Love unhappy with late BBL rule change
MARJON Plymouth Raiders boss Gavin Love is angry new BBL rules have blocked his bid re-sign big-man Tomas Janusauskas.
Love had intended to retain the 7ft Lithuanian this season, but new league rules sprung upon clubs out of the blue have scuppered that plan.
In 2012/13, with a firm nod to the London Olympics and promoting the development of British talent, BBL teams can only recruit five non-British players.
Last season that number was unlimited, but Raiders have now filled their new non-British quota with Americans Jeremy Bell, Drew Lasker, Javarris Barnett and Matt Schneck, and Irishman Colin O'Reilly.
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Love had wanted to retain Janusauskas, 27, who last season averaged 2.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in eight minutes per game off Raiders' bench, anyway.
But with a serious knee problem to starting power-forward Anthony Rowe coming to light, ruling him out for the first six-eight weeks of the new season at least, Janusauskas' return would have been ideal.
Love is now having to weigh up a short-term move for British centre Phil Wait, 25.
Trialist Wait may play in Raiders' opening pre-season friendly against Team USA Select at the Pavilions tomorrow (7.30pm).
Love, angered because he was unaware of the issue when he started recruiting at the start of the off-season, said: "To not have Tomas back is a huge blow to the team.
"It makes it worse because Tomas himself wants to play – that's why he moved here.
"To not be able to play, through no fault of his own or ours, is a very tough thing put upon him and us."
Love added: "It's a shame now to see Tomas go, but there's not a lot we can do because we have no room for any more European players."
Janusauskas increasingly came into his own last season as injuries took their toll on Raiders' overstretched roster fighting hard for BBL titles on all four fronts.
Janusauskas' court-time was limited in the first half of 2011/12 because of a quality log-jam of talent at his spots, power-forward and centre.
"We had Anthony Rowe, we had Lehmon Colbert, we had Paul Williams and we had Jamal Williams. We had so many," said Love.
"He would've had a bigger role last season had we not had so many guys in those positions.
"This year, Tomas would've been a vital part of the team.
"He, without question, would have played more for us this year.
"He improved all the time last season. He's super committed and moved himself and his wife down to Plymouth."
RAIDERS' opening game of the new BBL season has been delayed eight days until Sunday, September 30 when London Lions visit the Pavilions in the league (4pm).
Raiders had been due to tip-off at Leicester Riders on September 22, but Riders have now moved the contest right back to March 17 because they have not got an available venue.
It is believed behind the scenes, Raiders, planning to start on September 22 for months, are upset by the postponement.
NEW BBL club East London Royals have withdrawn from the league without playing a game.
BBL spokesman Andy Webb said: "We are extremely disappointed to lose East London, but we could not be confident of them completing the season and that was simply not an option."
Raiders had been drawn at home to Royals in the BBL Cup first round on October 13. They are now set to have a bye to the competition's quarter-finals.
In the league Raiders were scheduled to visit Royals on October 26 and January 11, and entertain Royals on March 3.