It is good luck for Omar Sneed and Tony Kitt that they were the last two Americans through the locker-room door at Crystal Palace this week, as their arrival at London Towers means that the new coach, Robbie Peers, has used his entire allocation of work permits only two weeks into the British Basketball League season.
Sneed and Kitt replace Sterling Davis and John Wharton, who were axed earlier this week after Towers extended their losing start to three games, one short of their worst-ever.
Peers said of Kitt and Sneed: "They are two strong players with good experience from playing in European leagues. I think they will suit the BBL well." Peers is used to winning after taking Chester Jets to six titles in five years, but said much the same after signing Maurice Newby, then ditched him two games later. He also used work permits on Ed Gray and Brenton Birmingham, who did not survive the close season. By their standards, Ricardo Greer, signed in August, is a long-term survivor at the Towers and Peers is now stuck with him, Sneed and Kitt as his American line-up for the rest of the season.
Sneed and Kitt could hardly face a tougher debut than at home to Brighton Bears tonight at the National Sports Centre. The unbeaten Bears will not want to lose ground to joint leaders Sheffield Sharks, who are odds-on to pick up maximum points at home to Birmingham Bullets tonight and at under-strength Scottish Rocks tomorrow.
The changes at Towers mean Davis will not play against his former club, but two other former Bears, Ralph Blalock and Emiko Etete, are in the London line-up.
The Bears' coach, Nick Nurse, observed: "A wounded animal fights the hardest - and they are definitely wounded."