UCLA Players Return to U.S., But Not to Basketball Court

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The Buffalo News (New York)


UCLA freshmen basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were suspended indefinitely by the school on Wednesday after returning from China, where they were held last week for shoplifting.

UCLA coach Steve Alford said at a news conference Wednesday that the trio will not take part in practice or games while the school performs a review of the situation.

"They will have to earn their way back," Alford said. "These are good young men who have exercised an inexcusable lapse of judgment, and now they have to live with that."

Ball, Riley and Hill delivered statements to the media at the news conference about the incident that had them required to stay behind in China for a few days after the team returned to Los Angeles.

UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said at the end of the news conference that the players each admitted guilt and the charges were withdrawn by Chinese authorities. They paid $2,200 bail, surrendered passports and agreed to travel restrictions.

"We're very disappointed in the conduct of our three student-athletes," Guerrero said. "They know they made a huge mistake and as you can see they're deeply sorry for it."

The trio created an international incident that eventually saw President Trump, while visiting Beijing last week as part of a five-nation Asia tour, personally ask Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the case.

The players arrived back in Los Angeles from Shanghai Tuesday, ending a week-long ordeal.

"I want to start off by saying how ashamed and embarrassed I am," Riley said at the news conference, taking full responsibility for shoplifting.

Riley thanked Trump for intervening on the players' behalf.

"We really appreciate you helping us out," Riley said in his statement. "I can only hope that my actions, my words and my hard work in the weeks to come will show that I am capable of meeting that high standard. I can assure you that I will never do anything again to jeopardize UCLA's reputation or that of my own."

Ball, the brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, was next to speak and apologized for stealing and to the people of China.

"We're young men, but it's not an excuse for making a really stupid decision," said Ball, who also thanked Trump and the U.S. government for intervening."

Around the nation

· Luke Maye scored 20 points as No. 9 North Carolina beat Bucknell, 93-81. It was the 400th win at North Carolina for coach Roy Williams.

· Angel Delgado scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half as No. 22 Seton Hall beat Indiana, 84-68. He also had 11 rebounds as he posted the 53rd double-double of his career and third in a row.

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November 16, 2017


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