Essex Pirates have signed 6’4 American guard Turner King.

The rookie, who arrives out of Hampden-Sydney college, is understood to have agreed a one-year deal after scoring over 1500 points in his college career.

Colbert earns rave report in Devon

Plymouth Raiders have signed 6’7″ American power forward Lehmon Colbert.

He comes to the Devon outfit straight out of Jacksonville University in Florida, where he averaged 12 points and 7 rebounds per game.

Raiders Coach Gavin Love was pleased with his final major capture of the summer.

“Lehmon is the final piece of the puzzle, an athletic power forward who has a really nice mid range game and can also be a threat from the 3 point line,” he said.

“He’s very active defensively and can rebound well – he averaged 12 and 7 in a tough conference, he was named All Second Team, Sun Belt Conference. He averaged double figures each of his four years at university, in a pretty tough conference.”

Rocks go French

Glasgow Rocks have signed shooting guard Moses Mubarak from French second division side ESPE Chalons on a one-year deal. The 24-year-old Parisian averaged 10 points per game in Pro B last season after starting his career at Pau-Orthez.

And Rocks coach Sterling Davis believes his Gallic newcomer will give his new-look side strength in depth.

“Moses is a lock down defender who plays very smart while also shooting a high percentage from the 3-point line,” the American said. “He has the versatility to play the 2 or the 3 position which will give us that utility guy on the perimeter.

“He has a good level of basketball experience, playing in France’s Pro-B and NM1 leagues.  I think he will come in and be even more of a presence here than he showed in the French League.”

Heat begin rebuild

New Guildford Heat coach Creon Raftopoulos has signed his first import with 6’5 guard/forward Martelle McLemore arriving from Western Michigan University.

The 22-year-old rookie played in all 33 games last season, with 32 starts averaging 11.4 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.

“I was very excited as I watched game film on him,” Raftopoulos said. “Martelle fits in perfectly with our team as he is fast, a great shooter and can really step up his game when needed. I was most impressed when I spoke to his coaches and they confirmed they usually gave the defensive duty for the opposition’s best player to Martelle. I think he will be a great professional and I am sure he will quickly become a fan favourite.”

It will be McLemore’s first professional season.

“I am really looking forward to meeting my other team mates in the UK, training with Creon and making my mark on the BBL as a strong player for Guildford Heat,” he said.

Lions snare a giant

Milton Keynes Lions have signed 6-11 American centre Travis Nelson.

The Iowa-native began his collegiate career at the University of Wyoming but then transferred to Minnesota State. He averaged 16.1 points and 5.8 rebounds this past season for the Mavericks and was named as an All-American by the National Basketball Coaches Association.

“I think Travis will fit in very well with what we are trying to do,” Lions’ Head Coach Michael New commented. “He had an extremely successful time in college, he bangs in and around the paint whilst also having a deft touch outside for such a big man and runs the floor extremely well, it’s amazing to think his stats came in only 20 minutes of action each game”

Gall to leave Plymouth

Plymouth Raiders have told long-serving captain Allister Gall to find a new club as new head coach Gavin Love continues his summer makeover.

The 30-year-old shooting guard has been an ever-present since the Devon outfit joined the BBL six years ago, forming part of their core during their rise to become a contender for silverware under previous coach Gary Stronach.

The veteran wants to continue his career despite his surprise exit from the Raiders and could make a switch elsewhere in the league.

“One BBL team are very interested, as am I,” he told the Plymouth Herald. “We are in talks and I am waiting to hear from them regarding an offer. Europe is not out of the question. I have had three teams enquire about me so far from Iceland, Sweden and Romania.”

Cheshire apply Murphy’s Law

Richard Murphy has been confirmed as Cheshire Jets player-assistant coach for the new season – with Phil Brandreth also making a return.

Murphy first joined the Jets in 2003 and was a member of the squads that won the BBL Trophy in that season, and the BBL Championship the following year.  The 6’0” guard became Paul Smith’s assistant in 2008 and has also been heavily involved with the clubs community programmes.

“It ‘s good to have Murph in the squad again and as my assistant,” said Smith. “His work in the community and with the younger age groups is an essential part of the way in which we are developing the club, and he provides a link with the last times the Jets picked up some silverware – something which we are determined to repeat in the not too distant future.”

Locally-born forward Brandreth began his first spell with the Jets in 2003 after he was spotted at summer camp, before he went to the USA to study at Mount Aloysius College.  On his return to the UK in 2007, he rejoined the Northgate outfit and Smith believes he is an example of what the club wants to achieve.

“He is a player who came to our training sessions and events while he was still at school, who showed some promise, took some advice and went to the US to study and returned to use what he has learned to benefit his local team,” he said. “He can be an inspiration to other locally born youngsters, who can see that with hard work and commitment, they too could find success with their club.”

Lions confirm temporary switch

Milton Keynes Lions have confirmed they will play their first three home games at Stoke Mandeville this season.

The BBL outfit have been left homeless by their ejection from Centre:MK, putting their place in the league into doubt. However club owner Vince Macaulay is looking for a new base for the team, and will initially using the Buckinghamshire venue which is better known for being the national centre for wheelchair sport.

“We had to plan ahead and that is what we have done,” commented Macaulay. “We are still deep in negotiations about acquiring a facility that will be our home but mindful of the season starting in late September we have acted. Our home games against the Leicester Riders, Mersey Tigers and Essex Pirates will all take place at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium.”

The Lions hope to have their own venue up and running by November while they await the completion of the Milton Keynes Arena, which has now been delayed by over 12 months.

Betts accepts Riders role

Veteran Great Britain international Andy Betts has accepted a new role as Sporting Ambassador for Leicester Riders.

The much-travelled centre will help promote the BBL club where he began his career, as well as the sport of basketball in the area.

“Basically I’m going to do whatever I can to help the Riders promote the development of basketball in the area,” said Betts. “I owe a whole lot of thanks to the Riders for what they did for me. I started at a great club and it really helped me.

“I’m lucky to have started off at the Riders, so I wanted to give back in some way. They are doing a lot of good things right now, both off the court in the community and on it with the team, so I’m happy to get involved.”

The 7’1″ centre from Ibstock had a meteoric rise in the game after being spotted during a half-time shoot around at a Riders game in 1992.

“I remember the first game I came to at Granby Halls when I was about 15 and I thought the experience was amazing,” he recalled.

“I don’t know if it was that game or the next one, but I was just shooting at half-time and Dick Barrett and Pete Flanaghan, who were coaching the junior team at the time, spotted me and I became part of the club. I think within a year I was playing for the Riders, it was amazing how quickly it all happened.”

Betts was drafted into the NBA by the Charlotte Hornets but never made the move to the Stateside league.

However in 1999, he became the first British player to participate in the Final Four of the Euroleague with Teamsystem Bologna and has since gone on to play in Europe’s top leagues including in Spain and Greece, where he featured for Aris last year.

“Andy is one of the leading British basketball players,” said Riders general manager Russell Levenston. “He’s an ideal role model for young kids in Leicestershire, both in promoting a healthy lifestyle and aspiring to sporting excellence.”

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