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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / November 15.
  • LiAngelo Ball Among Three UCLA Players Released on Bail in China, May Get ‘Lucky’ With Punishment Because of Trump Visit

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    LiAngelo Ball, the middle son of LaVar Ball and the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball, was among three players released on bail on Wednesday morning after being arrested on shoplifting charges in Hangzhou, China, according to ESPN.

    Fellow freshmen Cody Hill and Jalen Hill were also arrested and released after allegedly stealing sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton outlet, per ESPN.

    The players remain confined to their hotel and won’t play in Friday’s Pac 12-China Game in Shanghai (11:30 p.m., ESPN).

    While a Yahoo Sports report indicated the players could face 3-10 years in Chinese prison if convicted of shoplifting, another China expert told ZAGSBLOG the players may get “lucky” with their punishment because of President Trump’s visit to Beijing beginning Wednesday.

    “If these players committed shoplifting crimes, they did it at a lucky time,” Zhe Sun, Co-Director of the China Initiative at Columbia University, told ZAGSBLOG.

    “China will likely deal with this case in a different way to show goodwill to Trump’s visit.”

    After the players were released on bail, Sun added: “China might give them a verdict proving that they committed a crime, then a fine or a warning. Definitely no 3-10 years in prison. The University may sign an agreement promising that they will handle this right back these three kids come back.”

    LaVar Ball, with the team in China, said he’s not overly concerned.

    “I’m going to wait until I get more intel on what’s going on,” LaVar said Wednesday, per ESPN’s Arash Markazi. “He’ll be fine. Everyone’s making it a big deal. It ain’t that big a deal.”

    “We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China,” a UCLA statement read. “The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”

    Three Georgia Tech players were reportedly questioned and cleared by Chinese police after the incident at their hotel in Hangzhou, China, according to a report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

    The three Tech players who were questioned and cleared were sophomore Justin Moore and freshmen Jose Alvarado and Jon Brown, per the AJC.

    A text sent to Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner was not immediately returned.

    “During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated,” according to a statement by Georgia Tech. “They will rejoin the team on Tuesday and resume their scheduled activities in advance of Saturday’s season opener vs. UCLA in Shanghai.”

    In a separate story related to Georgia Tech basketball, CBSSports.com reported Tuesday that the program allegedly provided extra benefits to players Josh Okogie and Tadric Jackson.

    Meantime, several American high school teams, including Montverde (FL) Academy which features R.J. Barrett, the projected No. 1 pick in 2019, are due to play game in China next month.

    Photo: Getty Images

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.