CLEVELAND -- The LaMelo Ball show is coming to Cleveland.
On Thursday night, SPIRE Institute will face Garfield Heights at Euclid High School in a recently agreed upon game. Earlier this month, Ball -- a former 5-star prospect and UCLA commit -- joined SPIRE, which is located in Geneva, Ohio.
Ball's arrival at SPIRE sent a shockwave through the local sports prep scene. After leaving Chino Hills High School in Southern California last year, the youngest of the three Ball brothers played professionally in Lithuania, as well as for the JBA, which was founded by his father, LaVar Ball.
Although other top programs previously on SPIRE's schedule have since dropped the school, citing concerns over Ball's eligibility, Thursday night's matchup will feature several of the top prep prospects in the state. In addition to Ball, SPIRE features 4-star Michigan State commit Rocket Watts, who is the top-ranked player in the state in the 2019 class, as well as 5-star forward Isaiah Jackson, Ohio's top-ranked player for 2020.
Garfield Heights, meanwhile, lays claim to 3-star guard Meechie Johnson, who currently ranks as the No. 2 player in the state of Ohio for 2021 and a top-100 prospect nationally. As if that wasn't already enough star power for the 7 p.m. tip, LaVar Ball announced on Instagram that he and his middle son, LiAngelo, will hold a meet and greet at a 'Big Baller Brand' pop up shop during the game.
Earlier this month, LaVar, whose eldest son Lonzo plays point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, said of LaMelo: "He's the most entertaining, most notable high school player ever. People say that he's better than LeBron, [Michael] Jordan -- anybody.
"Nobody knew LeBron when he was in high school in London. In Germany. In Latvia. In Lithuania. The social media wasn't like that. Melo was in the social media era where it blows everything up to astronomical proportions."