Basketball: Saunders arrives to boost Palace quest

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The Independent Online
CRYSTAL PALACE, who once dominated the English scene in the way that Guildford Kings do now, have emphasised their determination to rejoin the First Division of the Carlsberg League by signing the American guard, Russ Saunders.

Saunders was Guildford's leading scorer last season, but has been replaced by Derek Thompkins at the League, Cup, Play-off and NatWest Trophy winners.

John Cutts, a Crystal Palace official, said: 'We wanted to complete our rebuilding and concentrate on getting out of Division Two as soon as possible.' Between 1976 and 1982 Palace won six First Division titles, six Play- offs and two National Cups. They dropped out of the League two years ago but returned last season to win the Third Division.

Saunders is sometimes referred to as basketball's 'Mastermind', a reference to his ability to score a lot of points and not give up any passes. At Palace he will link with another American who once had a similar reputation, Renaldo Lawrence.

It is a combination which would not interest many First Division coaches, but in the Second Division the pair will be hard to stop. The level of defence is not so intense and if one of them is kept quiet, the other will profit.