McKinney ready to shoot down Comets

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The Independent Online
Basketball

DUNCAN HOOPER

Ian McKinney's first two shots as an international this week were three- pointers and steered England to a 76-74 win in Denmark on Wednesday night. Tomorrow he turns his sights on Newcastle Comets as the Budweiser league champions, Sheffield Sharks, try to stay in touch with the leaders, London Towers.

Frustratingly for England's coach, Laszlo Nemeth, McKinney cannot help solve the national team's long-range shooting weakness when they line up against Russia in this season's fifth and final European Championship semi-final round game in Moscow next month.

McKinney is ineligible, not having been in the original list of 22 players named at the start of the season, and was called up for the Danish trip at the last minute, to replace Birmingham's Stedroy Baker.

Tomorrow, McKinney plays alongside England colleague Roger Huggins, who won the Budweiser player of the month award for December for his role in Sheffield's 5-1 run during the month. Huggins averaged 19 points and nine rebounds, shooting 53 per cent from the field.

London Towers' Kevin Cadle won the coach of the month award after his club's seven-win unbroken run during December, part of a current 10-0 streak.

Tonight, London are away to Worthing Bears in a rehearsal for next Saturday's League Trophy final at Birmingham. Worthing have problems with their Americans: Derick Plair has an injured tendon while Steve Paci's form has put his position under threat.

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