The three UCLA players arrested Tuesday in China for alleged shoplifting have been released on bail, a source confirmed to Yahoo Sports on Wednesday morning.
LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill are required to remain at the Hangzhou hotel where UCLA had been staying until the legal process is over, the source said. It’s not yet clear whether they will be allowed to fly home with the rest of the UCLA traveling party this weekend after the Bruins open their season against Georgia Tech on Saturday in Shanghai.
“Right now they won’t, but it could change,” the source said.
ESPN.com reported Wednesday that Ball, Riley and Hill were taken to the police station in Hangzhou and questioned about allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store adjacent to the team hotel. UCLA coach Steve Alford and interpreters were with the players at the police station, per the ESPN.com report.
Alford said Wednesday that Ball, Riley and Hill will not play for the Bruins on Saturday against Georgia Tech. The source said that UCLA won’t determine what further punishment the three players could face until the team returns to Los Angeles.
A UCLA spokesman declined comment Wednesday and referred to the statement the university released the previous afternoon. In that statement, the university acknowledged it is “aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou” and “is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter.”
Ball, a 6-foot-5 guard from Chino Hills, Calif., is the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball and the middle son of loud-mouthed sneaker entrepreneur LaVar Ball. LaVar Ball had planned to hold a press conference in Shanghai to address LiAngelo’s arrest on Wednesday but he reportedly backed off at the last minute at the advice of legal counsel.
Hill and Riley, both 6-foot-10 forwards, are consensus top 100 prospects and members of a UCLA recruiting class ranked among the top five nationally. None of the three arrested players are projected starters for 21st-ranked UCLA, but each had been expected to contribute off the bench for the Bruins this season.
UCLA is playing Georgia Tech in China as part of the Pac-12’s initiative to be more visible in Asia. Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott released a statement late Tuesday expressing disappointment about the incident and directing all further inquiries to UCLA.
“We are very disappointed by any situation that detracts from the positive student-athlete educational and cultural experience that this week is about,” Scott said. “Whether in the United States or abroad, we expect our student-athletes to uphold the highest standards. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.”
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