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3 UCLA basketball players suspended after theft in China

Updated: 2017-11-16 09:12

3 UCLA basketball players suspended after theft in China

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, in Los Angeles, California, US, Nov 15, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

LOS ANGELES — Three UCLA basketball players detained for shoplifting at three high-end stores in China publicly apologized Wednesday before coach Steve Alford announced they were being suspended indefinitely.

Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley won't be allowed to suit up, practice or travel with the team while the university continues to sort out the circumstances of last week's incident in Hangzhou, China, Alford said during a news conference at Pauley Pavilion.

"These are good young men who have exercised an inexcusable lapse of judgment and now they have to live with that," Alford said. "They let a lot people down in the process.""I'm confident that they have already begun to use this experience as a life lesson," he added.

Ball, Hill and Riley took turns confessing to the theft and apologizing. The players had returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday after Chinese authorities withdrew the charges against them.

"I'm sorry for stealing from the stores in China," said Ball, the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, who played last season at UCLA.

"I've learned my lesson from this big mistake and I'm a hundred percent sure I'll never make a mistake like this again. It's going to make me a better person from here on out." When it was his turn, Hill said, "I'm sorry for shoplifting. What I did was stupid. I don't want to be known for this dumb mistake." "I hope you can forgive my stupid, childish actions," he added.

Riley was the first to speak and he thanked the Pac-12 Conference, several UCLA administrators and his teammates.

"You guys mean so much to me," Riley said of his teammates. "I'm sorry for letting you down." Athletic director Dan Guerrero also spoke at the news conference, but no one took questions from a large group of media.

Alford didn't specify what the indefinite suspensions mean, saying only that the three players would have to earn their way back onto the team.

He said at some point, the trio may be permitted to join team workouts, meetings and practices, but that timeline has yet to be decided.

"We will come to a resolution in short order," Guerrero said.

AP

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