Nuggets lay formal complaint

The Otago Nuggets have filed an incident report about what they called an act of foul play from Wellington forward Tohi Smith-Milner.

They alleged the Tall Blacks power forward struck Nuggets point guard Darcy Knox with his elbow during Otago’s 101-85 win in the capital on Friday night.

They also claimed Smith-Milner shoulder-charged Nuggets shooting guard Michael Harris while he was trying to get back to his feet.

The league has reviewed the incidents, and an outcome has been reached. However, the findings have not been made public.

Basketball New Zealand general manager of leagues Maree Taylor did not respond to an interview request yesterday.

Nuggets general manager Angela Ruske confirmed an outcome had been reached, but said she was not in a position to comment further.

"There are certain rules I’ve got to abide by when it comes to this, so I can’t make any comment at all on it, unfortunately," she said.

Nuggets coach Brent Matehaere was also tight-lipped.

"There is a process that happens after incidents like that and we’ve followed that," he said.

"It sits with the league to announce what the situation is.

"Our focus is the Rams game this week and looking after Darcy."

Matehaere was able to shed some light on the judicial process, however.

"Basically the club submits an incident report with video and so on. And then there is a game review panel that takes a look at it and adjudicates on the severity, or lack of, of the incident."

The first incident took place with the Nuggets leading 48-44.

Knox can be seen trying to keep Smith-Milner off the boards, when he is struck in the head by his opponent’s elbow and reacts immediately by clutching his head with both hands.

The second incident was early in the fourth period.

Harris is seen trying to get to his feet and appears to be charged by Smith-Milner.

Matehaere said Knox had suffered some "light-headedness" afterwards, but was otherwise fine.

Asked if the league took a tough enough stance on foul play, and if it was doing enough to protect its players, Matehaere said his opinion was "superfluous".

Suspensions in the NBL appear to be rare. But in 2020 former Tall Black Leon Henry was issued a two-game suspension for grabbing Derone Raukawa by the throat.

In rugby, striking the head with the elbow carries a minimum of six weeks’ suspension. A top-end sanction is 10-plus weeks, with a maximum of a year.