Leicester Riders have signed Phil Missere on a short-term deal after agreeing to release forward Anthony Simpson from his contract to allow him to take up a lucrative offer in South Korea.

Simpson averaged 15 points and 11 rebounds in his eight games with the Riders, including posting a double-double in five of his outings.

“It is a blow,” admitted coach Rob Paternostro. “When we brought Anthony in, we were excited about what he brought to the team and he certainly has shown flashes of that early on. I always felt if he stayed here for the full season he was going to get better and better and better.”

Missere’s addition will also help fill the void left by injured centre Andrew Bennett, whose knee problem has sidelined him since pre-season. The injury is worse than originally thought and this week he has flown to America for an operation and is not expected to get back to full fitness until the New Year.

The newcomer led the BBL in rebounding, blocked shots and field goal percentage in 2008-09,  also chipping in with 13.5 points per game.

“To get a guy like Phil is a massive bonus for us,” admitted Paternostro. “It won’t take him long to get acclimated to us, our system or the league because he has been here before and because he is a highly intelligent basketball player.”

Raiders on their Marks

Plymouth Raiders have signed American-born shooting guard Chez Marks. The former Cheshire Jets star, who averaged 18.9 points last season at the Northgate outfit, replaces Brian McKenzie, who has been released by the strugglers.

“Chez has a huge amount of experience and made a big difference to Cheshire last season,” said Raiders coach Gavin Love.

“We’re getting a proven player, who will turn in consistently good performances and give us another scorer and shooter who defences can’t afford to ignore.”

McKenzie, a rookie out of Providence College, averaged 7 points and 5.3 rebounds in 23 minutes per game during his short stint in Plymouth.

“Brian himself will tell you that his performances just weren’t consistent enough to justify us keeping him, especially when players of the calibre of Chez are still available,” Love claimed. “I’ve promised to help Brian try and find a new team, and would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the very best with the rest of the season.”

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