Assault convictions would limit players' careers

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 10:46 28/05/2014

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A New Plymouth bar owner whose security staff were allegedly savaged by three Southland Sharks National Basketball League players has got the apology he demanded.

Doc van Praagh, of Crowded House Bar and Cafe, has received a personal apology via email from Sharks general manager Jill Bolger in regards to the Sunday morning brawl that allegedly left two of his security guards knocked out cold and stomped on.

Three Sharks players have been charged with assault with intent to injure.

Van Praagh yesterday said it was bad form Bolger had apologised to the Southland community, but not the New Plymouth security staff hurt in the attack.

Today the publican said he received a personal apology from Bolger late yesterday afternoon.

''It arrived yesterday, but I was picking the kids up from school and didn't see it until today,'' he said.

CAREER IN TROUBLE

Reuben Te Rangi had been tipped as a future star of New Zealand basketball but his career could be in jeopardy if he was found guilty of assault.

The 19-year-old Breakers and Tall Blacks player was one of three men facing charges over the New Plymouth.

The other players were former Breakers and Tall Blacks player Leon Henry and Shea Ili.

After being part of the Breakers development system, Te Rangi was this year upgraded to a fulltime contract with the Auckland-based Australian National Basketball League club.

Last year, at just 18-years-old, he was included in the Tall Blacks squad.

He was also touted as a strong contender to be part of New Zealand's world championships campaign in Spain in August and September.

Basketball New Zealand boss Iain Potter said, however, if any of the players was found guilty their Tall Blacks careers would probably be over.

Potter said even if his organisation did not hand down a ban on the players their use to the Tall Blacks could be limited anyway depending if convictions hindered their travel to other countries.

"Basketball is a global game and people with convictions are limited in terms of countries they can gain access to and consequently their usefulness to a Tall Blacks side would be diminished if they were not able to travel to a number of countries we would play in," he said.

"There are obvious ones but there is also not so obvious ones. It is well known the United States have quite a strong view on who they let in, so does Australia with certain sorts of convictions, as well as Europe and Asia etc."

"That's a generic statement that holds true no matter who it is."

Potter said they would let the judicial process play out before making any decisions but the timing isn't ideal.

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The 2014 Tall Blacks squad is expected to be named on July 11 and he felt the full court process might extend further than that date.

"Any conclusion we come to will depend on what comes from the court process. The timing is absolutely nightmarish."

- The Southland Times

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