They met two times in college. De’Aaron Fox won both battles.
The first battle took place in Rupp Arena. It was the first time we had even heard of Lonzo Ball. Fox had 20 points and nine assists on Dec. 3, but it was Ball and the Bruins who walked out of Rupp with a 97-92 win causing the media to say Lonzo was the real winner because his team had won (which we all know wasn’t true). It was the regular season though, where nothing really matters until March.
“They beat us (97-92), but I felt like I performed better,” Fox said. “I had 20 points and nine assists, but we lost, so it doesn’t matter. Lonzo had 14 points, seven assists, six rebounds – and six turnovers. Actually, I don’t have a photographic memory, but I remember just about everything about everybody I play against.”
The second match up, on a much bigger, more important stage for Kentucky fans. LaVar Ball had said his usual “words” before the game was to ever be played. This only lit fire under De’Aaron Fox though. He totally dismantled Ball in this match up. 39 points, an NCAA tournament freshman record, on only 20 shots, while causing Ball to fall to a 10-point outing, on 4-of-10 shooting with Magic Johnson in attendance. We couldn’t have asked for a better game. Since game one the talk had been about how Lonzo hadn’t beat Fox in scoring but had beat him by taking down Kentucky and handing them a loss. Now they couldn’t say that. Kentucky had won the fight on the biggest stage, but so had Fox.
Fast forward an NBA draft later, De’Aaron Fox and Lonzo Ball face off once again. Lakers Vs. Kings, in a match up that will cause them to face one another many times a year now. The talk is still there. The jacked up expectations still loom especially now more than ever. Fox is given the chance to win again on an even bigger stage.
Ball in two games as a Laker has combined for 16 points, 5 points coming on opening night, 11 coming on night two. Fox scored 18 pts (7-16 FG), 3 rebs , 4 asts , 5 steals, 1 blk in 26 minutes of play on opening night alone. Of course Fox was nervous in his first game in the NBA, but he did this even through the nerves he says in this interview. Click here. On night two for Fox he didn’t disappoint, he went for another 17 pts (5-12 FG), 5 rebs, 4 asts, 3 stls in 30 minutes of play.
Fox talked about what the match up still means to him:
“I know everybody is pretty into it,” the Kentucky standout said. “It’s pretty cool. It’s all over ESPN. For me, though, I’m just trying to concentrate on playing well and learning.”
Seated in a lounge in the team hotel Saturday afternoon, surrounded by women sipping tea and eating delicacies in a formal European setting, Fox leans back on the couch and reveals more than a passing interest in Ball. He checks his cell phone repeatedly; he is awaiting a ride to the Lakers-Celtics tipoff at UNLV. Their tepid protests notwithstanding, each clearly has an eye on the other.
“My best asset is being able to make plays both defensively and offensively,” he said, “and anybody who saw me in high school knows I can hit the 3. For some reason at Kentucky the shots didn’t go down. The other thing, I thought my speed would translate to this level. I get my hands on a lot of balls, deflections, steals, and I love turning nothing into something.”
But according to Sam Amick, Lonzo Ball will not play due to a sore groin.. So none of that matters.
Here’s some Fox highlights instead
Highlights of one of their matchups in college is below: