UCLA basketball players arrested in China ahead of Trump's visit

UCLA basketball players arrested in China ahead of Trump's visit

A spokesperson from the US State Department told CNN it is "aware of reports of three US citizens arrested in China".

Citing a person close to the situation, the Los Angeles Times reported Ball was involved in a shoplifting incident along with teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill. "The university came out with a statement, so I won't have any further comment on this other than in answering that question - those individuals won't play on Saturday", he said in a statement.

But Jerome Cohen, the faculty director of New York University's U.S. -Asia Law Institute, told USA Today the fact the players were released on bail and allowed to leave police custody was a "very good sign" they'd be given a light sentence.

"He'll be fine", LaVar Ball said.

The arrests came ahead of Trump's visit to China.

ESPN reports that the trio could be in Hangzhou for a week or two, adding that there is reportedly footage of the players stealing from three stores in the luxury shopping center next to the Hangzhou Hyatt Regency hotel where the team was staying.

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Bruins coach Steve Alford declined to discuss the incident after the team's win.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement the conference was "disappointed by any situation that detracts from the positive student-athlete educational and cultural experience that this week is about".

Police in Hangzhou have not responded to telephone calls from The Associated Press.

The Chinese government reported the incident to USA officials, Chinese foreign ministry officials previously said. The three players have been confined to their rooms pending the investigation. Freshman guard Kris Wilkes led the way with 18 points for UCLA, which will play its next game on Wednesday against Central Arkansas to tip-off the Hall of Fame Classic.

On Wednesday morning, LaVar had been expected to address the media from his hotel suite in Shanghai, but he said he was advised by legal counsel not to speak "due to the legal nature of the matter".

In a video posted Wednesday on Twitter by ESPN writer Arash Markazi, LaVar Ball said his son LiAngelo would be fine. "It ain't that big of a deal". "Everybody is making it a big deal".

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