ANBL 2019: NZ Breakers confident of early Glen Rice return

NZ Breakers coach Dan Shamir is holding out hope an assault charge for controversial import Glen Rice Jnr will be downgraded.

The Australian NBL club believes video evidence shows Rice was provoked during an incident in central Auckland last month.

And if its legal team succeed with efforts to have the charge downgraded, Rice could be back on court soon.

On Wednesday, Rice arrived at Breakers HQ for a meeting with his legal team.

The American has been at the wrong type of court since arriving last month and Shamir won't comment on his chances of returning to basketball.

"There is a legal process that needs to be played out," Shamir told Newshub.

But after seeing the 4am CCTV footage from the alleged assault on Fort Lane, Shamir hopes charges can be avoided.

"It at least looks like it's not as it seems in the beginning, as people think, because of his reputation and the titles you find when you google him."

In the footage, Rice can be seen on his phone and minding his own business, when a member of the public starts poking and prodding him, looking for a reaction. Then, the punch was thrown.

Shamir admits he rolled the dice on Rice because of the team's injury troubles, after cutting him last season from their old Israeli club for punching a teammate. 

The 28-year-old has played for 13 teams in nine seasons, and has previously been in trouble for battery, marijuana possession and drink-driving, but Shamir still has faith in his player.

"I did not turn my back on Glen at any given point."

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