Cairns import Tony Mitchell has been banned for the entire 2017-18 NBL season for throwing the ball at a referee after the Taipans' semi-final loss to Perth.
Mitchell was found guilty of deliberately throwing the ball at referee Vaughan Mayberry after the Taipans were eliminated by the Wildcats on Monday night at Perth Arena.
Here's the footage of Tony Mitchell throwing the ball at the NBL ref (not seen). Bryce Cotton shocked, Damian Martin pushed TM away. pic.twitter.com/Q5ypB4rBes— Glenn Valencich (@glennvalencich) February 24, 2017
It was just the former NBA D-League player's 10th game with the Taipans, having signed only last month with the club.
Tribunal chair Tony Nolan QC ruled that while Mitchell had not intended to hurt the official and the force was not significant enough to cause injury, the act was serious enough to justify the penalty.
He noted Mitchell had taken the time to shake his opponents' hands before the incident and had not apologised to Mayberry.
"Whether it be at the lowest level or the NBL and NBA at the professional level, referees must be protected," he said in a statement.
"Any intentional physical contact with officials will not be tolerated."
Mitchell, who had not attended the hearing, will be suspended until February 23, 2018.