As expected, freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley were suspended by the Bruins for the shoplifting incident they pulled in China that hampered what have been a PR tour for USA basketball.
Coach Steve Alford told reporters on Wednesday that the three players will have to earn the trust of the organization again before they are allowed to play. The school is still reviewing the case and has not handed a final decision on the fate of the freshmen.
Being suspended means they can’t travel with the team, practice with their teammates and don the uniform.
The three players were facing reportedly at least 10 years in jail until President Donald Trump interceded on their behalf. At the sidelines of the recently concluded ASEAN Summit in the Philippines, the Chief Executive talked to Chinese President Xi Jinping, who promised to look into the case.
Ball, the younger brother of Los Angeles point guard Lonzo Ball, Hill and Riley were out on bail for a shoplifting charge, and staying at a hotel in Hangzhou. They arrived in LAX on Tuesday after their penalties were reportedly reduced.
“These are good young men who have exercised an inexcusable lapse of judgment,” the coach said.
“And now they have to live with that.”
All the three players read statements of apology in the news conference. Ball apologized also to his family, coaches, teammates and the people of China. “I’m 110% sure that I will not make a bad decision like this one again.”
He also thanked President Trump for helping them in their case.
President Trump has never been known to be humble, and he proved it once again after basically demanding a word of thanks from the players. In a tweet on Nov. 15, he wrote, “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!”