LiAngelo Ball was one of three UCLA basketball players arrested in China just days before the Bruins open their season against Georgia Tech in Shanghai.
Ball and fellow UCLA freshmen Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were arrested on shoplifting charges, ESPN.com reported Tuesday.
UCLA released a statement on Tuesday indicating it is “aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes” in China. The university is “cooperating fully with local authorities” and has no further comment at this time.
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.
Ball, the best known of the trio since he’s the younger brothers of Los Angeles Lakers rookie guard Lonzo Ball, is a 6-foot-5 guard with a knack for knocking down outside shots. 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.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported earlier Tuesday that Chinese police were called to the Hangzhou hotel where both UCLA and Georgia Tech were staying to investigate an unknown matter. The Chinese police reportedly questioned players from both teams and inspected the UCLA team bus’ cargo compartment as players onboard waited to go to practice.
Georgia Tech released a statement saying that the Yellowjackets players who were questioned have since been cleared.
“During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated,” the statement read. “They will rejoin the team on Tuesday and resume their scheduled activities in advance of Saturday’s season opener vs. UCLA in Shanghai.”
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