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Ron Artest III 1st Year Playing Organized Hoops ... Dad Says

4/10/2015 3:10 PM PDT

Ron Artest III -- 1st Year Playing Organized Hoops ... Dad Says

Metta World Peace's son is already a high school phenom ... being recruited by multiple college programs ... but the most impressive part -- he's only been playing organized basketball for 1 year!!!

Metta called in to "TMZ Hollywood Sports" from Italy moments ago ... and told us his 15-year-old son Ron Artest III has always been a freakish athlete ... but never played in a real game until this year.  

"He has a chance to be real good," Metta told us. 

The issue -- Metta says Ron's real passion is modelling ... and he doesn't want to "force" his son into sports if his heart's not in it. 

Check out the video ... Metta also says he may have ANOTHER name change planned. 

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