LiAngelo, LaMelo Ball receive advice from Lithuanian NBA player Jonas Valanciunas

Rather than playing college basketball, LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, brothers to Lakers point guard Lonzo and sons to the world's most famous sports dad, LaVar, elected to sign contracts to play professionally for the Lithuanian club Vytautas.

Our Chris Barnewall outlined the reasons why LiAngelo, 19, and LaMelo, 16, might have trouble adapting to both the basketball and lifestyle changes associated with the move, but Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas, a Lithuania native, says the Ball boys made a great decision.

"They're getting themselves into a great opportunity," Valanciunas said. "Lithuania is beautiful country. I hope they're going to like it. ... It's a high level of basketball, so we'll see how they're gonna do it.

"The sky's the limit. They go out there, they show they can play -- basketball is everywhere. Every country's playing basketball, Lithuania included. We have great basketball history. We're such a small country, but we have many, many great players. Our basketball school is good., so they chose a really good school.

"They just gotta work hard -- it's all about working. You can be as good as you can be by working. Talent is one thing, but work you put in, that's gonna show up.

"If they have any problems, let me know. I can help them out."

Valanciunas started playing pro basketball in Lithuania at the age of 16 before coming over to join the Raptors in 2012, and he helped lead the Lithuanian national team to a quarterfinal appearance at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He went on to say that the language barrier would be "no problem at all" for the Ball brothers because everyone in Lithuania speaks English, particularly the younger generation.

LiAngelo and LaMelo both signed one-year contracts with Vytautas, and are expected to report to the club in early January.

Our Latest Stories