A day after they were allowed to leave China following their house arrest at a hotel, three UCLA basketball players were the subject of a tweet from President Trump on Wednesday.
Trump wondered if freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley would thank him for helping them leave China. Trump tweeted: “Do you think the three UCLA Basketball Players will say thank you President Trump? They were headed for 10 years in jail!”
Ball, the younger brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, arrived at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday along with Riley and Hill after a flight from Shanghai, China.
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Hill, Riley and Ball had been required to stay at their hotel in Hangzhou, China, after being questioned about a shoplifting incident. The three players were expected to be under house arrest for 20 days. However, Trump said he asked Chinese president Xi Jinping to let them go earlier, and they were allowed to fly to the United States on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, UCLA coach Steve Alford announced the players were suspended indefinitely.
“I’m sorry for stealing from the stores in China,” LiAngelo Ball said, according to the Associated Press. “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 a better person from here on out.”
Riley had a message for Trump.
“To President Trump and the United States government, thank you for taking time to intervene on our behalf,” Riley said, per the New York Times.
It seems unlikely that the players will be in Kansas City next week.
UCLA will play Creighton on Monday at the Sprint Center as part of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Baylor and Wisconsin are in the other game.