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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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Saturday / December 15.
  • Three UCLA players set to fly home from China to Los Angeles, ‘matter resolved to Chinese satisfaction’

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    LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley, the three UCLA basketball players arrested Nov. 7 in China for shoplifting, were set to fly home to Los Angeles on Tuesday.

    “UCLA Men’s Basketball student-athletes LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley are returning from China to Los Angeles at this time,” the school said in a statement.

    The players will address the media at 11 a.m. local time on Wednesday. UCLA coach Steve Alford and AD Dan Guerrero will also be available.

    The news of their flight home was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed to ZAGSBLOG by a source.

    Pac-12 President Larry Scott has since issued a statement saying, “The matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities.”

    China Sport Insider also reported that “all charges against the three have been dropped – despite all the evidence against them – meaning the trio return home with a clean record. They were also allowed to travel home in relative freedom rather than being escorted to the airport and officially deported.”

    During his recent visit to China, President Donald Trump asked Chinese President Xi Jinping for assistance in releasing the three players, who allegedly shoplifted from multiple high-end stores in Hangzhou, China and then remained under house arrest even as their UCLA teammates flew back home following the team’s win over Georgia Tech Nov. 11.

    “I think [Trump’s request] will make a big difference because this just happened when he visited China,” Zhe Sun, Co-Director of the China Initiative at Columbia University, told ZAGSBLOG.

    “But this time I think Xi Jinping’s office will definitely try to find out what happened, will take this seriously and ask what happened, so I think they’ll make a quick deal.”

    It remains unclear what will happen next for the UCLA trio, but a source said they could face suspensions from the team.

    UCLA next plays Wednesday against Central Arkansas.

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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.