UCLA Basketball: Steve Alford 'Surprised' By LiAngelo Ball's Departure

Steve Alford 'surprised' LiAngelo Ball leaving, defends himself, UCLA

Steve Alford 'surprised' LiAngelo Ball leaving, defends himself, UCLA

Part of me thinks Ball might be pulling a nuanced business move and purposely plays himself up as a ridiculous character to get his name out there and inadvertently promote himself, his sons and his brand.

It was announced this week that Ball has withdrawn from UCLA in part because of a perceived unfair treatment from the university in the wake of his overseas arrest for shoplifting.

"It was awful", LiAngelo said about jail on the "TODAY" show.

UCLA coach Steve Alford issued a statement later Monday.

Wednesday, Nov. 15's news conference at UCLA was held less that 20 hours after Cody Riley, from left, LiAngelo Ball and Jalen Hill arrived at LAX after a flight from China.

The Bruins announced Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were indefinitely suspended after stealing from multiple stores when the team was in Hangzhou preparing for a November 10 game against Georgia Tech. "I think each of them are individual cases, so I don't think it makes us worrisome that something else is going to happen".

With oldest son Lonzo struggling in his rookie NBA season for the Los Angeles Lakers, LiAngelo now without a school or place to play basketball, and LaMelo's college future uncertain, LaVar's words to CNN could end up as the family's legacy.

Since withdrawing his son from UCLA, Big Baller Brand patriarch LaVar Ball has been lobbing shots at the UCLA program and coaching staff for their handling of the situation. You wear whatever they have for you, a little jumpsuit. Arturs Stalbergs, head coach of the Lithuanian basketball team KK Lietkabelis Panevezys, offered a job for the Balls, although it likely wasn't one LaVar had in mind.

The Bruins are wrapping up a critical four-game homestand that Alford has dubbed "growth week" before they play their only true nonconference road game of the season Saturday at MI.

LiAngelo is the middle child of Ball's three sons.

Alford noted since returning to the United States, Ball has been a model citizen at school.

Asked if he would reach out to the Ball family, Alford said, no. I'm here. I'm at Pauley every day.

The university disciplinary process via the office of student conduct is ongoing, Alford said Tuesday, adding that he didn't have a timeline for when it would be finished. "If they need to talk to me, they know where to find me".

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