Basketball: Ban another worry for Bears coach

Brighton bears' coach Nick Nurse, already feeling edgy about tonight's BBL Trophy trip to Devon to face National League Plymouth Raiders, was handed an extra worry yesterday when England Basketball banned him from the game.

Nurse is suspended after being ejected during the defeat at unbeaten BBL leaders Sheffield Sharks last month, so his assistant, Graham Wilson, will take over after already coaching the Bears to one defeat this season. Nurse missed the game against Thames Valley earlier this month, due to family illness, and the Tigers won 112-100. Nurse said: "I don't know too much about the Raiders but I know they'll be fired up to play the Bears. Obviously I've had other things on my mind."

Apart from his pending suspension, Nurse was preoccupied with preparations for Tuesday's opening ULEB Cup group game with former European champions Croatia Split, and he's concerned how his players will react after their single-point overtime defeat. "I think it will be difficult for our guys to play Split one game and the next game go on the road to a team from a lower division. But you can't mentally be unprepared or they will beat you up on their own floor."

Another National League club, Teesside Mohawks, face BBL opposition when they travel to Glasgow tomorrow to play Scottish Rocks. Rocks' coach Steve Swanson is equally wary. "They've won so many titles in recent years and they've beaten BBL teams before, so we certainly don't look at this as easy."

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