Basketball: Giants snap up Brandon from Sharks

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The Independent Online
Manchester Giants finally got their man yesterday, when they bought out the final two years of Jim Brandon's contract with their Budweiser League rivals, Sheffield Sharks, and lured the 38-year-old American coach across the Pennines.

Sheffield's general manager, Yuri Matischen, said: "We would have preferred Jim to stay, but he's been on Giants' hit list for 18 months. "

Whelton, the former Manchester United and Great Britain coach, has returned to the Continent after his unsuccessful season in Manchester to join Germany's SSV Hagen. Sheffield finished third in the league last season and eliminated Manchester in the play-off quarter finals.

Matischen said: "It's a good move for Jim and for us. Giants have made a financial consideration in respect of the two years left on his contract. Maybe the time is right for the split. The team didn't come up to scratch last season and a new coach can bring in changes."

Sharks name a new coach today, whose first disappointment will probably be losing England international Roger Huggins to a Continental club.

Brandon played in Manchester in 1988 and still owns property in the city. "I have always considered Manchester home," he said yesterday.

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