Basketball Australia clears Glen Rice Jr ahead of Taipans game

Glen Rice Jr, who was recently suspended from play, will be suiting up for the New Zealand Breakers on Friday's game against the Cairns Taipans.

Rice was arrested over an alleged assault incident in November, and was pulled by the Breakers, under orders of the league.

“I respect our legal process in New Zealand and firmly believe that [he is] innocent until proven guilty,” Breakers owner, Matt Walsh said last month. “However, regardless of the outcome of Glen’s court appearance, there is no denying he has let down the club, our fans and the New Zealand public after we gave him this lifeline.

“I put structures in place, which I thought would prevent any problems happening, but I was wrong.”

The NBL has announced that Basketball Australia's Integrity Unit had proceeded with investigations into the incident, with the matter at hand referred to an "Independent Hearing Panel", who determined "no further action is currently necessary in connection with Rice Jnr".

On Wednesday, Breakers head coach, Dan Shamir spoke about his experience with Rice and the challenges faced.

"I know this guy and it's not easy to get to know him. I am a very, very normal guy and this is not really my type of friend. But I really like this guy. I've spent a lot of time with him here and before, in the past.

"I can also see with me as coach he's been very good. A lot of people tell me when I'm around he's also behaving really well. I really like him as a person. I understand he has a lot of issues. I also understand that being in this business for 20 years, I came across people from different backgrounds and they're not all Tom Abercrombies who grew up on the North Shore of Auckland and are like him. I know Glen, he's a good man, a good person who has issues he needs help with and I'm trying to be involved in helping him get over those obstacles in his life and career."

The Breakers are currently second-last on the ladder, with a 3-8 record. Rice Jr's return, along with big man Rob Loe --who is expected to play with limited minutes-- will be a welcome boost for the team.