At a press conference this afternoon, it was announced that the three UCLA freshmen accused of shoplifting while in China have been suspended indefinitely.
Bruins freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley, and Jalen Hill will not travel, suit up for road games, or take part in practice while UCLA reviews the situation, according to the ESPN report.
This was obviously big news, as there were lots of questions regarding the players’ fate once they were allowed to travel back to the United States. Indefinite suspensions can vary wildly. It could be a game, a week, maybe a month or two... nobody really knows how long it will be.
Ball, Riley, and Hill all figured to play major roles for this Bruins squad. Each were four-star recruits coming out of high school. The suspensions would definitely leave the Bruins very short-handed, but the schedule moving forward is mostly favorable. At Michigan and home against Cincinnati in early December will likely be challenges for the Bruins.
UCLA already has several key pieces in place. Freshman Kris Wilkes looked good in the season opener, scoring 18 points and knocking down 4-6 from behind the arc. Thomas Welsh is back again and sure to cause headaches, along with freshman guard Jaylen Hands and veteran guard Aaron Holiday.
But in 10 or so games, the Bruins will meet the Kentucky Wildcats in New Orleans. Could the three players still be suspended then?
I tend to not think so. Honestly, I think the suspensions probably last 2-3 games. It’s hard to imagine Alford and UCLA suspending them for a significant amount of time.
But it could go the either way. The whole incident has brought a lot of negative attention and UCLA could want to teach these players a lesson about bringing negative attention to the program.
Somehow, I have this feeling LaVar Ball isn’t going to be too happy if his son has to sit out half of the season suspended. Two or three games, maybe four, and the players will likely be back on the court, in my opinion, and that means they’ll be ready when they meet Kentucky.
But who knows? I’ve been wrong before.