Hornets’ LaMelo Ball to start Charlotte-area high school and AAU basketball teams

Hornets’ LaMelo Ball to start Charlotte-area high school and AAU basketball teams

Charlotte Hornets star LaMelo Ball is planning to start his own high school basketball team as well as a travel team in the Charlotte area.

Mike Jefferson, who runs the CC (Carolina Courts) Elite high school travel program in Charlotte, told The Observer that Ball is partnering with Carolina Courts, a basketball facility in Indian Trail, to launch the 1 of 1 Prep Academy.

The Academy will have a high school basketball team, open to any player, as well as a travel team. Jefferson said that both teams will be sponsored by Puma, for which Ball is a brand ambassador.

The 1 of 1 Academy will not have classes or a school building, so players would remain in their current schools but give up their school eligibility to play on Ball’s team, which will play a high-level schedule.

A similar program called Vertical Academy will begin this month in Huntersville. Vertical Academy was, in part, created by Mahlon Williams, father of 5-star basketball recruit Mikey Williams. Mikey Williams, who has more than 5 million social media followers, moved to Charlotte from California last season and played at Lake Norman Christian. Some players at Vertical Academy, including Williams, will attend school at Lake Norman Christian this fall.

In addition to its high school program, Ball’s 1 of 1 Prep Academy will have a travel team that will compete from March until July. Jefferson said the setup would be similar to what NBA star Stephen Curry did when he launched his Under Armour-backed Team Curry travel team.

Curry partnered with an existing travel program, Pro Skills Basketball (PSB), which runs the team. The top teams in the PSB organization — at 15U, 16U and 17U — is a Team Curry team, though PSB continues to offer multiple teams in each group.

Jefferson said CC Elite will continue to offer travel teams. The top team in each age group would be called 1 of 1, and the others would be CC Elite.

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