Three freshman UCLA Bruins basketball players were reportedly arrested on Tuesday for allegedly shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in Hangzhou while they were in China for the Pac-12 China Game.
“The players were treated with the utmost respect, kindness, and professionalism at all times by the Hangzhou police,” an unnamed source familiar with the situation told ESPN reporter Arash Markazi, who is in China covering the game. “The players questioned were respectful at all times. None of this was confrontational,” the source reportedly said.
The three freshmen players are LiAngelo Ball (younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers player Lonzo Ball), Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill. According to ESPN, “Ball, Riley and Hill were taken to the police station in Hangzhou, where they were kept for a number of hours. UCLA representatives, including coach Steve Alford, were at the police station along with the players.”
All three players were reportedly released around 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
The Ball family also stars in its own reality show on Facebook, “Ball in the Family.”
The Los Angeles Times noted that UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and athletic director Dan Guerrero both made the trip with the team, but have not commented on the situation. However, Pac-12 Conference commissioner Larry Scott reportedly said, “We are very disappointed by any situation that detracts from the positive student-athlete educational and cultural experience that this week is about. Whether in the United States or abroad, we expect our student-athletes to uphold the highest standards.”
It is unclear whether the athletes will be allowed to play in their upcoming game against the Yellow Jackets at Baoshan Arena in Shanghai. However, it is unlikely they will play.
Markazi reported that the players are confined to the Hyatt Regency in Hangzhou, a luxury hotel that they are forbidden from leaving until the legal process has been completed. The process could take days, weeks or months.
In an off-the-cuff interview, Ball’s father LaVar said, “I’m going to wait until I get more intel on what’s going on” regarding his son’s arrest. “He’ll be fine. Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal.”