Three UCLA freshmen have been suspended indefinitely from the basketball team, one day after returning home from China, where they were detained and accused of shoplifting, announced head coach Steve Alford at a news conference at the university on Wednesday.
In a news conference the three students - LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hall and Cody Riley - admitted to shoplifting and thanked President Trump, who had asked for President Xi Jinping's help in resolving the case against the students.
The players were not permitted to play in UCLA's season-opening game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai on Friday.
On Wednesday morning, Trump wondered on Twitter whether the players would thank him for his efforts, claiming that they had faced a possible sentence of 10 years in prison. Ball, Riley and Hill were taken to the police station in Hangzhou, where they were kept for a number of hours before being charged.
"There's just no other way to put it", he said.
To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You're welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made.
The effort was successful as the three players returned home late Tuesday afternoon, where they may be disciplined by the school as a result of the global scandal.
Guerrero provided more details about the incident, saying the students stole items from three shops near their hotel on the evening of November 6 during a block of free time.
The students were ultimately released on bail on November 8 on $2,200 dollars, but they were forced to surrender their passports, Guerrero said.
The players were expected to remain in Hangzhou for "a week or two", according to ESPN's Arash Markazi. The rest of the team returned home Saturday.
"These are good young men, who have exercised an inexcusable lapse of judgment", Alford said.
The case drew greater attention in the United States due to the involvement of Ball, one of three high-profile basketball-playing sons of media personality LaVar Ball. Whether they will face disciplinary action is still up in the air.
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