LiAngelo Ball and his fellow UCLA freshmen teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were released yesterday morning after being arrested for allegedly shoplifting sunglasses at a Louis Vuitton store near the team hotel in China, as reported by the Daily Mail.
But the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers' rookie Lonzo Ball and his two UCLA teammates are still being confined to their hotel in Hangzhou as of Wednesday, a source with knowledge of the situation told the website.
That latter news ironically came a day before President Trump's Thursday visit with China. There's no telling how long they will be kept in the hotel, but sources told the Daily Mail that it will at least be until the entire legal process is completed.
"There is a lot of uncertainty around how long they will need to be in that position before there's some update on the situation," a source who spoke under the condition of anonymity told the website.
While that "uncertainty" seems grim, there is reason to perhaps feel like everything will work out well for the 18-year-old Ball and his teammates.
Responding to a Yahoo Sports report that said the UCLA players face three to 10 years in prison, Jerome Cohen, the New York University U.S.-Asia Law Institute's faculty director, told USA TODAY Sports that such a predicament is "extremely unlikely." Cohen added that Ball and his teammates being allowed to return to their hotel is "a very good sign," despite their confinement.
“This shows they’re getting special treatment,” Cohen told USA TODAY Sports. “Normally, the Chinese do not give bail, certainly not this early in a case that they’re going to prosecute. It usually is only given at the convenience of the police.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Ball, Riley and Hill will likely serve 20 days of house arrest at the hotel for the incident and a permanent ban from re-entering the country.
TMZ Sports additionally reported that the U.S. State Department is ready to provide assistance to Ball, Hill and Riley if need be.
When reporters asked LaVar Ball about the situation on Tuesday, the outspoken father of Lonzo, LiAngelo and LaMelo told ESPN that LiAngelo will "be fine" and that the incident "ain't that big a deal."
LiAngelo, Riley and Hill won't play when UCLA tips off its 2017-18 season against Georgia Tech in Shanghai tomorrow night.
Do you think everything will turn out OK for Ball and his teammates in China?
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(Photo: Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
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