‘Friendly trash talk’: RJ relishing chance to face LaMelo
NBA draft prospect RJ Hampton says good friend LaMelo Ball usually likes to let his basketball do the talking, rather than his mouth, when he's on the court.
But that will change when the Next Stars duo face off in their first NBL clash tonight when Hampton's winless New Zealand Breakers host Ball's Illawarra Hawks.
"Yeah, I might say one or two things to throw him off his game," Hampton told the Herald Sun when asked if there would be trash talk between the two young guards.
"He will (talk back) for sure.
"He doesn't really like to talk on the court, (but) if I say something funny to him, he might laugh and say something funny back - we've got a lot of inside jokes.
"If we get to that, it's going to be friendly trash.
"We're fine at the end of the day, but basketball's basketball."
Hampton says he's excited to face Ball, both teenagers following intertwined paths, skipping college for the NBL, but destined for NBA careers.
"Me and LaMelo catch up all the time," Hampton said.
"That's my guy, so (I'm) excited to go and compete against him.
"(He wants) to get better every day and that's what he's doing and that's what I'm doing so it's really good."
Hampton's Breakers have twice been quelled by title-favourite Sydney and go into the match-up with the Hawks 0-2. Ball's Hawks haven't fared much better, with one win from five matches.
Hampton has played around 20 minutes in each of his matches, managing seven points in each.
He's yet to set the world on fire, but the flashes are there and, once he finds his feet, he could hold the key to how far the likes of Scotty Hopson and Co can take the Breakers.