Steve Alford says he was “surprised” LiAngelo Ball left UCLA basketball team


  FILE - On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, archive photo, UCLA NCAA basketball player LiAngelo Ball attends a press conference at UCLA in Los Angeles. The father of UCLA guard LiAngelo Ball says he will withdraw his son from school so he can prepare to play in the NBA. LaVar Ball says that

Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

One day after LiAngelo Ball left UCLA, Bruins head coach Steve Alford turned to the media to discuss the first year of the program .

Alford said his reaction to Ball was shocked above all else.

"I do not think he's angry," he said (via Kyle Bonagura of ESPN). "I think it was more, maybe, surprised, if you're looking for a word, you might be surprised because it's nothing we saw coming"

TMZ Sports reported on Monday that LaVar Ball was taking his son out of school because he felt that the punishment of UCLA for a robbery in China was not fair.

The Bruins announced that Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were suspended indefinitely after stealing in several stores when the team was in Hangzhou preparing for the game on November 10. against Georgia Tech.

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

"LiAngelo has been, since his return [from China] has been tremendous," said Alford. "He has attended all of his clbades, he has badisted all the tutors, all the mentors, he has done exactly what was asked of him."

Alford also said he has no plans to approach LaVar or LiAngelo about his decision. leave UCLA.

This was Ball's first year with the Bruins. He was following in the footsteps of his brother, Lonzo Ball, who took the program to a record of 31-5 and an appearance on the Sweet 16 last season.

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