My teammates took the sunglasses first: LiAngelo Ball says he was following the crowd when he got caught shoplifting in China
- LiAngelo and two other Bruins freshmen were arrested for shoplifting sunglasses from a Louis Vuitton store in China before a recent game
- LiAngelo and his father LaVar Ball announced that he is leaving UCLA in order to better prepare himself for the June NBA Draft
- One NBA general manager on LiAngelo Ball's future in the league: 'He's not on any of our scouting lists — even the extended lists'
- Cody Riley and Jalen Hill - the other two players accused of shoplifting - are waiting to learn if they will be eligible to play for the Bruins this season
- LiAngelo's older brother Lonzo currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers
- LaVar Ball told 'Access Hollywood' he sent President Donald Trump three pairs of Big Baller shoes - a line of athletic apparel he owns and operates?
- LiAngelo described the 'horrible' condition in a Chinese jail: ''They take your clothes, you wear like whatever they have for you, a little jumpsuit or whatever, take your shoestrings and you just sit in a cement cell for however long. It's just you and the officers and they don't speak English'
While announcing his decision to leave UCLA after being suspended indefinitely for stealing designer sunglasses during a recent team trip to China, now-former Bruins basketball player LiAngelo Ball said he was following the lead of fellow freshman Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.
'We all went out one night, went to the malls, went to the Louis Vuitton store and, uh, people started taking stuff, and then, you know, me just not thinking and being with them, I took something too,' Ball said in an 'Access Hollywood' interview that aired Tuesday on the 'Today' show.
After the theft, Ball and his now-former teammates assumed they'd be fine.?
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LiAngelo (right) and LaVar (left) Ball announced on Tuesday that LiAngelo is leaving UCLA?
'And we left thinking we'll just get away — you know how kids think,' Ball continued. 'I didn't realize 'til I got back to my hotel, I'm like, "That was stupid." But by then it was too late. And then sure enough, the next morning, the police came and got us.'?
LiAngelo said the players were in jail for less than two days.
'It was horrible,' he said. 'They take your clothes, you wear like whatever they have for you, a little jumpsuit or whatever, take your shoestrings and you just sit in a cement cell for however long. It's just you and the officers and they don't speak English.'
While Riley and Hill remain suspended and barred from all team activities, LiAngelo and father LaVar Ball announced LiAngelo's intention to withdraw from the school.
According to LaVar - who owns an operates the Big Baller Brand sports apparel line - LiAngelo's departure from UCLA will allow him to better prepare for the NBA, where LiAngelo's older brother Lonzo currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers. ?
'I'm going to get Gelo in shape, I'm going to work him out, we're going to do some other things and he's going to be headed to the NBA,'' he told 'Access Hollywood' in the interview that aired Tuesday on the 'Today' show.
Lonzo Ball, LaMelo Ball, Tina Ball, LaVar Ball and LiAngelo Ball attend Melo Ball's 16th Birthday
LaVar Ball attends a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets
UCLA guard LiAngelo Ball (No. 15) drives to the basket during an college exhibition basketball game between the Cal State Los Angeles and the UCLA Bruins on November 1
Like he did with LiAngelo, LaVar Ball previously pulled youngest son LaMelo Ball out of school earlier this year.
LaMelo - currently a high school junior and considered the biggest prospect of the three Ball brothers - was removed from Chino Hills High School so he could become 'the best basketball player ever, 'LaVar told the Los Angeles Times.?
Last season, LaMelo drew national attention by scoring 92 points in a game for Chino Hills.
Originally LaMelo had declared his intention to follow Lonzo and LiAngelo to UCLA, but those plans may have changed following LiAngelo's exit. Regardless, LaVar hopes to see all three sons playing together with the Lakers.?
'The grand plan stays the same: All these boys are going to get on the Lakers,' LaVar said. 'Watch how I do this. People will look up and they say, "Wow, how'd they all get on the Lakers?"'
LiAngelo Ball left UCLA to prepare for the NBA Draft, but according to at least one league GM, he's not considered a prospect
LiAngelo Ball never played a regular-season game for the Bruins (7-1), who fell out of the Top 25 last week.
Considered the lowest-rated recruit of UCLA's freshman class, the 6ft5 LiAngelo was given three out of five stars on ESPN's college basketball recruiting page, which criticized his lack of lateral quickness and overall defense.??
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, LiAngelo was said to have 'no chance' at being drafted in the June NBA Draft, and 'that was true before his shoplifting incident in China.'
'He's not on any of our scouting lists — even the extended lists,' one NBA general manager told Wojnarowski.
Las Vegas is taking an equally dim view of LiAngelo's future in the NBA.?
Online sports book Bovada currently has LiAngelo's chances of being drafted at -10000 on the moneyline, meaning anyone who took the extraordinarily long odds could win $10,000 on a mere $100 bet. Conversely, it would take a $2,500 bet on LiAngelo going undrafted to win only $100 - a significantly more likely scenario.?
Although the school has said only that the suspensions are indefinite, the 'Access Hollywood' interview mentioned the period was for two to three months.
'That's the whole season pretty much,' LiAngelo said in the TV interview. 'That's just a long time of doing nothing. I'd rather be playing.'
UCLA coach Steve Alford said in a statement on Monday that he learned of Ball's intention to withdraw that day.
'We respect the decision he and his family have made, and we wish him all the best in the future,' Alford said in the statement.
Alford indicated last week that he expected the fate of the three suspended players to be resolved in the near term.
UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, LiAngelo Ball and Jalen Hill speak at a press conference at UCLA after flying back from China, where they were detained on suspicion of shoplifting
LiAngelo Ball never played in a regular-season game with the UCLA Bruins
'China already said, 'OK, you made a bad mistake, we're going to drop the charges.' That's the punishment they made,' LaVar said in the TV interview. 'Now we over here, we got to serve some more punishment? He apologized. What is the long process for? We only went to UCLA one and done.'
Alford said he and his staff were communicating with the players via text messages and calls, mostly to see if they are attending classes. The players are allowed to use athletic facilities, including the weight room, but aren't working directly with the coaching staff, he said.
Video posted online recently showed Ball playing a pickup game against LaMelo.
Ball, Hill and Riley publicly apologized for shoplifting while reading prepared statements at a campus news conference on November 15.
LaVar Ball and President Donald Trump have engaged in a public war of words since the three players returned from China. Ball minimized Trump's involvement in winning the players' release and Trump tweeted in response that he should have left the players in China in jail. The men's exchanges escalated from there, with Trump calling Ball 'an ungrateful fool.'
LaVar told 'Access Hollywood' he sent Trump three pairs of Big Baller shoes in red, white and blue.
Fans have poked fun at LiAngelo's brief career at UCLA, with one tweeting his collegiate career stat line: '0 minutes, 1 steal.'?
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