LaVar Ball told ESPN on Monday that he has pulled his son, freshman LiAngelo Ball, out of UCLA.
LiAngelo Ball is one of three Bruins players who were arrested on shoplifting charges in China who have remained suspended indefinitely by the program. Fellow freshmen Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were the other two.
“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.”
LiAngelo is the middle of the three Ball brothers. Older brother Lonzo is the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting point guard after starring at UCLA as a freshman last season and being selected with the No. 2 overall pick. LiAngelo did not play a single game for the Bruins, and his father said he will not transfer to another school.
“I’m going to make him way better for the draft than UCLA ever could have,” LaVar Ball told ESPN. “He’s not transferring to another school. The plan is now to get Gelo ready for the NBA Draft.”
UCLA coach Steve Alford issued a statement later Monday.
“We learned today of LiAngelo Ball’s intention to withdraw from UCLA,” he said. “We respect the decision he and his family have made, and we wish him all the best in the future.”
LaVar Ball said before the season that LiMelo would only stay at UCLA for one season, even if he wasn’t projected to be a draft pick. LiMelo was considered unlikely to be drafted next summer even before the incident in China.
“He’s not on any of our scouting lists – even the extended lists,” one general manager told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
LaVar Bell told ESPN that the plan is still for his youngest son, LaMelo Ball, to attend UCLA in 2019. LaMelo is considered a five-star recruit who has verbally committed to the Bruins, although it is uncertain if the latest turn of events involving the Ball family will impact LaMelo’s future with the team.