Basketball: Raiders wary of revitalised Bullets

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The Independent Online

The National Cup is out of bounds for title-holders Plymouth Raiders this season after stepping up to the British Basketball League, whose clubs are still barred for having too many non-English players to comply with the eligibility restrictions of the sport's governing body, England Basketball.

The National Cup is out of bounds for title-holders Plymouth Raiders this season after stepping up to the British Basketball League, whose clubs are still barred for having too many non-English players to comply with the eligibility restrictions of the sport's governing body, England Basketball.

Last season the BBL created their own cup competition to compensate for the sudden fixture shortfall and the Raiders face the long haul from Devon to Birmingham to try and oust the Bullets in tonight's first-round tie. The Raiders' coach, Gary Stronach, said: "Bullets will be able to relax during the day while we are on a long coach trip. But we are used to that because Plymouth is a long way from most places." Bullets are better than last season's non-competitive outfit, but coach Charlie Adams did not have a full bench even before 6ft 9in Neil Nesbitt quit last week, which could hand the advantage to Raiders.

Stronach knows his players will have to learn on their feet against the Bullets. He said: "They are slightly unknown because of the three new Americans, all of whom look good."

Bullets' Deginald Erskin is the BBL's fifth highest scorer, but Raiders can counteract that with two rebounders in the top 10, 6ft 8in Terrence Durham and 6ft 10in Gerrick Morris while Bullets do not have any rebounders in the top 20.

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