(Updates with police statement)
MELBOURNE, March 16 (Reuters) - Australia basketballer Mitch Creek has been charged with assault offences and stood down by his team South East Melbourne Phoenix, the National Basketball League (NBL) said.
The 28-year-old Creek, who was picked in a preliminary squad for the Tokyo Olympics in February, had denied the charges, the NBL said in a joint statement with the Phoenix.
“The NBL and South East Melbourne Phoenix are aware that Victoria Police have laid charges against Mitch Creek in respect of alleged assault offences,” the statement said.
“The NBL and South East Melbourne Phoenix are deeply concerned by the nature of the charges against Mitch Creek and take this matter extremely seriously.”
The NBL said its integrity unit had undertaken a “preliminary investigation” into the matter.
“The NBL, South East Melbourne Phoenix and Mitch Creek have all agreed that he will not train or play with the Club until further notice.”
The charges followed a months-long investigation after a woman in her 20s suffered serious facial injuries, Melbourne’s The Age newspaper reported.
Victoria Police said a 28-year-old man had been charged with “intentionally causing injury, recklessly causing injury and unlawful assault” after an incident in Melbourne’s western suburb of Maribyrnong on Nov. 22.
“He has been summonsed to appear at the Sunshine Magistrates Court on 11 April,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
Creek represented Australia at the 2019 Basketball World Cup in China and had short stints with the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves during the 2018/19 NBA season. (Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Michael Perry)