The UCLA basketball team returned to Los Angeles from China on Saturday without three players who were arrested on shoplifting charges during the overseas trip.
Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley remained in Hangzhou, China, while the rest of the team returned home.
Ball is the brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.
Earlier Saturday, the No. 21-ranked UCLA squad won its season-opening game 63-60 over Georgia Tech in Shanghai.
The three players were questioned by police about allegedly stealing from a Louis Vuitton store next to the team’s hotel in Hangzhou, which the Bruins visited before traveling to Shanghai.
Citing a source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation, ESPN reported the players could be Hangzhou for “a week or two” while the situation is resolved. The source told ESPN there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside a high-end retail center.
The players are suspected of stealing designer sunglasses, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Bruins coach Steve Alford declined to discuss the matter after the team’s victory. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block, athletic director Dan Guerrero and Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott have been traveling with the team, but only Scott has issued any statements.
“It has provided a real distraction and unwanted publicity, which distracts from what overall has been a tremendous experience and a tremendous week for the UCLA and Georgia Tech students,” Scott said before the game. “We’ve had a chance to apologize for the unwelcome attention it has brought. There’s nothing new. We’re monitoring the situation and staying in close contact with the students, and we hope the situation resolves itself soon.”
The conference said Friday that California and Yale will meet in next year’s Pac-12 China game to open the 2018-19 season.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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