From left to right, LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill prepare for UCLA’s trip to China. The trio of freshmen were arrested for shoplifting on Tuesday then released on bail. (Photo from UCLA Basketball/@UCLAMBB on Twitter)
The three UCLA men’s basketball players arrested for shoplifting on Tuesday in Hangzhou, China were released on bail Wednesday, according to reports from ESPN.
Freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill are now required to stay at the team’s luxury hotel in Hangzhou until legal proceedings are completed, the report states. They cannot rejoin the team as it prepares to play its season opener against Georgia Tech on Friday at 8:30 p.m. PT in Shanghai
“We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China,” UCLA said in a statement Tuesday. “The university is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time.”
UCLA was working on both classes at the same time considering its 2017 recruiting haul includes high school teammates – and in one case, a blood relative – of each of the three players from the 2016 class. Most importantly, the caliber of talent is similar too.
The headliner is freshman T.J. Leaf’s former teammate, point guard Jaylen Hands of El Cajon Foothills Christian, rivals.com’s No. 26 prospect. Ike Anigbogu’s former running mate in the front court at Corona Centennial High, Jalen Hill, is the espn.com’s No. 50 recruit and Lonzo Ball’s brother, LiAngelo, is a 3-star shooting guard from Chino Hills High. Chatsworth Sierra Canyon power forward Cody Riley, scout.com’s No. 30 prospect, is the fourth member of the class and one of the best rebounders in the country.
The Corona Centennial junior-to-be turned 15 in December. He could easily be a 2018 prospect based on his age alone. Hill is touted as a defensive center, but his offensive game is developing as rapidly as his 6-foot-8 body, according to his high school coach, who noted that Hill’s father is 6-9 and his mother is “at least 6-3.”
“Most kids who are this tall this young can’t chew gum and walk, but Jalen is one of the fastest, most agile players on our team,” Centennial basketball coach Josh Giles said. “A year ago, sure, he was more of a defensive guy, but he’s increased his range and he is a much better outside shooter. He’s got much more to his game than just defense.”
Giles thought enough of Hill’s perimeter skills to call the Scout.com five-star prospect a stretch-4. Hill’s offensive development was on display earlier this month when he set a record for the 16U USA Basketball team on its way to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas Championship. He connected on 88 percent (15 of 17) of his field goal attempts in the tournament’s five games, breaking Jahlil Okafor’s 2011 mark of 71 percent shooting.
UCLA has landed a commitment from another big man out of Corona Centenniel.
Two months after center Ike Anigbogu announced his decision to join the Bruins’ 2016 class, his high school teammate Jalen Hill has done the same for the 2017 cycle. Hill is ranked a five-star center and a top-25 national recruit by Scout.com, and a four-star power forward by Rivals.com.
He was picked for the USA Basketball U16 team earlier this month.
The 6-foot-8, 205-pound Hill is the second member of UCLA’s 2017 class, joining three-star shooting guard LiAngelo Ball.