The New Zealand Breakers have handed a lifeline to a basketballer convicted for assault, signing him to a development contract for the upcoming NBL season.
Shea Ili received a four-month sentence of community detention and was ordered to pay reparations for his part in a brawl in New Plymouth in May, while he was a member of the Southland Sharks.
However the 21-year-old point guard's been given a reprieve by the North Shore-based basketball club and is one of five players selected for the development squad.
The Breakers high performance manager Mike Fitchett says after an intensive interviewing process the club's satisfied Ili is worthy of a second chance.
Fitchett says the incident seems to be out of character and cited the successful return of Corey Webster from a drug-related suspension as evidence the Breakers' environment can help players with off-court issues.
The other players to join the development squad include 16-year-old Tall Black Tai Wynyard, fellow Rangitoto College student Yuat Alok, 21-year-old small forward Jordan Ngatai and shooting guard Brad Anderson.