UCLA players arrested in China still waiting for official investigation


The day before U.S. President Donald Trump's long-heralded arrival in China, three basketball players from the University of California, Los Angeles, were arrested in Zhejiang province after allegedly shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton outlet.

UCLA coach Steve Alford said Tuesday he will sit the three players for Saturday's game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai.

According to the Bleacher Report, the players were released on bail Wednesday night and might serve the punishment at the Hyatt Regency Hangzhou, where the UCLA Bruins and their opponents, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, are residing for their stay in the country. This marks the third consecutive year that a team from the Pac-12 Conference, to which UCLA belongs, will play a regular season game on Chinese soil. That process could take months, during which time, the three players will remain at the Hangzhou hotel. Team representatives and translators were with the players during that time, according to a source.

A US State Department official said: "We are aware of reports of three US citizens arrested in China and stand ready to assist".

Chinese lawyers told Yahoo's Dan Wetzel that Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley could be sentenced to 3-10 years in prison if convicted on the charges.

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A UCLA spokesman did not confirm or deny the information, referring to the school's statement that it was cooperating with local authorities.

"We are very disappointed by any situation that detracts from the positive student-athlete educational and cultural experience that this week is about", Scott said.

Asked later in the day whether he was anxious about his son, LaVar replied, according to ESPN: "He'll be fine, he'll be fine".

"Whether in the United States or overseas, we expect our student-athletes to uphold the highest standards", it said.

In a video posted Wednesday on Twitter by ESPN writer Arash Markazi, LaVar Ball said his son LiAngelo would be fine. "Everybody is making it a big deal".