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Basketball: Panthers face up to Brum legends; BBL: Lloyd reveals ex-stars still worry about troubles of city franchise SPORTS ROUND-UP.

Byline: By Colin Tattum

THE GOODWILL towards Birmingham's premier basketball franchise is alive and well around the BBL.

And former Birmingham Bullets stars are pained to see what's happening to Birmingham Panthers.

Two Bullets legends take on Panthers in the next five days - Tony Dorsey's Guildford Heat tomorrow and Newcastle Eagles, coached by Fabulous Flournoy, on Friday (both away).

Nigel Lloyd, Panthers' coach and an oncourt mentor to the pair during Bullets' glory days, was keen to bring both back to the city.

"These two guys, Dorsey and Fab, I speak to three or four times a week," said Lloyd.

"The first thing they always talk about is their worry for our franchise, our team and what can they do to help our players.

"That's what it means to them. They love this city, here was where they made their mark. They have gone on to bigger and better things but, if everything had been fine here, I would have had these guys back.

They would have come here.

"We could do with a few more of our people to be like that but it's a sad situation at the moment."

Lloyd expects no mercy to be shown to his under-strength team from either, and he wouldn't expect it any other way.

And he praised his roster for not falling into the depths of despair at their lot.

"I feel sorry for our guys," he said. "In basketball, anything can happen. On any given day, you can beat anyone.

"They are young, upbeat and do not have a losing mentality.

"And they just want to play as well. Last weekend Cameron Wright was told not to because of his injury but insisted, and Rob Paternostro was disappointed that I sat him out at the end (against Sheffield Sharks) because of his ankle and it was a chance to give Craig Hopkins a run and get him more seasoned.

"There is a great sense that they are trying their very best whatever the circumstances."

And the Bullets' old-boy network still want what's best.

"Tony Simms brought his Black Country University team down to practise the other night so we could play five-on-five and go through some offences, which we haven't been able to do," revealed Lloyd.

CAPTION(S):

STRUGGLE... Nigel Lloyd has an under-strength squad.; GLORY DAYS... Fabulous Flournoy and Tony Dorsey were both key members of Birmingham Bullets.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Dec 15, 2007
Words:398
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