The college basketball player at the center of a shoplifting scandal in China last month has begun training to compete on the professional level after removing himself as a student at UCLA, according to a new report. There’s just one problem – LiAngelo Ball has never actually been projected to be drafted into the NBA.
Ball’s famous father, LaVar Ball, pulled his son from UCLA amid an indefinite suspension from the team following an admitted role in stealing sunglasses from high-end retailer in China, ESPN Jeff Goodman tweeted Monday afternoon.
LaVar, ever defiant, suggested he didn’t owe UCLA the courtesy of even informing the school that LiAngelo wouldn’t return.
But when the topic turned to LiAngelo looking for another college to continue playing, LaVar cleared things up quickly, according to another tweet from Goodman.
With LiAngelo no longer enrolled in UCLA, LaVar has now pulled two of his sons from their schools this year. LaMelo Ball, a 16-year-old junior, was yanked from his high school in October in favor of home schooling to allow more time to train for a future in the NBA.
Shortly after Monday’s announcement, LiAngelo’s name was nowhere to be found out of the top 100 players listed on NBADraft.net, a website that reliably predicts the NBA future of amateur basketball. That could be an indication that LiAngelo, who was already billed as being the third-best player out of his older and younger brothers, may not be selected by one of the 30 NBA teams next June.
However, to hear LaVar tell it, that’s exactly what he’s wanted all along.
“All my boys are gonna be one-and-done. Gelo [LiAngelo] is going [to] be one-and-done whether he’s good or bad,” LaVar, referring to the trend of jumping to the pros after playing just one season in college, told ESPN in June. “I’m going to put him in the draft, hope they don’t take him. Bring him into the Lakers as a free agent, let him wind up with his brother and watch how good they play together.”
LaVar’s oldest son Lonzo is currently a rookie for the Los Angeles Lakers.
LiAngelo and three of his fellow freshmen teammates at UCLA were arrested by Chinese police on suspicion of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store on November 11 in southeastern China. The team, which was there to play its season opener against Georgia Tech, eventually returned to the U.S. without the three players who were still on hotel arrest.
President Donald Trump took credit for securing their release, and the university suspended them shortly after their arrival on campus. When Trump demanded the players thank him, LaVar intervened, sparking a war of words between the two.