live.”
Brust went on to say that the luxuries that college and some high school players are used to simply won’t exist in Lithuania. It makes one wonder why daddy Ball wasn’t able to get his sons a better pro contract somewhere else overseas. I hear China has great professional basketball teams. Oh, well, nevermind.
Around the Big 12
Men’s basketball in the Big 12 remains very strong. The conference teams are currently an impressive 75-16. Only one team, Texas, has a winning percentage under .750. Texas sits at 6-3 with losses to Duke, Gonzaga and Michigan. The conference teams are also receiving considerable national recognition with five teams in the AP top-25 and two others just on the outside of the rankings.
Big 12 players of the week
Red Raider Keenan Evans and Lindell Wigginton of Iowa State were named the Big 12 players of the week for week five. Evans had career highs in points (32) and rebounds (8) in Tech’s 82-76 victory over No. 22 Nevada. He continues to be a force on the hardwood for Tech. Wigginton averaged 22.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and three assists as Iowa St went 3-0 last week and extended their winning streak to seven games.
Red Raider Throwback
The Texas Tech men’s basketball team will host a Southwest Conference throwback matchup against Rice on Saturday, December 16. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. tip off from The Bubble which served as Texas Tech's home court from 1956-57 to 1998-99 highlighted by a 35-game winning streak and two undefeated marks during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons. The Red Raiders will honor their past by wearing commemorative jerseys.
The Lady Raiders will host their own throwback game on Sunday, December 17 against UT Rio Grande Valley. Tip off for this game is at 2 p.m.