LiAngelo Ball and two of his UCLA teammates reportedly have bit more time to enjoy the confines of their luxurious Chinese hotel.
Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested Tuesday for allegedly shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store near the Bruins’ team hotel in Hangzouh, China. They were released on bail Wednesday morning, and since have been staying in the hotel while authorities investigate the incident, and rumors of potentially serious punishment swirl.
With the three players under house arrest, the Bruins prevailed over Georgia Tech, 63-60, in the Pac-12 China game in Shanghai on Saturday. And when the Bruins board their flight to return to Los Angeles, Ball, Riley and Hill won’t be with them.
“A source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation said the players could be in Hangzhou for ‘a week or two,’ ” ESPN’s Arash Markazi reported Saturday. “The source noted that there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside of a high-end shopping center, which houses Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo stores.”
Hey, “a week or two” sounds much better than “three to 10 years.”
While Ball’s father, the ever-controversial LaVar Ball, has been surprisingly quiet during the investigation, the same can’t be said for Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott.
“I’m certainly disappointed that we don’t have three UCLA students here to compete in the game today, given that they were involved in an incident that’s being investigated in Hangzhou,” Scott said Saturday before the game, via ESPN. “It has provided a real distraction and unwanted publicity, which distracts from what overall has been a tremendous experience and a tremendous week for the UCLA and Georgia Tech students.”
While latest reports indicate the three players might avoid severe punishment, it’s important to note that nothing’s been made official.
“There’s nothing new,” Scott said. “We’re monitoring the situation and staying in close contact with the students until the situation, and we hope the situation resolves itself soon.”
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images