Basketball: Pair of Bucks on display

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The Independent Online
THE new season has brought a fresh body into the firing line for the second phase of England's European Championship qualifying games next month and probably revitalised the international career of another player.

Kurt Samuels and Mike Landell play for the same club, Derby Bucks, and are on show in tonight's Carlsberg League Division One game at Stentofon Worthing Bears.

The Wolverhampton-born Samuels returned to England last month after completing his American college career at the University of North Carolina at Ashville, not to be confused with Michael Jordan's Alma Mater at Chapel Hill, the home of coach Dean Smith's legendary 'Tar Heels'.

Landell was squeezed out of the line-up at Leicester City Riders last season, where there was already intense competition at guard between England's Karl Brown, now at Guildford, and the ball-hugging American Gene Waldron.

Derby, having released Steve Nelson to Worthing, needed extra support in the back court for Tim Lascelles and Andy Maher. Landell, who played six times for England, is also a strong outside shooter, a quality which the 6ft 4in Samuels can similarly add to the Bucks and England.

After last season's first three games in their European Championship group, home victories over Denmark and Bulgaria followed a three-point away defeat to the then-CIS to leave coach Kevin Cadle's squad top of their group.

The return schedule begins on Wednesday 11 November at the

G-Mex Centre in Manchester when Russia adopt the mantle of the now fragmented CIS to face England.

If England win by more than three points and then defeat Denmark in Aarhus on the Saturday, they will be sure of a place in next year's finals regardless of the game against Bulgaria in Jambol the following Wednesday.