Basketball: Tough job for Darling

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The Independent Online
LEICESTER CITY Riders' success-starved fans will hope for nothing less than a major overhaul of the team from their new coach, Tim Darling, who joins the Budweiser League club for the season beginning in September.

Last season Leicester finished a lowest-ever 12th, after their rookie coach, Dave Harris, was exposed by a lack of support from the players as much as by his own inexperience.

Darling, a 43-year-old Canadian who successfully coached the Hong Kong national team, should aim to keep the gutsy young Englishmen Marc Hawley and Hilroy Thomas. But fans deserve to see Gene Waldron, JaRon Boone and Billy Singleton replaced by new blood, while Darling's north American contacts should bring better quality foreigners than last season's lacklustre recruits.

Kevin Routledge, the Leicester director, certainly has more reason to be upbeat than when releasing Harris, a former England international, last month.

Routledge said: "I felt Dave was let down by a number of the players. When things were difficult they failed to pull together. Tim is used to success. He's been a winner wherever he has coached and we are looking for him to continue that success with the Riders."

Last year Darling led Hong Kong to their best finish in the Asian Championships, and the previous season led Manitoba's Brandon University to their Conference championship.

The multi-millionaire businessman, Craig Bown, is the new owner of Birmingham Bullets, while Milton Keynes Lions are searching for a coach to replace Andre Alleyne.