UPDATE: Basketball star convicted of fraud
AN INTERNATIONAL basketball star and former Gladstone Port City Power coach says he is "truly sorry" and has escaped a prison term after being convicted of fraud.
Defence barrister Scott Moon told the court his client, Derek Alan Rucker, was embarrassed, humiliated and ashamed and blamed himself after running up $6,500 in personal expenses on the club's credit card in 2015.
Two further charges were dismissed after the crown prosecutor considered the evidence before the hearing.
Rucker, 51 was employed by Port City Power as head coach and operations manager in April 2015.
As such he was signatory to the credit card for business expenses. Between August 28 and October 12 that year, he used the card for personal motel rooms, travel and meals.
He resigned on October 14 and after being unable to find him, the club reported the misuse to police.
In his defence, Mr Moon told the court Rucker had no criminal history and during his time at Port City Power he had brought $150,000 in sponsorship into the club.
He submitted that Rucker had not stolen the card but had used it for unauthorised personal use, which he accepted "crossed the line".
But Magistrate Catherine Benson was unmoved and said a conviction, while on bail in 2016, for driving away without paying for $10 in fuel raised concerns about a genuine ability for rehabilitation.
Rucker appeared stoney-faced and showed no emotion as she handed down a 12 month sentence, wholly suspended, recorded a conviction and ordered him to pay $6,500 in restitution.
"Future employers are entitled to know about the conduct of people who have committed such matters," she said.
"The facts are clear, you used your position and authority to betray those people's trust...
"No doubt it's been a shameful period, especially with the media attention, but that is something you have brought upon yourself."
Rucker, born in Washington DC, played 15 seasons in the NBL before joining Port City Power as head coach and operations manager.
In his home country he was a two-time All-American Academic and initiated into Davidson College Hall of Fame.
He has previously worked as a commentator at Fox Sports and Channel Nine.