DONNIE JOHNSON, a 6ft 7in American forward due to sign for Leicester Riders last season, will finally make his debut against Birmingham Bullets on Saturday after replacing Jamal Faulkner at the Loughborough University-based club.
Johnson played for London Towers and Newcastle Eagles after graduating from Utah State University in 1999 and trained with Riders in the summer of 2001 before returning to America for personal reasons.
The Riders coach, Billy Mims, has failed to build on the double of National Cup and Play-Off Championships in 2001 and hopes Johnson will belatedly kick-start his season.
Leicester have won only two games out of five and are already out of the BBL Trophy and National Cup, having lost to the NBL Conference club Teesside Mohawks.
"Our chemistry has not been right since the pre-season trip to Sweden," Mims said. "I hoped it would get better but it hasn't. We've got some big guys but our athleticism inside has not been good enough."