After being arrested for theft of alcoholic beverages at an Akita convenience store last weekend, veteran swingman Curtis Terry has been released by the Akita Northern Happinets, the bj-league team announced on Thursday.
Team president Yuki Mizuno has scheduled a news conference for Monday.
“I apologize to you the people of the prefecture, partner companies, team boosters, basketball and all the people concerned about the case,” Mizuno said in a statement issued by the team.
Mizuno said Terry’s departure from the team is regrettable, but added that the Happinets have a duty to be responsible role models.
“This is a scandal which loses the trust of a player who has received support from many people in the prefecture,” Mizuno said. “A player should give a dream and a (positive) impression, and I have responded to this situation solemnly.”
He said he’ll issue further details about Terry’s case during the news conference.
Terry, 26, averaged 11.3 points in 14 games (nine games) since joining the Happinets in November. His half-brother, Jason Terry, a longtime member of the Dallas Mavericks, has been a fixture in the NBA since helping the Arizona Wildcats win an NCAA championship in 1997.
The 193-cm Terry attended UNLV. He scored a season-high 36 points on Jan. 7 and had 18 a day later as Akita swept the visiting Toyama Grouses and claimed a share of first place in the East entering All-Star weekend.
According to a news release issued by the team, convenience store staff noticed Terry, who had entered the store with a foreign teammate not named in the release, had three cans of chuhai in his pocket as he left the store. The clerk ordered him to return to the store. Terry placed one can on the counter and left some coins on it before dashing out of the store.
That prompted the clerk to call the police, the news release said.
A few hours later, Akita police found Terry at a nearby restaurant, where he was placed under arrest.
The Happinets (15-9) begin the second half of the 2011-12 bj-league season tied for first place in the Eastern Conference. The team traveled to face the Chiba Jets in the series opener on Friday.
In other league news, a well-connected source told The Japan Times on Friday that the expansion Aomori Prefecture franchise probably won’t join the league for the 2012-13 season as originally planned. The new franchise’s likely decision to delay entry into the league, possibly until 2013-14, would leave the circuit with 21 teams, including a new Tokyo club and the expansion Gunma CraneThunders.
If the cash-strapped Oita HeatDevils and Takamatsu Five Arrows don’t fold or suspend operations, the league could still have the difficult task of writing a schedule for an odd number of teams next season.