Three UCLA men’s basketball players — including LiAngelo Ball, the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball — were arrested in China just days before Friday’s season-opening game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai, sources told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
The players are being questioned about stealing from a Louis Vuitton store that is located next to the team’s hotel.
A source tells ESPN the players are not currently with the team.
Multiple calls and texts to UCLA head coach Steve Alford at approximately 1 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning were not immediately returned.
UCLA released a statement: “We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China. The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”
LaVar Ball, his wife Tina and LaMelo Ball were having breakfast with the UCLA team at the team hotel in Shanghai on Wednesday morning.
One source told ESPN that nearly 20 police officers came into the Hyatt Hangzhou at approximately 8 a.m. local time Tuesday and spoke to multiple players from both Georgia Tech and UCLA. The players, according to the source, were kept in a room for hours and not allowed to speak to any of the coaches.
“They weren’t messing around,” the source told ESPN. “The kids were scared.”
The Georgia Tech players were allowed to leave the room hours later, and the UCLA players were seen getting into a police vehicle around 1 p.m. local time, according to the source.
Georgia Tech released a statement to ESPN on Tuesday, saying that three of their players were questioned by local authorities at their hotel.
“During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated,” Georgia Tech said in the statement. “They have resumed their scheduled activities in advance of Saturday’s season opener versus UCLA in Shanghai.”
The teams are scheduled to visit Shanghai Disney Resort on Wednesday.
ESPN’s Arash Markazi contributed to this report.