LiAngelo Ball’s tumultuous and brief run at UCLA has come to an end. On Monday, TMZ reported that the beleaguered guard was removed from school by his father, LaVar. LiAngelo had yet to play a game for the Bruins and was suspended following an arrest for shoplifting before UCLA’s season opener in China.
An associate of LaVar Ball told TMZ that the family patriarch thought the suspension was unfair, saying, “There’s no need to break down a kid’s spirit for making a mistake.” Per TMZ, LiAngelo has not officially been withdrawn from school, but his father later confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman that he was pulling out LiAngelo.
LaVar Ball told ESPN he has pulled LiAngelo Ball from UCLA. "We are exploring other options with Gelo," LaVar said. "He's out of there."— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) December 4, 2017
In early November, LiAngelo was placed on house arrest, along with teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, after they were charged with stealing from three stores in Hangzhou, China. The trio were suspended indefinitely from the basketball team and have not played or practiced for the Bruins since. Riley and Hill were both highly touted recruits coming into the season and were expected to make an impact for a UCLA team looking to overcome the loss of Lonzo Ball, who was taken second overall in this year’s NBA draft.
LiAngelo, a three-star recruit, was never expected to live up to success of his older brother, nor was he hyped as much as his younger brother, LaMelo, who is also committed to UCLA. Still, he was a young talent on a Bruins squad that looks poised to compete in the Pac-12. UCLA opened the season a blistering 7–1 and looked to improve when the three freshmen rejoined the squad.
In June, LaVar Ball told GQ he didn’t expect all three of his sons to make the NBA and that he assumed LiAngelo would miss the cut. He added that LiAngelo would be “taken care of either way” and that he was lucky he was the most attractive of the three children. But LaVar appears to still be committed to finding LiAngelo a path to the NBA:
LaVar on pulling LiAngelo from UCLA: “I’m going to make him way better for the draft that UCLA ever could have.”— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) December 4, 2017
LiAngelo’s basketball career can still go a number of different directions. If granted a release, he could transfer and play elsewhere. Or, if the middle Ball wants to cash in on his familial fame, he can sign a contract and play overseas. Where LiAngelo will appear next is unknown. What’s for certain is that it won’t be at UCLA.