Is Austin Ball the best shooter you've never heard of?

On3 imageby:Jamie Shaw08/17/22


Austin Ball grew up in Man, West Virginia. A small town of around 1,200 about 60 miles west of Beckley. At Man (WV) High, the 6-foot-7 wing averaged 20.3-points, 7.9-rebounds, and 1.8 blocks as a sophomore as he led his high school to the Class A State Championship game. He was named to the West Virginia Class A All-State team.

That summer, Ball packed up his things and transferred to Albemarle (VA) Miller School, a powerhouse Virginia program. Former West Virginia Wesleyan head coach Jack Meriwether is his new coach.

“Austin is a fantastic player,” Meriwether told On3. “He has a high talent level and is as coachable as they come. He’s athletic enough to finish way above the rim and has grown into being able to use the threat of his athleticism to free himself to get shots.”

Ball shot the cover off the ball last season for a 21-8 Miller school team that made it to the third round of the Virginia Division 2 playoffs. The 6-foot-7, explosively athletic Ball shot 37.5 percent from three on 139 attempts.

Last season, Miller School played a unique style. They utilized a hockey line change type system that kept players fresh and allowed them to press the entire game. Miller School played an 11 to 13-man rotation every game.

With the system, Ball was among the team leaders in minutes played, getting only 16-minutes per game. He also led the team with 12.5-points and 1.4 steals per game.

“I think his movement, cutting, range, and his quick release will translate to the highest level,” Meriwether said. “He’s fantastic at reading his man and setting him up, and he’s fast and athletic enough that he’s difficult to stay tight with.”

2023 SG Austin Ball throws down a dunk at DMV Live

Colby Summer coaches Ball at the Miller School and with his Team Loaded Va travel ball team. He echos Merriwether’s sentiments about Ball and his elite shooting ability.

“Austin is an athletic jump shooter,” Summers told On3. “At 6-7, he has a picture-perfect jumper with a real chance to go in every attempt. Forced into closeout situations, he can make decisions for himself and his teammates off one or two dribbles. He understands when and how to use off-ball actions to his advantage.”

One thing that both Summers and Meriwether talk about extensively is Ball’s competitive nature and his coachability. A perfectionist, Ball wants every rep to be perfect.

“He’s a competitor no matter the setting,” Summers said. “He’s always an energy giver. That is what I would say he brings at a high level; every day, he appreciates the opportunity to compete.”

Ball’s recruitment

Ball claims around 15 D-I scholarship offers. A quick perusal of the list and see programs such as West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Richmond, Marshall, and George Mason.

Ball is working on setting two official visits in September, Richmond and George Mason.

If he continues playing in the fall as he did in June, Ball will be firmly in the conversation to enter On3’s 2023 rankings. Explosive, 6-foot-7 knock-down shooters don’t just grow on trees.

Scouting report

Austin Ball has excellent positional size with long arms and a lot of pop in his step. At 6-6/6-7, the shooting guard is a dead-eye shooter with deep range and confidence. He gets great lift on his jump shot and shoots it with the same release out to 28, 30 feet. He has excellent footwork moving off the ball and shoots it with consistent balance. Ball is explosive in the paint when attacking closeouts. He can get high on the rim in traffic and punch it on a late rotating big. He needs to add weight and could tighten his handle, but he is efficient off two dribbles. There is more upside to go here as Ball shooting, spacing, and scoring upside are all high-level tools.