Three UCLA men’s basketball players — including LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Lonzo Ball — were arrested in China just days before Friday’s season-opening game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
One source told ESPN the players — which also included freshmen Cody Riley and Jalen Hill — were arrested on shoplifting charges.
A source tells ESPN the players are not currently with the team.
Multiple calls and texts to UCLA head coach Steve Alford at approximately 1 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning were not immediately returned.
UCLA released a statement: “We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China. The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”
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.