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Randall's selection headache.

Byline: RICHARD TAYLOR

PERTEMPS Bullets' Lance Randall left for a coaching conference in his native Wisconsin this weekend with doubts still shrouding his line-up for the BBL campaign, which began with Thursday night's emphatic 87-63 victory over double champions Leicester Riders.

Shawn Jamison was injured and watched the game from the bench - and the 6ft 8in American may have to stay there once Randall has decided which of his four work permit players is cut for the domestic campaign.

Jamison, who played in Bullets' 1999 Championship winning team, is in the permit category with fellow Americans Brant Bailey, Ben Walker and Rashod Johnson, who arrives this week.

The BBL allow the clubs only three work permit players, with two non-English players who do not require work permits - and those slots are filled on the Bullets roster by Irish-American John O'Connell and Italian American Rob Paternostro.

Bullets' owner Craig Bown said: 'Lance is considering the options,' then joked ... 'I'm sure he'll let us know when he's made his mind up.'

Randall, who returns on Tuesday, could immediately cut one of his work permit quartet ahead of Saturday's visit to Derby Storm, or register three players with the option of trying a different combination for subsequent games.

But clubs are allowed to register a total of only eight non-English players during a season. As BBL chairman Kevin Routledge explained: 'The rule is to stop clubs constantly chopping and changing their imports during a season.

'If a club registers too many players early on then hits injury problems later in the season, they could have used up the option of bringing in a replacement.'

Randall's third option is to register three for the BBL and use the fourth in the North European Basketball League, in which Bullets open their campaign against Weissenfels of Germany on Tuesday week at Aston Villa Leisure Centre.

Although Bullets have to fit their domestic squad under the salary cap, League chief executive Mike Smith confirmed: 'If a player is used only in European games he does not have to fit under the salary cap.' Jamison was injured in the pre-season friendly against Newcastle Eagles and watched the win over Leicester from the bench as Irish international O'Connell starred.

nRiders recovered from Thursday's mauling by beating Brighton Bears 83-80 last night, once 26-point Ralph Blalock took control in the fourth quarter, but Derby Storm opened their campaign with a 97-70 home defeat to Chester Jets.

Riders looked under-sized and under-prepared and O*Connell will have to work harder for his numbers against bigger line-ups. But with spring-heeled guard Walker adding another 10 rebounds in a 52-boards team performance, the squad looked capable of answering Randall's demand that 'we will have to rebound by committee this season - it's not a job for just the big men.'

Jamison is left wondering if he is still on the committee.

nRiders recovered from Thursday's mauling by beating Brighton Bears 83-80 last night, once 26-point Ralph Blalock took control in the fourth quarter, but Derby Storm opened their campaign with a 97-70 home defeat to Chester Jets.

CAPTION(S):

UNCERTAIN... Shawn Jamison
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Title Annotation:Basketball
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Sep 30, 2001
Words:518
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