The UCLA trio arrested in China apparently has gained a high-powered ally.
President Donald Trump personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case during his two-day visit to Beijing last week, The Washington Post reported Monday. Xi promised Trump the players would be treated fairly and expeditiously, according to the Post.
LiAngelo Ball and fellow UCLA freshmen Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were arrested shoplifting last week at a Louis Vuitton store adjacent to the team’s hotel in Hangzhou, China. The Bruins were in China for a game against Georgia Tech last Saturday in Shanghai as part of the Pac-12’s initiative to increase its visibility in Asia.
Ball, Riley and Hill were released on bail last Wednesday but are required to remain at the Hangzhou hotel where UCLA had been staying until the legal process is over, a source confirmed to Yahoo Sports last week. They did not return to Los Angeles with their UCLA teammates on Saturday and it is unclear how long they could be detained in China.
Ball, a 6-foot-5 guard from Chino Hills, California, is the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball and the middle son of newly famous sneaker entrepreneur LaVar Ball. Hill and Riley, both 6-foot-10 forwards, are consensus top 100 prospects and members of a UCLA recruiting class ranked among the top five nationally.
None of the three arrested players are projected starters for 21st-ranked UCLA, but each had been expected to contribute off the bench for the Bruins this season.
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