UCLA announced that the freshman trio of LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley will be suspended indefinitely after they returned home from China on Tuesday night.
The trio created an international incident last week when they were arrested for shoplifting in high-end Chinese retail stores in Hangzhou as the Bruins were there preparing for the Pac-12 China Game against Georgia Tech. After being released on bail following the arrest, the three players remained in Hangzhou while UCLA traveled to Shanghai to open its regular season. The team later returned home to the United States without the three players.
According to a report the Washington Post, President Donald Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case of the three UCLA players during his two-day trip to Beijing last week.
Ball, Hill and Riley all read prepared statements during a press conference at UCLA on Wednesday, thanking the school, UCLA coaching staff, the Pac-12, Chinese officials and President Donald Trump and the United States government for helping them get home. The three players did not take questions from reporters.
“I take full responsibility for the mistake I have made of shoplifting,” Riley said in his statement. “I know this goes beyond me letting my school down — I’ve let the entire country down.”
“To President Trump and the entire United States government, thank you for taking the time to intervene.”
UCLA head coach Steve Alford elaborated on the suspensions by stating that all three players will not be involved in any team activities and will not travel with the team as they will continue to work their way back into the program. UCLA athletics director Dan Guerrero also clarified that the school will continue its investigation into the matter.