LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball, and two other UCLA men’s basketball players were released on bail early Wednesday morning after being arrested in Hangzhou, China, on shoplifting charges.
According to ESPN, the three players, including freshman team members Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, are accused of stealing from a Louis Vuitton store located next to the hotel where their team is staying as they wait for Friday’s season-opening game in China against Georgia Tech.
Police rolled into the Hyatt Regency in the Chinese city of Hangzhou early Tuesday morning and questioned players from both teams; however, in the end, the Georgia Tech players were allowed to go about their business, while the UCLA players were loaded into a police vehicle and taken to the police station, where they were held for several hours.
The report notes that UCLA head coach Steve Alford and other UCLA representatives were with the group at the police station.
The three young men were ultimately released around 4 a.m. Wednesday but were ordered by Hangzhou police to stay at the hotel until the legal process is completed, according to the report.
Alford said that neither Ball, Riley nor Hill would be allowed to play in the season-opening game against Georgia Tech.
“The university came out with a statement, so I won’t have any further comment on this other than in answering that question—those individuals won’t play on Saturday,” Alford said, according to the Associated Press.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said that the collegiate athletic conference would be directing any specifics about what occurred to UCLA, but added: “We are very disappointed by any situation that detracts from the positive student-athlete educational and cultural experience that this week is about. ... 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.”
Meanwhile, Ball’s father, LaVar, who is actually in China, too, remains unfazed by his son’s legal woes in the foreign country, saying: “He’ll be fine. He’ll be fine. Everybody making it a big deal. It ain’t that big of a deal.”
According to ESPN, LaVar Ball was supposed to speak to the media Wednesday morning from his hotel suite in Shanghai, but declined after he was advised by legal counsel not to speak “due to the legal nature of the matter.”
“I’m going to wait until I get some more intel on what’s going on, and then I can tell you what’s up,” the father said as he was leaving the hotel, according to ESPN.
LaVar Ball later released a statement about the allegations against LiAngelo, saying: “It is a very unfortunate situation that the Ball family and UCLA has to deal with at this particular time. We will comment shortly.”