Basketball: Perry gives Leopards extra bite

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Makeeba Perry stands out among this season's Budweiser League personnel, not only because of his 6ft 10in, 16st-plus frame. Among the swarm of Americans from lower grade and more obscure colleges, a man with Tulane University on his CV has undoubted pedigree.

And Perry's credentials are now even more impressive, although his coach at Greater London Leopards, Billy Mims, remains incredulous that Manchester Giants released him at the end of last season.

In the first leg of their Uni-ball League Trophy against Sheffield Sharks at Ponds Forge tonight, Perry has the added incentive of confronting John Amaechi, the only Englishman to have started an NBA game.

Mims denies Perry needs an extra push. "Mak plays as hard every game. We won the league last season despite three weaknesses. Tim Davis worked hard at centre but he didn't block shots, wasn't quick up the floor and we weren't a great rebounding outfit. By signing Mak we turned three weaknesses into three strengths."

Perry is the league's second highest shot blocker averaging two per game, one place ahead of Amaechi, is the second highest rebounder and can make the length of the court in six strides.

- Richard Taylor

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