BASKETBALL: Whyte wins deal with Newcastle

Click to follow
The Independent Online
IAN WHYTE, England's 7ft 2in centre, has extended his stopgap role with Newcastle Eagles until the end of the season after impressing the club's coach, Craig Lynch, with his performances for the Budweiser League club.

Lynch initially signed Whyte four weeks ago, when he was released by the Greek club Larissa, to fill the not inconsiderable gap caused by 6ft 10in Scott Wilkie's broken arm.

However, Whyte's performances have been a consistent factor in Newcastle's wavering form, averaging seven rebounds and four blocks in five outings to earn him a job at least until the end of the season.

Wilkie returned from injury at the weekend when Newcastle lost 88-81 at home to Derby Storm in the league and then by 73-65 at Birmingham Bullets in a League Trophy group game.

Instead, another recent signing, 6ft 10in Chris Webber, makes way for Wilkie's return and has been released on a temporary contract to the National League club Plymouth Raiders.

Whyte is the third international player to return to England after starting the season on the Continent.

Karl Brown (of the Leicester City Riders), Mark Considine (Birmingham) and now Whyte have all committed to their clubs until the end of the season.

That bucks the trend when players often take the first opportunity to return to the continent as soon as their agents locate a more lucrative position.