Three UCLA players have reportedly been arrested for shoplifting in China.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were the three players arrested. The trio is part of a highly-decorated recruiting class for head coach Steve Alford. They were released on bail on Wednesday morning, but will remain in Hangzhou until the legal process plays out.
The rest of the Bruins have traveled to Shanghai, where they will open the regular season with a game against Georgia Tech on Friday.
Ball, the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers point guard and former Bruin Lonzo Ball, is the most high-profile of the three arrested Bruins. Riley and Hill are former top-100 recruits who are supposed to be a big part of UCLA’s plans this season.
According to Goodman’s report, the three arrested UCLA players are currently away from the team as they are being questioned about stealing from a Louis Vuitton store located next to the Hyatt Regency at which both teams are staying at in Hangzhou.
UCLA released a statement on Tuesday: “We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China. The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”
Besides for the UCLA arrests, local Chinese police also looked into Georgia Tech players during their investigation. According to a report from Ken Sugiura of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, three members of the Yellow Jackets were questioned by police on Tuesday, but they were later released. The three Georgia Tech players questioned and cleared by police include sophomore Justin Moore and freshmen Jose Alvarado and Jon Brown.
Georgia Tech released its own statement on the matter on Tuesday.
“During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated,” the statement said. “They will rejoin the team on Tuesday and resume their scheduled activities in advance of Saturday’s season opener vs. UCLA in Shanghai.”
Sugiura also reports that local police inspected the UCLA team bus in the cargo component as players waited to attend practice. Because of the police delay, UCLA players got off the bus and went back into the hotel. More police then arrived at the hotel to conduct interviews with the suspects.
Georgia Tech’s practice schedule was also changed as players from the Yellow Jackets started an unscheduled study hall instead of taking a bus to their practice. The three Yellow Jackets questioned by police were not present during that study hall, according to Sugiura.
The three arrested UCLA players could face stiff penalties thanks to the Chinese legal system. According to a report from Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports, if standard Chinese practices are applied for a conviction for shoplifting the trio could face three to 10 years in prison.