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Late rule change means Raiders cannot re-sign Janusauskas

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 12, 2012

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Marjon Plymouth Raiders coach Gavin Love is angry new BBL rules have blocked his bid re-sign 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 to promoting the development of British talent, BBL teams can only recruit five non-British players.

Last season that number was unlimited, but the Raiders have now filled their new non-British quota for this term with Americans Jeremy Bell, Drew Lasker, Javarris Barnett and Matt Schneck, plus Irishman Colin O'Reilly.

Love had wanted to retain Janusauskas, 27, who last season averaged 2.4 points and 2.9 rebounds in eight minutes per game off the Raiders' bench, anyway.

However, with a serious knee problem to starting power-forward Anthony Rowe coming to light, ruling him out for the first six to eight weeks of the new season, the Lithuanian's return would have been ideal.

Love is now having to weigh up a short-term move for trialist centre Phil Wait, 25, who may play in Raiders' opening pre-season friendly against Team USA Select at the Pavilions tonight (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.

"This year, Tomas would have 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."

The 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).

The Raiders had been due to tip-off at Leicester Riders on September 22, but the Riders have now moved the contest right back to March 17 because they do not have an available venue.

It is believed that behind the scenes, the Raiders, planning to start on September 22 for months, are upset by the postponement.

East London Royals have withdrawn from the BBL without playing a game. The Raiders, who had been drawn at home to the Royals in the BBL Cup first round on October 13, are set for a bye to the quarter-finals. In the league, the Raiders were scheduled to visit the Royals on October 26 and January 11, and entertain them on March 3.

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