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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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Tuesday / November 21.
  • LiAngelo Ball, UCLA players may have to remain in China ‘a week or two,’ Bill Walton apologizes on behalf of ‘the entire human race’

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    The UCLA basketball team is flying back to Los Angeles without freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Hill and Jalen Hill, who may have to remain in China another “week or two,” according to ESPN.

    The players allegedly shoplifted from three stores in China, not just one as originally reported.

    ESPN reported there is “surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside of a high-end shopping center next to the team’s hotel in Hangzhou, which houses Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Salvatore Ferragamo stores.”

    With the three players confined to house arrest at their hotel in Hangzhou, UCLA beat Georgia Tech, 63-60, in the Pac-12 China Game.

    “Authorities in China need to complete the process,” Zhe Sun, Co-Director of the China Initiative at Columbia University, told ZAGSBLOG. “It may take some time but I am optimistic that these three players will be released soon.”

    Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said he’s disappointed that the international incident distracted from the game, which next year will feature Cal against Yale.

    “I’m certainly disappointed that we don’t have three UCLA students here to compete in the game today, given that they were involved in an incident that’s being investigated in Hangzhou,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Saturday before the game, per ESPN. “It has provided a real distraction and unwanted publicity which distracts from what overall has been a tremendous experience and a tremendous week for the UCLA and Georgia Tech students. It has also highlighted the value of our partnership. We’ve received tremendous support from our partners at FUSC [Federation of University Sports of China] and Alibaba. We’ve had a chance to apologize for the unwelcome attention it has brought. There’s nothing new. We’re monitoring the situation and staying in close contact with the students until the situation, and we hope the situation resolves itself soon.”

    LaVar Ball, filming his reality show “Ball in the Family” in China, reiterated that he’s not overly concerned.

    “He’ll be fine,” he said of LiAngelo, per ESPN. “He’ll be fine. Everybody making it a big deal. It ain’t that big of a deal.”

    Former UCLA star Bill Walton, broadcasting the game late Friday in the U.S. on ESPN, apologized for the incident on behalf of the entire human race.

    Meantime, several American high school teams, including Montverde (FL) Academy which features future Duke Blue Devil 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.