Basketball: Gonda walks out on Derby

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The Independent Online
The depression over Derby Storm is reaching cyclonic proportions. Mike Gonda, the team's leading three-point shooter, walked out on the Budweiser League club this week to rejoin his wife and take a job in America, writes Richard Taylor.

Gonda's desertion follows the hurried early season transatlantic departure of another leading American, Rod Gregoire.

Derbyshire police have issued a warrant for his arrest after Gregoire failed to appear in court last week to answer charges of assault and driving offences. Gregoire is believed to be in the vicinity of New Orleans.

Tim Lascelles, the English stalwart whose three-point shooting should make him an automatic alternative to Gonda, faced disciplinary action from the club after walking straight off court to the dressing-room when he was substituted at Leicester City Riders last week.

The coach, Jeff Jones, also has to fight a ban from next week's fixture against Crystal Palace, for comments alleged to have been made to game officials after Derby's defeat against Chester Jets as he handed them a video of the match.

Gonda, who qualified as English after being born at USAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, shocked Jones with his decision. "We lost narrowly at Thames Valley in the Cup and at Leicester in the Trophy and looked like we were getting back on track. Then this.

"It seems every time we start getting it together, something else smacks us in the face."

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