Update: The players have flown home.
Three UCLA basketball players arrested on Tuesday in China for shoplifting will remain in the country while the rest of the team flies home, reports ESPN’s Arash Markazi. The players — freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill -- were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store near their hotel in Hangzhou.
Markazi reports that the three players remain in Hangzhou while legal proceedings continue. The players reportedly could be stuck in Hangzhou for “a week or two.”
Ball is obviously the biggest name as the younger brother of former UCLA star Lonzo Ball and the older brother of UCLA commit LaMelo Ball. Riley and Hill each entered the program more touted than Ball as recruits. Riley is a 6’10 forward ranked No. 45 overall in the class of 2017 by ESPN, while Hill is also a 6’10 forward ranked No. 49 by ESPN.
One source told ESPN that nearly 20 police officers came into the Hyatt Hangzhou at approximately 8 a.m. local time Tuesday and spoke to multiple players from both Georgia Tech and UCLA. The players, according to the source, were kept in a room for hours and not allowed to speak to any of the coaches.
"They weren't messing around," the source told ESPN. "The kids were scared."
The Georgia Tech players were allowed to leave the room hours later, and the UCLA players were seen getting into a police vehicle around 1 p.m. local time, according to the source.
The Bruins open the year ranked No. 21 in the AP Poll.
UCLA is counting on its freshmen to play a big role this year after losing four starters from last season. The Bruins’ two McDonald’s All-Americans — point guard Jaylen Hands and wing Kris Wilkes — were not involved in the incident. UCLA will also be counting on big contributions from senior center Thomas Welsh and junior guard Aaron Holiday.
According to Yahoo Sports, under Chinese law the three Bruins players could face up to as many as 10 years in prison.
President Donald Trump is currently visiting heads of state in Asia. Trump landed in China on Wednesday to meet with President Xi Jinping.