UCLA suspends players caught shoplifting with LiAngelo Ball in China for rest of season

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Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball and Jalen Hill addressed the press after returning from China. (Reuters)
Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball and Jalen Hill addressed the press after returning from China. (Reuters)

UCLA announced on Friday that freshmen Cody Riley and Jalen Hill will continue to be suspended for the remainder of the season.

Riley and Hill were caught shoplifting in China alongside LiAangelo Ball, who left the school after initially being suspended to play with his brother LaMelo in a Lithuanian professional league.

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The two will be permitted to participate with the team in practices and non-game activities.

“Since returning from China, they have done everything asked of them and continued to work hard in the classroom and in their own personal workouts,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said in a statement.

“I’ve told our players all along that actions have consequences, and the season-long suspension shows how seriously we take their misconduct. Though they will not suit up for games or travel with the team, I look forward to their return after the Christmas holiday. I am confident that they will make significant contributions to the university moving forward.”

It’s a blow for the Bruins’ chances of competing in the Pac-12 this season. Riley and Hill, unlike Ball, were both four-star recruits and were expected to contribute as rotation players.

UCLA, picked to finish third by media in a preseason Pac-12 poll, has dropped out of the Top 25 after an 8-3 start that includes losses to Creighton, Michigan and Cincinnati.

Riley, Hill and Ball were accused of stealing Louis Vuitton sunglasses from a store in China while UCLA was overseas for a basketball tournament. The three flew home without serving jail time in an international incident that involved President Donald Trump intervening to encourage their release.

“As members fo the Bruin family, it is our responsibility to help them grow from this situation,” UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “We will continue to support them as students, as athletes and as young men, and we hope that they will use this as a learning experience.”

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