Basketball: Tigers add more bite: European campaign starts

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The Independent Online
THAMES Valley Tigers and Manchester Giants will launch England's foray into Europe tonight, 10 days before the domestic season opens with the Budweiser League campaign.

Steve Bucknall, the England and Great Britain international who had a three-month spell in the United States with the Los Angeles Lakers, is the recruiting coup of the summer for Thames Valley Tigers, who play the Dutch champions, Weert, in the first round of the European Clubs' Championship at Bracknell.

Manchester Giants' first leg, first round tie is away to the Portuguese club Anadia in the preliminary round of the Korac Cup. Both return legs are next week.

Bucknall returns to England after three years playing in Germany and France. His arrival caps a successful summer for the Budweiser League champions' coach, Mick Bett.

Neville Austin, a 6ft 11in Englishman who was raised in the United States and has played for the past three seasons in South America, adds the height the team will need for a European campaign. Bett has also signed Steve Nelson from the League runners- up Worthing. The returning power-forward Tony Holley is partnered by another new American Hal Henderson, who wii replace Nigel Lloyd.

Weert surprisingly became the Dutch champions by winning the play-offs after finishing only fourth in the League.