UCLA basketball players arrested in China are headed home


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". U.S. Chief of Staff John F. Kelly has contacted the families of the players and also spoken with UCLA coach Steve Alford.

The three players who were arrested for shoplifting are LiAngelo Ball, brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball and son of LaVar Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.

A senior White House official said the players had been given relatively light treatment due to Trump's intervention.

The report came after President Donald Trump said he had a long conversation on the matter with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

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"It's a very, very rough situation with what happened to them", Trump said.

Asked about the trio and Trump's discussing the issue with Xi, China Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing in Beijing that he was unable to provide any further information.

"China will handle this case in accordance with law and protect the lawful rights and interests of the people involved", Geng said. The UCLA team returned to the US without them on Saturday.

UCLA was in China for a game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai, which the Bruins won 63-30 despite not the three arrested players not participating.

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There was no immediate word on the players' status for the team's home opener Wednesday night against Central Arkansas.

The Washington Post reported Monday that a US official indicated that shoplifting charges against the players have been reduced, and the case could be resolved soon.

Even with Trump's help resolving the matter, the future of Ball, Hill and Riley with UCLA is still up in the air.

Three UCLA basketball players held in China for a week are on their way back to Los Angeles, according to the L.A. Times.

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