AJ ruled ineligible for Leopards

Leopards’ promotion hopes have been hit by the decision of Basketball England not to register guard/forward AJ Roberts.
The governing body have ruled that the American is a professional and will not be allowed to play in Division Two, which they class as Amateur.
Roberts had recently received clearance to remain in the UK for at least 30 months, and with a British wife and child he could expect to qualify for a British passport within five years.
“Above all we’re absolutely gutted for AJ” said Leopards’ general manager Dave Ryan. “Despite offers from Division One sides, he’d stuck to his word and was determined to lead us to promotion. I know how upset he is by not being able to do that.
“It seems crazy that he can do everything that a British person can do – expect play in Division Two – and that playing a handful of games in Division One prevents any import player from ever playing in the lower divisions.
“We’re allowed one American but it’s virtually impossible to sign one unless a club is attached to a university. In theory he could sign for a Division One side and end up playing against us – it’s hard to see the fairness of that.
“AJ’s next move is entirely up to him, we’ll completely understand if he finds a Division One club so that he can play this season. Our aim remains to gain an immediate promotion and we hope AJ will be able to re-sign with us next season. He’s an excellent guy to have around and it’s a massive disappointment that he can’t play for us”
Leopards’ coach Thomas Baker was also disappointed that Roberts won’t be able to play for his team this season: “It’s not the news we wanted. AJ is a massive loss, he is an exceptional player and a humble person who just loves to play the game.
“We wish AJ the best in trying to find a new club. We will continue to push forward and grow together as a team and I believe we can still go on and win this league with the guys we have.”