Sources: Three UCLA basketball players are leaving China, returning home

The Dagger
LiAngelo Ball and his two UCLA teammates are set to return to Los Angeles (AP)
LiAngelo Ball and his two UCLA teammates are set to return to Los Angeles (AP)

The UCLA trio arrested last week in China is on the way home.

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill are leaving China and flying back to Los Angeles, sources confirmed to Yahoo Sports on Tuesday morning. The Wall Street Journal previously reported they were seen late Tuesday at Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport checking into a Los Angeles-bound Delta flight.

The three UCLA freshmen were suspected of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store adjacent to the hotel where the Bruins were staying in Hangzhou. They were released on bail last Wednesday, but Chinese authorities required them to remain in their former team hotel in Hangzhou while the legal process played out.

The shoplifting case received unusual attention both in the United States and China because of the high-profile figures involved.

Ball is the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball and the middle son of sneaker entrepreneur and reality TV personality LaVar Ball. Riley and Hill are former top 100 prospects who are both key members of a UCLA recruiting class ranked in the top five nationally.

President Donald Trump eventually intervened on behalf of the UCLA trio, personally asking Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case. As he prepared to return to Washington after a nearly two-week visit to Asia, Trump told reporters in the Philippines that he was hopeful Ball, Riley and Hill would be allowed to return home soon.

“They’re working on it right now,” Trump said. “He’s been terrific,” Trump added, in an apparent reference to Xi.

A source told Yahoo Sports that it has not yet been determined what sort of punishment Ball, Riley and Hill could face from UCLA upon returning to Los Angeles. The incident was a major embarrassment to UCLA and the Pac-12, both of whom are attempting to grow their respective brands in China.

 

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