UCLA men’s basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill were released from police custody on bail Wednesday morning.
Ball, the brother of Lakers’ star rookie Lonzo Ball, and fellow UCLA freshman were arrested on shoplifting charges early Tuesday morning in Hangzhou, China. The freshman were suspected for shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton near the hotel that the team is staying in. UCLA is in China for their season opener Friday against Georgia Tech in Shanghai.
It is still unclear as to what exactly will come out of this situation with the three freshman. The freshman are currently on “hotel arrest,” and are not able to travel with the team for their upcoming game. According to Chinese lawyers who spoke with Yahoo Sports, the players could face 3-10 years for shoplifting under Chinese law. Also, it is not unusual for a defendant to wait 30-37 days before being indicted. Along with this, Chinese prosecutors have a 99.2 percent conviction rate, just another aspect going against the players. The players hope to have this situation cleared up in a few days and head home home soon, but this process could take many days, weeks or even a few months. However, the fact that the players have already been released on bail is a good sign, something that is uncommon in the Chinese legal system.
Lavar Ball, the outspoken father of the Ball brothers, stated that the shoplifting situation “ain’t that big of a deal” and that LiAngelo “will be fine.”