Report: LaVar Ball is Undermining The Coach’s Authority at Chino Hills; Players Listening to Him Instead of Coach
If you thought LaVar Ball was out of control, you haven’t heard the half of it yet.
Over the past few weeks, the sports world was introduced to the father of UCLA standout Lonzo Ball – LaVar Ball – and he has literally been everywhere and saying whatever he wants to anybody that will listen.
Lonzo came out of Chino Hills high school, much like his brothers who are there now, and according to For The Win, the head coach has been dealing with a much bigger headache as he attempts to coach LaVar’s two sons.
LaVar has basically taken over coaching duties of the team while shouting from the stands and the players are actually listening to him throughout the game.
“Chino Hills (Calif.) boys basketball head coach Stephan Gilling hasn’t forgotten the deep voice shouting in the second half from the stands at a quarter-full Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. He knew exactly who was yelling. It was LaVar Ball, the father of Chino Hills’ LiAngelo, LaMelo and UCLA star Lonzo.
“Double team! Double team!”
The first-year head coach had won his first nine games of the season, but after a pair of close wins at the mid-December Tarkanian Classic, the Huskies faced another test against Roosevelt (Calif.) High. They went into the locker room at half trailing by 12. Chino Hills had been double teaming Roosevelt’s shooters for the first half, but Gilling needed to make an adjustment.
“I go into the locker room, and I tell the guys to stop double teaming – just stay with your man,” Gilling said. “You do that, we’ll definitely get stops and come back and win.”
Yet, there was that voice again in the second half: “Double team! Double team!”
When Ball would shout for the double-team, Chino Hills players reluctantly followed his instruction. Gilling would yell, “Stop trapping!”
This continued for much of the second half until, eventually, Gilling’s message got through to his players. Chino Hills stuck to man-to-man defense and rallied to win, 76-68.
Gilling remembers an incensed Ball bolting straight for the locker room.
“He comes to me and says, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ I said, ‘What do you mean? I’m trying to win the game.’
“He turns around and walks to our locker room,” Gilling said. “I said, ‘LaVar, don’t go into the locker room.’ He continues walking. I said, ‘LaVar, why are you trying to embarrass me?’ And he just kept walking and goes into the locker room. He’s in there sitting down with the team. And I’m like, ‘LaVar, get out!’”
Gilling says Ball refused to leave the locker room, so Gilling told his team to follow him back to the hotel while Ball’s sons, LiAngelo and LaMelo, stayed behind.
When the Chino Hills team made it back to their hotel, Ball still hadn’t cooled down. In fact, he was just getting started.
“An assistant coach comes up to me and tells me that he sees LaVar rallying the team up,” Gilling said. “I guess he got them out of their rooms on the 18th floor and tells the team that it was his system that won. That we’re doing what he says. ‘I run Chino Hills! I run UCLA, about to run the NBA!’
“He pretty much downplays me at the same time. My assistant coach sees him and says to him, ‘That’s not right. Is there any middle ground?’ He says, ‘No, there’s no middle ground.’”
This was the moment Gilling’s relationship with Ball changed for the worse, leaving the Chino Hills basketball team caught right in the middle of the season-long feud.”
As Lonzo got bigger at UCLA – LaVar started to speak out more in the National media as we see almost on a daily and he has no plans of stopping as long as networks offer to bring him on the show.
Ball told USA TODAY Sports last month: “One of the things too that you have to be very careful about is when they not around you anymore as kids and they grow up to be men. Maybe they got some other alternatives in their head now … And this is basically the coach over at Chino Hills High. Now, all of the sudden, he’s 30 years old, and he’s got his own mind. He said, ‘I don’t need the Balls’ help no more. I do my own thing.’ Now, he’s having problems over there.”
Two people around the program confirmed Gilling’s version of events but requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
After the confrontation in Las Vegas, Gilling noticed a change in LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball. He says the two looked at him differently, and he knew why.
“So, throughout the rest of the year, we had games that I would not talk to them (LaMelo and LiAngelo),” Gilling said. “The kids looked at me different. Not all of them, but some. They understood and knew they were caught in the middle of it all. It was sad for the kids because it was from that point on that they didn’t know who to listen to.
“It was also noticeable that things were being said at home, and brought back to the gym in a way of, like, they’re not listening to the coaches.”
Chino Hills ended up losing 87-80 to Bishop Montgomery in the CIF playoffs and while Gilling was proud of the team, he was excited to be away from LaVar. He attempted to reach out to Ball to clear the air, but none of calls were returned.
Then, on Monday, Ball was a guest on ESPN LA’s Morning Show with Keyshawn, Jorge and LZ, and the target of that morning’s conversation was Gilling. Ball gladly blamed Gilling for the season-ending loss.
“Man, we were supposed to go to Sacramento, but that coach is hard-headed,” Ball said. “He wanted to do things his way. If we would have gotten along, we would have been in the state title easy. But he’s trying to have a little resistance towards me. And I’m like, ‘Man, try and do it your way. That’s why you lost three games.’
“Because once he run and just play and when my son really wants to play for you, we’re gonna do good. But when you have any kind of resistance towards me, and you the head coach, it don’t work out that good. I already knew he was going to lose that game.”
It was a disconcerting moment that compelled Gilling to publicly defend his tumultuous first year.
“I’m just trying to be positive,” Gilling said. “I’m not all that worried about what he’s saying, but I want to let the people know that it was tough throughout the whole year, starting with that one game.
“It was that much harder to bring the guys together after that game. Other than that, I’m fine. I came into this position ready to coach and do what I do. I’m still ready to continue coaching in the future for sure.”
Gilling is not sure if the school will have him back as head coach next year, but he would love to return.
But Gilling’s relationship with Ball? That won’t change anytime soon.
“He wants to shoot people down for him to look good,” Gilling said. “That’s how he is, but it doesn’t affect me.”