LiAngelo Ball, Two Other UCLA Players Released on Bail After Shoplifting Arrest in China

Marissa Payne, Des Bieler, Matt Bonesteel and Cindy Boren, Washington Post

UCLA faces the embarrassing prospect of opening its season without three freshmen players who have been benched after being released on bail following an alleged shoplifting incident in China.

LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill will not play when the Bruins open the season against Georgia Tech at 11:30 p.m. EST Friday in Shanghai, their coach announced Wednesday. ESPN, which will carry the game, first reported the news.

Details surrounding the arrests remain unclear, but Coach Steve Alford announced that he would not be using the players. “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 (via the Associated Press). {snip}

A State Department official told The Post in an email that it is “aware of reports of three U.S. citizens arrested in China. We stand ready to provide appropriate consular assistance for U.S. citizens. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.‎”

ESPN, citing an unnamed source, reported that police came to the team hotel in the city of Hangzhou early Tuesday morning to apprehend the student-athletes, who were reportedly not allowed to speak to coaches. They have reportedly been accused of stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the hotel.

“They weren’t messing around,” the source told ESPN. “The kids were scared.”


LiAngelo Ball and his teammates could face as much as three to 10 years in prison if convicted of the crime, a report Tuesday by Yahoo Sports claimed. The players may also be detained for more than a month, without access to an American-style bail hearing, while local prosecutors determine whether to bring charges, the website reported. Markazi reports that the three players will not be allowed to leave their hotel in Hangzhou until the legal process is over.