Basketball: Peers leads Towers on first return visit to Jets

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The Independent Online

Robbie Peers can expect a warm reception tonight on his return to the Northgate Arena on the first weekend of the British Basketball League's 17th season when the 39-year-old coach leads London Towers against Chester Jets.

Peers left Chester in the summer after bringing them unprecedented success with six titles in five seasons and has an embarrassment of riches compared with the Jets after their new American playmaker, Rod Brown, quit on Thursday.

Brown was rumoured to be heading for the Towers, but yesterday Peers completed his line-up by signing the French passport-holding American Maurice Newby, who played for Kaiserslautern last season, his third German club.

Brown's sudden departure left the Jets' coach, Paul Smith, Peers' former assistant, trying to fill the gap. The former Scottish Rocks guard Ryan Huntley is among the possibilities.

The Jets appear under-manned to prevent Peers from enjoying his return to Northgate. "It was a special time for me and there are some special people at Chester," he said. "I've a lot of great memories." Peers has taken on a big task at serial under-achievers Towers - he is their seventh coach in the last seven seasons - but has assembled a strong-looking line-up. Only Robert Youngblood returns, while Peers has signed Emiko Etete, Ralph Blalock and Sterling Davis from Brighton Bears and added the Americans Ricardo Greer and the 6ft9in John Whorton.

The Rocks made four signings prior to their opening weekend fixture, against Leicester Riders at home tomorrow. The American David Cruise, Jeff Masudi of Belgium and the Scots Josh Tackie and Ross Campbell were added to their bench.

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