Dahntay Jones tells TMZ Sports LaMelo Ball would be a great fit at Duke ... ONLY IF LaVar Ball stays quiet.
Of course ... Melo's recruitment is wide open these days -- especially after LaVar said there's no way in hell LaMelo follows in his brothers' footsteps to UCLA.
Jones -- an ex-Duke star -- says he could see a place for Melo with Coach K ... but says the Big Baller has to keep out of the limelight ... something he's been able to do recently.
"If [LaVar] can coexist like this, I think Duke would be a place for him. If LaVar operates like this right now, I think Coach K could find a way."
LaVar did make waves earlier this week for saying Melo is better right now than LeBron James was as a teenager -- but Jones says that statement wasn't THAT outlandish.
"That's what happens when you have sons. I think my son is better than LeBron in grade school right now ... That's just natural love for his son."
Bottom line ... Dahntay says it's the meddling with coaches, rosters, game plans and teams that LaVar needs to stay away from if he wants to see Melo at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"Just be a normal parent and operate like this and let his son's talent speak for itself."