Published: Wed, November 15, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

UCLA basketball players flying home after Trump asks Chinese leader for help

UCLA basketball players flying home after Trump asks Chinese leader for help

They were in China with their teammates to play a game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai on Saturday. "We also want to acknowledge UCLA's significant efforts on behalf of their student-athletes".

Arriving the day after the players were arrested, Trump reportedly raised the players' predicament during his visit to Beijing.

Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were accused of shoplifting Louis Vuitton sunglasses days before UCLA's game in China against Georgia Tech on Friday.

The players were allowed to fly home hours after president Donald Trump discussed the situation with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said early Tuesday that the Bruins players, detained November 7, are on a plane bound for Los Angeles, adding that the "matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the Chinese authorities".

"What they did was unfortunate", Trump said. You are talking about long prison sentences.

If the three Bruins are going to be detained in China for another two weeks, they could miss up to five games before they get back on USA soil, missing contests against Central Arkansas, South Carolina State, Creighton, Baylor/Wisconsin and UC Irvine.

They were released from police custody early on Wednesday and had been confined to a luxury hotel pending legal proceedings.

Since the matter did not occur on the court, it would be up to UCLA whether the players will be punished, Scott said. After being detained for a short time, it seems that the trio, which includes LiAngelo Ball, are headed back to the United States and the matter has been resolved.

Chinese authorities have surveillance footage of the players in the store, and the three could be required to remain in China for another week.

The team's trip to China would show how sport "can play a role to improve the world by having peaceful, friendly exchanges between people", Commissioner Scott had said prior to the incident.

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