US State Dept. Says It'll Help LiAngelo Ball, Arrested UCLA Players If Needed

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 8, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 24:  LiAngelo Ball #3 of Chino Hills High School dribbles the ball down court during the game against Mater Dei High School at the Galen Center on February 24, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

The U.S. Department of State could get involved in LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley's shoplifting case after the trio of UCLA freshman basketball players were arrested in China.  

Per TMZ Sports, the State Department said it would offer assistance to Ball, Hill and Riley if they were needed. 

"We are aware of reports of three U.S. citizens arrested and subsequently released on bail in China," a State Department official told TMZ Sports. "We stand ready to provide appropriate consular assistance for U.S. citizens. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.‎"

ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported Tuesday that three UCLA basketball players were arrested and questioned in China for shoplifting at a Louis Vuitton store near where the Bruins' hotel was at in Hangzhou.

Per ESPN.com's Arash Markazi, Ball, Hill and Riley were released on bail and are required to remain at the team's hotel until the legal process concludes. 

LaVar Ball, LiAngelo's father, told Markazi he would wait for more information before making an official comment, but he wasn't concerned about the situation. 

"Everyone's making it a big deal," LaVar said. "It ain't that big a deal."

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports reported the three players could face between three to 10 years in prison if they are convicted.

UCLA is in China to open its 2017-18 season against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Baoshan Sports Centre in Shanghai on Friday. Ball is the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, who played at UCLA last year. 

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