3 UCLA players return to US after China shoplifting incident

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(CBS) UPDATE:

Three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting are on a plane back to Los Angeles.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said Tuesday the matter "has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities."

Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were detained in Hangzhou for questioning following allegations of shoplifting last week before the 23rd-ranked Bruins beat Georgia Tech in their season-opening game in Shanghai as part of the annual Pac-12 China game. Ball is the brother of LA Lakers guard Lonzo Ball.

The rest of the UCLA team returned to Los Angeles last Saturday without the three.

There was no immediate word from UCLA on the players' status for the team's home opener Wednesday night against Central Arkansas.

The school said the three players, along with coach Steve Alford and athletic director Dan Guerrero, will make their first public comments about the matter on Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, but won't take questions.

A person with knowledge of the Pac-12's decision said any discipline involving the players would be up to UCLA. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the conference doesn't plan any sanctions.

Scott thanked President Donald Trump, the White House and the State Department for their efforts in resolving what he called "the incident with authorities in Hangzhou, China." He indicated that UCLA made "significant efforts" on behalf of its three players.

President Trump said Tuesday he had a long conversation about the three players' status with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

ORIGINAL:

Three players on the UCLA men's basketball team are reportedly out on bail after they were arrested in China accused of shoplifting. An ESPN report claims freshman LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were detained in Hangzhou. They are accused of stealing from a Louis Vuitton store near the team's hotel.

Ball is a member of a high-profile basketball family. His older brother plays for the Lakers and his father is the vocal CEO of the Big Baller Brand.

The Bruins are in China on a week-long team trip ahead of their season opener in Shanghai this weekend. The Pac-12 commissioner acknowledged the players were involved in a situation and are cooperating with authorities. Instead of focusing on basketball, the team is now forced to focus on the legal fate of some of their youngest player.

Only days after touching down in Shanghai Sunday night, three UCLA freshman basketball players were reportedly locked up. ESPN reports nearly 20 Chinese police officers spoke with a number of players Tuesday, keeping them in a room for hours.

Ball's father, LaVar – who is traveling with the team in Shanghai said, "It'll be fine, it'll be fine. Everybody is making a big deal, it ain't that big of a deal."

"According to Chinese exit law, a case must be fully resolved before the suspects are allowed to eventually go home," said William Nee, an expert on China for Amnesty International. "It could be days, it could be weeks it could be months, theoretically speaking even years until they are allowed to leave China."

LiAngelo, one of the men allegedly arrested, is the younger brother of Lonzo Ball, rookie guard and the future of the Los Angeles Lakers franchise.

Their father LaVar is an outspoken advocate for his sons. "CBS This Morning" interviewed the high-profile basketball family at their California home back in March.

"When my boys finished playing ball over here as soon as you say Chino Hills, the first thing out their mouth is gonna be Ball brothers. And now it's happening and they're shocked! I just walk around smiling," he said.

The State Department told CBS News they are aware of the reports and they stand ready to provide assistance. According to ESPN, the three UCLA players are staying at their hotel in Hangzhou, away from the team who are getting ready for their game Friday in Shanghai. The legal process could take months. Shoplifting in China can result in a three to 10-year jail sentence.