UCLA coach Steve Alford is getting back three players who were arrested in China. Photo by John Sommers II/UPI | License Photo
UCLA freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, who have been detained in China for the past week on suspicion of shoplifting, are headed back to the United States, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper reported that the three players were seen checking into the Los Angeles-bound Delta flight at Shanghai's Pudong International Airport. The players are scheduled to arrive at Los Angeles International Airport at approximately 5 p.m. PT.
Their expected return comes hours after President Donald Trump intervened to help the three players, who were arrested for shoplifting while in China for a tournament last week.
Trump, while visiting Beijing last week as part of a five-nation Asia tour, personally asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case, people familiar with the situation told the Washington Post on Monday.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott confirmed Tuesday's development with the following statement:
"The three UCLA men's basketball student-athletes involved in the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China are on a flight back home to Los Angeles, and the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities. We are all very pleased that these young men have been allowed to return home to their families and university.
"We are grateful for the role that our Chinese hosts played, and for the courtesy and professionalism of the local authorities. We also want to acknowledge UCLA's significant efforts on behalf of their student-athletes. Finally, we want to thank the President, the White House and the U.S. State Department for their efforts towards resolution."
Ball, the brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, and his UCLA teammates Riley and Hill were questioned last Tuesday about allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team's hotel in Hangzhou, where the Bruins had been staying before leaving for Shanghai to face Georgia Tech on Saturday.