A day after LiAngelo Ball parted ways with UCLA, LaVar Ball blamed the Bruins’ coaching staff for last month’s shoplifting incident during a team trip to China. LiAngelo Ball and two other UCLA players were detained on charges of stealing before their eventual release.
“There’s no accountability to them?” LaVar said of the coaches during an interview on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday morning.
Without naming coaches, LaVar was critical of head coach Steve Alford and his staff for placing blame on the players — LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill — and not taking more responsibility. LaVar said the coaches should have enforced stronger rules during the trip.
“Let’s stand up to bat (for the players) and say you’re the coach,” Ball told CNN. “Coaches are making enough money. They’ve gotta hold some accountability.”
LaVar Ball on pulling his son off the UCLA basketball team: “That’s one of the main reasons he went to UCLA is to play basketball. That’s his passion. And for them to prolong this and go on and on, it’s ridiculous to me.” pic.twitter.com/5p9otRVzIy
— CNN (@CNN) December 5, 2017
When the three players returned to the U.S., they were indefinitely suspended and told they would have to earn their way back on the team.
“You shouldn’t hang them on the cross for this long for that,” Ball said. “A kid wants to play basketball all his life. You take that away, that’s worse than jail. Why should we as parents and adults keep jumping on them? It’s not like we’re going through life without making mistakes. … China already forgave the boys. They returned it. Why keep them from playing sports and take their meal passes? You already sent a message. They already apologized. What’s the big deal?”
CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked LaVar Ball about his youngest son, LaMelo Ball, a high schooler who is currently committed to UCLA.
“My youngest son is going to UCLA,” Ball said. “This has got nothing to do with him. … I don’t worry about nothing. It’s about me and my boys and their future. They gonna follow me even if it’s wrong.”
Ball discussed his decision to pull LiAngelo out of UCLA after it became clear the indefinite suspension would take away most of the 2017-18 season. Ball said he wasn’t going to let “UCLA bring my boy down. … We’re not gonna sit back and let an institution tell us what to do.”
“We’ve got the NCAA holding him back,” Ball said. “One of the main reasons he went to UCLA is to play basketball. That’s his passion. And for them to prolong this and go on and on, it’s ridiculous to me.”