LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Three UCLA basketball players were greeted by a gauntlet of paparazzi and reporters Tuesday evening – blitzing them with questions as they arrived back from China. The players – LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill – stayed silent during their somber march toward their waiting van at the Tom Bradley terminal.

All three are accused of shoplifting during their team trip to China to play their season opener. ESPN reports the trio stole from three stores, including a Luis Vuitton shop – and that the crimes were captured on security camera. The freshman were confined to their hotel and could not leave with the team on Saturday. They faced the potential of years in prison – but President Trump intervened as he wrapped up his meetings with the Chinese president during his Asia tour.


“We are all very pleased that these young men have been allowed to return home to their families and university,” the Pac-12 statement said. “We are grateful for the role that our Chinese hosts played, and for the courtesy and professionalism of the local authorities. We also want to acknowledge UCLA’s significant efforts on behalf of their student-athletes. Finally we want to thank the President, the White House and the U.S. State Department for their efforts toward resolution.”

Jim Hill discusses the mess the players, UCLA and Big Baller brand are in 


The statement did not say whether the players would face punishment when they returned home.

“I want to be clear that we take seriously any violations of the law,” UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said. “We remain one of the world’s top academic institutions in large part because of our values and standards, which we work hard to infuse throughout our campus community.

Jeff Nguyen’s report from LAX before the arrival


“When members of the UCLA family fail to uphold these values, we review these incidents with fair and thorough processes,” he said. “In this particular case, both Athletics and the Office of Student Conduct will review this incident and guide any action with respect to the involved students. Such proceedings are confidential, which limits the specific information that can be shared.”

The UCLA freshmen were detained last week for questioning about allegations of shoplifting before a recent game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai. The UCLA team returned to the U.S. without them on Saturday.

According to reports, there is surveillance footage of the players shoplifting from three stores inside a high-end retail center next to their hotel.

Since being detained, Riley, Hill, and Ball – the brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball – were on house arrest at their luxury hotel.

Their flight is scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. According to UCLA, the three student-athletes would address the media Wednesday, along with head basketball Coach Steve Alford and Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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