UCLA freshmen Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, better known as the players besides LiAngelo Ball who were caught shoplifting in China, have been suspended for the entire 2017-18 season.
"Since returning from China, they have done everything asked of them and continued to work hard in the classroom and in their own personal workouts," UCLA coach Steve Alford said in a statement. "I've told our players all along that actions have consequences, and the season-long suspension shows how seriously we take their misconduct. Though they will not suit up for games or travel with the team, I look forward to their return after the Christmas holiday. I am confident that they will make significant contributions to the university moving forward."
Hill, Riley and Ball were arrested for shoplifting high-end sunglasses in Hangzhou, China last month while UCLA was preparing to play its season-opening game against Georgia Tech. The trio returned to Los Angeles following an extended house arrest stay in China, and were promptly suspended indefinitely. On Dec. 4 it was announced that Ball was leaving UCLA to begin his professional career.
Though Ball is the most well-known of the so-called “UCLA Three,” he’s also the member of the group who would have likely had the least impact on the Bruins’ 2017-18 season. Both Riley and Hill were top 50 players in the class of 2017 who were expected to log solid minutes for Alford’s team this season. Ball, meanwhile, was a three-star recruit who was the last freshman off the bench in his only exhibition game appearance.
"While we acknowledge the difficulties that both Cody and Jalen have faced since returning to campus, we also know that their actions in China were contrary to the values of UCLA and harmful to both the university and our basketball program," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. "As members of the Bruin family, it is our responsibility to help them grow from this situation. We will continue to support them as students, as athletes and as young men, and we hope that they will use this as a learning experience."