December 10 2013 Latest news:
By James Cunliffe
Thursday, October 24, 2013
London Lions boss Vince Macaulay is hopeful that he will be able to unveil his trio of American imports during this weekend’s Copper Box double-header against Plymouth Raiders and Glasgow Rocks after being given an A-rated sponsorship licence.
Now all that is delaying the debuts of Nick Freer, Kramer Knutson and Ben Smith is visa approval to work in the UK.
The capital club have played four British Basketball League Championship games this term, minus the summer signings while their applications went back and forth with the Home Office.
A sponsorship licence, the first stage of the process, was granted at the end of last week and there are now just a few visa hoops to jump through.
“Now that we have a licence, we’ve still got to get their visas from New York, which is what we are trying to expedite at the moment,” Macaulay said.
“The visas are now being rushed through and the guys are waiting to get stamped and fly in, so I’m hopeful.”
Should that happen by Friday’s visit of Plymouth (tip-off 7.30pm) or Sunday’s game against Glasgow Rocks (4pm) it will be a huge boost as the Lions look to get back on a winning run following back-to-back defeats against Durham Wildcats and Worcester Wolves.
In the meantime, their preparations have been enhanced by the continued presence of short-term signing Matthew Bryan-Amaning – something that even Macaulay is surprised at as he feared Europe’s big club would tempt him away.
“Matthew is still here so as long as he doesn’t get a job in the next few days he’ll be able to play as well,” Macaulay said.
“Having Matthew will be a huge boost. I thought he’d have been gone by now.
“There have been a few things [enquiries about his services] but nothing that has interested him. It must be nice to be in that position.
“I think he will only move if it’s a really big club with guaranteed income for the season. He won’t go somewhere if they decide they are not going to keep him.
“Hopefully, with a fair wind behind us, we’ll have all four [signings] for Friday.”
Bryan-Amaning made his BBL debut a fortnight ago, impressing with a top score of 15 points, despite the 63-62 overtime defeat to Worcester.
“If he takes to the court [on Friday] he’ll be fully up to speed with what we are doing. He’s been at the video sessions and working hard in training.
“He’s been like any of our regular guys and that’s been really positive for us. The guys have really appreciated that, as have we on the coaching staff.
“It’s really “For me, personally, I just expect him to fit in very much so with what we are doing.”
Lions have already beaten Friday’s opponents Raiders in Devon and the fixture schedule has afforded them an extended two week break between games in order to prepare.
Macaulay said: “We all wanted to get back into playing but actually, what it has done, is just allowed us to look at how we are implementing things and really make those connections, but obviously we are very keen to get back on the floor.”
• For a preview of the Plymouth Raiders game return here on Friday, October 25 and for a preview of the Glasgow Rocks game return here on Sunday, October 27.