UCLA men’s basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill were arrested Tuesday after the freshmen trio were caught shoplifting, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. The Bruins were traveling in China for their season opener against Georgia Tech; while the team hasn’t yet made any announcements, it’s likely that UCLA will be without its heralded Class of 2017 recruiting class when it takes on the Yellow Jackets Friday evening.
The Bruins were in Hangzhou at the time of the arrests; the Friday contest is set to take place in Shanghai. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, police were called to the hotel that the two teams were staying at in Hangzhou early Tuesday morning. Three Georgia Tech players—sophomore Justin Moore and freshmen Jose Alvarado and Jon Brown—were questioned and cleared by local police. The AJC reports that police inspected the UCLA team bus before more police arrived in response to the situation. Both teams left for Shanghai later in the afternoon.
UCLA has not yet issued a statement on the situation; the Yellow Jackets, meanwhile, released the following statement in response:
“We are aware of the matter involving UCLA student-athletes and we are gathering more information. During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated. They will rejoin the team on Tuesday and resume their scheduled activities in advance of Saturday’s season opener vs. UCLA in Shanghai.”
We’ll update this post as more information becomes available and we figure out just what the hell Ball and the Bruin boys swiped—God, I hope it was shoes.
Update (5:57 p.m. EST): ESPN is now reporting that the UCLA trio was caught attempting to steal items from a Louis Vuitton store that was next to the hotel. Twenty police officers showed up to the hotel at 8 a.m. and sequestered the Bruins and Yellow Jackets players in a room for question “for hours.” According to Goodman, the UCLA players were seen entering a police vehicle and are reportedly no longer with rest of the team, which departed for Shanghai in the afternoon. UCLA also released the following statement, which doesn’t say or confirm much of anything:
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