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PERTEMPS Bullets' coach, Lance Randall, had to fight a 'whirlwind of emotions' after the terrorist attacks in his homeland to concentrate on completing the line-up for this season's team.

Randall, whose players open the BBL campaign against Leicester Riders at Aston Villa on Thursday week, watched the events unfold on TV at the club office.

'My feelings? Surprise and shock, anger and disgust, and now the unknown. Who knows what comes next? It was just a whirlwind of emotions,' he said.

'Basketball is my job and my passion but, sure, it seems trivial now.'

Randall thought of returning, but said: 'I am not sure what I could have done.


'I decided the situation would be best served for everyone by staying, although I hope to raise money for the various appeals.'

Randall's team-building was disrupted when he lost former London Towers' American centre Kendrick Warren, after the 6ft 8in forward had signed.

'We signed him, then his agent changed the contract. As a coach I just wanted him in. But I don't see that Craig (Bullets' owner Craig Bown) could have been fairer in his dealings with them.'

Randall has re-signed Brant Bailey, Emiko Etete and Danny Craven, and Rob Paternostro is currently on a month contract. Shawn Jamison has also rejoined the club after playing at Wembley two seasons ago.

Randall is very excited about two new signings, American guard Ben Walker and an Englishman, Sammy Salter. He also signed 18-year-old Mark Lane, another Englishman who has been living in Canada.

'Sammy has been doing a great job for us pre-season and I am really excited about Ben. He could be the best rookie in the League this season.'

Point guard Walker also led the team's rebounding in the friendly win over Manchester Giants last week.

But Randall doesn't want to see that repeated too often.

'Ben took 10 boards but Shawn and Danny shared 10 between them and that's not good enough,' he said. 'By not signing Kendrick we've lost 10 rebounds per game, plus we lost Antonio Garcia, the league's leading rebounder last season. That's my main area of concern.'

Randall is looking at more players this week, one of whom arrived from France yesterday while the other was due to arrive from Venezuela.

Bullets' staff headed for Lithuania this weekend to finalise the schedule for the North European Basketball League fixtures beginning next month, still hoping to clinch an NIA date for the visit of Great Danes of Denmark.

The big draw is former LA Laker and Olympic gold medallist Magic Johnson, part-owner of the Great Danes, who have promised he will definitely play against Bullets.


PASSIONATE... Lance Randall is concentrating on the team
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Title Annotation:Basketball
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Sep 16, 2001

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