LiAngelo Ball will not return to the UCLA men’s basketball team when his indefinite suspension over theft allegations in China expires, Bruins coach Steve Alford said Monday.
“We learned today of LiAngelo Ball’s intention to withdraw from UCLA," Alford said in a statement. "We respect the decision he and his family have made, and we wish him all the best in the future.”
LaVar Ball, LiAngelo’s father, told ESPN that it was his decision to pull his son out of UCLA.
"We are exploring other options with Gelo," LaVar Ball told ESPN. "He's out of there."
TMZ was the first to report that LiAngelo Ball, Lavar’s middle child, had unofficially withdrawn from the school.
LiAngelo was suspended along with teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill for shoplifting during a team trip to China. President Trump intervened on their behalf and the three returned to the U.S. after being detained in China for a few days.
The theft accusations are under review of UCLA's Office of Student Conduct, which handles discipline on such matters.
"I'm not sitting back and waiting," LaVar Ball told ESPN. "He wasn't punished this bad in China. ... We get back over here and the consequences were even stiffer than China. So basically they're in jail here."
The eldest Ball brother, Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo, played for the Bruins last season and the youngest Ball offspring, high school junior LaMelo, committed to UCLA.
LaVar pulled LaMelo out of Chino Hills High School in early October, saying in part at the time: "I'm not dealing with the coach over there. ... So therefore I'm going to home school him and make him the best basketball player ever."
LaVar Ball said there's no plans for LiAngelo to play college basketball anywhere else.
"I'm going to make him way better for the draft that UCLA ever could have," Ball told ESPN.
LiAngelo Ball’s college career – at least for the 2017 school year – would have been on hold anyway. He’d be unable to enroll and play immediately for any NCAA Division I program, although there would have been at least the possibility he could catch on at a lower-level program, like an NAIA school.
Contributing: Kevin Spain
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