Henare, Peck make comeback for the Sharks
Paul Henare has confirmed his comeback.
The Southland Sharks basketball coach will pull on the orange singlet for the first time on Sunday night after three players were suspended because of assault charges and Gareth Dawson was stood down after returning a positive drugs test.
Henare played the last of his 243 National Basketball League games for Hawke's Bay in 2010. His playing comeback will add even more intrigue to Sunday night's game against Taranaki in Invercargill.
His playing career also included 250 games for the NZ Breakers in the Australian National Basketball League.
"I will have an orange uniform on on Sunday night, what number ... I'm not sure," he said.
"I'll suit up, I've signed the official playing roster that has not be cleared by the NBL, so I'll be out there.
"I don't plan on having a big role, if any at all; it's just really to plug any gaps ... I trained the last two nights, we've got a night off tonight, and then we train the next two days leading up to Sunday - so I'll get another couple under my belt. So far so good, the body has come through all right, touch wood.
"I think I can dribble the ball up the court and give it to somebody else to shoot."
Henare said he discussed the scenario with senior players before deciding to play.
"Their positive response gave me the backing I needed to make this decision to help our team, organisation and community in a time of need." Dan Peck has also agreed to come out of retirement to play and help the Sharks.
Peck played his 50th game for the Sharks in last year's NBL final before retiring because of work and family commitments.
The 26-year-old was a key player for the Sharks over three seasons, with his strength his three-point shooting percentage via his unique shooting style.
Henare made a call to Peck on Tuesday and received a positive response.
"The first thing he said to me when I spoke to him was ‘hey, I'll help you guys out wherever I can'. He's a Sharks guy through and through and it shows the kind of person he is, and the character he has just to adjust his whole life really to do this for us."
"It is awesome to have him back in with the energy he brought into practice [on Wednesday night]. The guys were really happy to see him and it will be good to see him in Sharks colours again."
Peck works for the Foundation For Youth Development Southland as a Kiwi Can leader.
The organisation has offered Peck flexibility to help him step back in and help the under-fire Sharks.
He also became a father just a month ago.
Henare said he had discussed with Peck a return only for Sunday's game, at this stage, and would re-evaluate the situation after the game.
The Sharks have a seven-win/three-loss record, which includes winning their past five games.
They sit in fourth place with eight round-robin games to go.
Sunday night is likely to be their biggest test, given what has happened during the past week.
- The Southland Times