Vytautas coach: ‘not good’ LiAngelo, LaMelo Ball went to Barcelona

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Vytautas coach: 'not good' LiAngelo, LaMelo Ball went to Barcelona

LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball’s arrival with Prienu Vytautas has been a boon to the fledgling Lithuanian club’s financial health, but a burden in many ways for head coach Virginijus Seskus. For all the positives LaVar Ball’s boys have brought in terms of talent and attention, they’ve also put Seskus in the awkward position of having to treat two of his players differently than the rest.

“I admit that until national teams rest window I gave huge breaks to the Ball boys, for not getting back on defense and things like that,” Seskus told lrytas.lt’s Modestas Krukauskas, according to a translation. “And this did some harm to the team, because I had to be lenient with other players as well. It would be unfair to punish some players for things other players are not punished for, because players feel these kinds of things right away.”

Seskus added that his job “got easier after that break,” as the roster healed up and his players started taking LKL competition more seriously. Still, he noted that Gelo and Melo have engendered some resentment among their teammates since they are “missing shots but still playing a lot of minutes.”

To hear Seskus tell it, one of the brothers is creating more headaches for him than the other.

“I’ll tell you honestly, when only Gelo plays, that problem is much smaller,” he said. “It’s very little actually. He helped us win that game and so on.

“We have to remember, Melo is 16. And he is a very talented kid, but he is young and he is in that spotlight of fame since 15, and it’s harder with him than with Gelo.”

LaMelo’s back injury certainly hasn’t helped. Vytautas’ guard corps has been depleted by physical ailments, making Melo’s ball skills all the more missed by his club in its last two league games.

Neither teenager, though, has made matters any easier for Seskus of late. The two took off to Barcelona for vacation between Vytautas’ LKL games on March 10 (a loss to Neptunas) and March 19 (a date with Alytaus Dzukija).

“It’s not good, honestly,” Seskus said. “I asked for at least LiAngelo to stay. They told me they will get ready for the game in two days when they get back.”

The coach added that it’s “bad” that LiAngelo and LaMelo were the only players on their team who were able to leave, and hinted that their absences during the week could affect their participation on Monday.

“When they come back, we will need to talk that only those will have to play who are needed by the team,” he said.

Two days doesn’t leave Gelo and Melo much time to prepare for a game that could sway whether Vytautas make the LKL playoffs or gets relegated to the second-division NKL.

But if there’s any silver lining here, at least LaVar’s sons—who probably got to take a break because of the financial sway their father holds over the club—spent some of their time away on the basketball court, albeit in Spain rather than Lithuania.

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