Things aren’t getting much easier for the three UCLA men’s
basketball players arrested and accused of shoplifting in China
earlier this week.
According to a report from ESPN’s Arash
Markazi, citing a source close to the situation, UCLA
freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill will likely
have to stay behind in China for “a week or two” while the team
flies home after Friday night’s season-opening win over Georgia
Ball, Riley and Hill were arrested on shoplifting
charges on Tuesday as they were accused of allegedly
stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the
team’s hotel in Hangzhou. Both teams participating in the China
game were staying in the same hotel earlier this week before
moving to Shanghai, where the Pac-12 China Game was played. All
three were released on
bail early Wednesday morning as they’ve been forced to stay
at the Hyatt Regency in Hangzhou with a UCLA representative
while the legal process plays out.
Making matters potentially worse for the three arrested Bruins
are new details that more stores could be involved in a
potential shoplifting spree. According to Markazi’s
report, there could be surveillance footage of the UCLA
trio shoplifting from two more stores besides the Louis Vuitton
store in the high-end shopping center that includes Gucci, Yves
Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo stores.
If these new details prove to be true, then this looks even
worse for the arrested trio as the one shoplifting incident
wouldn’t be an isolated thing.
The UCLA players do have some key local support from Chinese
e-commerce company Alibaba, the presenting sponsor of the
Pac-12 China Game. Alibaba’s executive vice chairman and
co-founder Joe Tsai has been vocal in his support of eventually
releasing the arrested UCLA trio as both teams toured the
company’s facilities on Monday. Tsai recently reached an
agreement in principle to purchase a 49 percent minority stake
in the Brooklyn Nets, as he’s a big basketball fan who has been
a large part of the Pac-12 having a game in China.
The Pac-12 and Alibaba also announced an extension for the
Pac-12 China Game through 2020 with the company remaining the
main sponsor. Next year’s Pac-12 China Game was also announced
on Friday as Cal will face Yale.
Alford refused to comment to reporters about the arrests after
UCLA’s win over Georgia Tech on Friday night.