LiAngelo Ball among UCLA players reportedly arrested for shoplifting in China


Instead of focusing on basketball, the team is now forced to focus on the legal fate of some of their youngest players, reports CBS News' Vladimir Duthiers.

According to ESPN's unidentified source, who had first-hand knowledge of their release, "The players were treated with the utmost respect, kindness and professionalism at all times by the Hangzhou police".

UCLA is in China for an exhibition game against Georgia Tech on Friday. Cops zeroed in on the cargo bays of the team buses before they left for practice and they detained at least six Georgia Tech and UCLA players for several hours, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

LiAngelo Ball is the middle son of the Ball family.

"We are aware of reports of three USA citizens arrested and subsequently released on bail in China", a State Department official told TMZ Sports on Wednesday.

UCLA's statement, per ESPN, said the university was aware of the incident and cooperating with Chinese authorities. Ball is the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball.

The Pac-12 conference to which UCLA belongs issued a Twitter statement saying it was "very disappointed by any situation that detracts" from the China visit.

Georgia Tech: "We are aware of the matter involving UCLA student-athletes and we are gathering more information. We will continue to closely monitor the situation".

The UCLA guard, along with Bruins teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, was released on bail Wednesday morning in Hangzou, China, at around 4 a.m. local time, ESPN's Arash Markazi reported, citing a source. During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated. "They have resumed their scheduled activities in advance of Saturday's season opener versus UCLA in Shanghai".

Video captured by ESPN shows Ball's father, LaVar - who is traveling with the team in Shanghai - downplaying the severity of the situation. "He'll be fine. Everybody making it a big deal; it ain't that big of a deal".