BASKETBALL : Deveaux heightens expectations

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The Independent Online
A number of Budweiser League clubs were involved in the rush to snap up new signings on yesterday's transfer deadline.

Leopards took the chance to strengthen their squad, signing the 6ft 5in Bahamian forward, DeCarlo Deveaux, from the University of Tampa.

Deveaux, who replaces the 7ft centre, Henri Abrams, for the London Arena-based side, averaged 26 points in his senior year and finished as Tampa's all-time leading scorer.

"I think DeCarlo will add to our team," Billy Mims, the Leopards coach, said. "He brings us the inside and outside scoring abilities we need.

"We're trying to change our style. We liked the running style we were playing earlier in the year but have not been able to play that lately, partly because some teams have shut us down inside. We needed some more offensive firepower from the perimeter."

Hemel Royals have moved to cover the departure of the Nigerian international, Solomon Ayinla, by recruiting the Canadian, Gord Wood, from Sunderland Scorpions. The 6ft 9in centre began the season in Scorpions' line-up but had to make way for the Serbian,Dejan Puzic.

The Royals coach, Vince Macauley Razaq, was delighted with his new signing, saying: "At the moment we do not have any presence inside, and get out-rebounded by other teams. Gord will address that - if he can come in and give us 10 points and 10 rebounds a game it will help a great deal."

Doncaster Panthers have added another scoring threat to their side by signing the 6ft 4in former Oldham and Derby Bucks guard, Steve Merifield.

Merifield was with Panthers from 1990-92 during their spell in the National League. He was a member of last season's North All-Star team and joined Derby at the start of the current campaign before being released a fortnight ago.

"I'm expecting big things from Steve," the Panthers coach, Mark Harvey, said. "He should give our offence an extra boost."

Derby Bucks have signed the promising point guard, Dylan Bogg, from Leicester City Riders. Bogg is a product of Leicester's junior development programme and joins a Derby backcourt which includes the former England international, Mike Landell, and the close-season find Mike Gonda.

Leicester will add the 6ft 5in forward Darren Weaver, who rejoins after spending the last two seasons with National League Nottingham, to their squad.

Charles Barkley scored 20 points, including the clinching basket with just over a minute left, as the visiting Phoenix Suns beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 89-82 in the National Basketball Association yesterday.

The win was the Suns' 13th victory in 15 games. Terrell Brandon, who missed the previous four games with a sprained wrist, led the Cavaliers with 20 points.