26 Jun 2014

Tall Blacks coach won't close door on Southland players

11:24 am on 26 June 2014

The Tall Blacks coach Nenad Vucinic won't rule out a return to the New Zealand basketball team for the Southland Sharks players awaiting sentencing for assault charges.

Former Tall Blacks Leon Henry and Reuben Te Rangi and Southland team-mate Shea Ili pleaded guilty to their part in a brawl outside a New Plymouth bar following the Sharks NBL win over Taranaki earlier this season.

All three have applied to be discharged without conviction.

Te Rangi and Henry in particular were in strong contention to make the New Zealand team for the upcoming basketball World Cup in Spain starting at the end of August.

However it was decided none of the three players would be included in the 24-man squad to attend next month's Tall Blacks trial, regardless of the outcome of their sentencing on August the 1st.

Vucinic concedes Te Rangi and Henry won't be Tall Blacks this year, but says the door is open for them in the future.

The Tall Blacks trials take place in Auckland on July the 8th and 9th.