UCLA faces the embarrassing prospect of opening its season without three freshman players who have been benched after being released on bail following an alleged shoplifting incident in China.
LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill will not play when the Bruins open the season against Georgia Tech at 11:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday in Shanghai, their coach announced Wednesday. ESPN, which will carry the game, first reported the news.
Details surrounding the arrests remain unclear, but Coach Steve Alford announced that he would not be using the players. “The university came out with a statement, so I won’t have any further comment on this other than in answering that question — those individuals won’t play on Saturday,” Alford said (via the Associated Press). In a statement, the university said it was cooperating fully with the investigation.
A State Department official told The Washington Post in an email that it is “aware of reports of three U.S. citizens arrested in China and subsequently released on bail in China. We stand ready to provide appropriate consular assistance for U.S. citizens. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”
ESPN, citing an unnamed source, reported that police came to the team hotel in the city of Hangzhou