Trump wants thanks from UCLA 'shoplifters' freed by China

Three UCLA basketball players held in China for a week are on their way back to Los Angeles, according to the L.A. Times. The three - LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill - declined to speak to throngs of reporters before boarding a bus.

LiAngelo Ball is a younger brother of former UCLA star Lonzo Ball, now a rookie with the Los Angeles Lakers.

They were allowed to leave China after the situation was "resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities", said Larry Scott, head of the Pacific-12 athletic conference, of which University of California, Los Angeles is a member.

Police reportedly came to the players' hotel and took them for questioning for "stealing from a Louis Vuitton store next to the UCLA basketball team's hotel in Hangzhou".

Tuesday evening saw the players making their way through a media scrum after landing at Los Angeles International Airport.

The players did not play in the game and were reportedly facing a 20-day home arrest, but U.S. President Donald Trump intervened on the players behalf, which may have had a role in the earlier-than-expected return. Trump, while on a tour of Asia, urged his Chinese counterpart to let them go, and may have been looking for some credit Wednesday. You're talking about very long prison sentences. "[The Chinese] do not play games".

"I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law", UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. "In this particular case, both Athletics and the Office of Student Conduct will review this incident and guide any action with respect to the involved students".

UCLA says the school will launch its own investigation to decide whether or not to discipline the players, but a suspension of some sorts will probably be handed down if had to guess.

It looks like LiAngelo Ball & his two UCLA teammates who were detained an extra week in China have finally landed back home on U.S soil.

Ball, Riley and Hill were taken to the police station in Hangzhou, where they were kept for a number of hours before being charged.

  • Joey Payne