Basketball: Donald Sampley to deliver a bid for Edinburgh franchise

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AMERICAN promoter Donald Sampley has announced that he has delivered a bid for an Edinburgh franchise to the British Basketball League.

If the bid is approved – and it is still under scrutiny – a pro team could be back in the city as early as next autumn.

It is an exciting development despite rumours of a rival British league being started by the former NBA player John Amaechi, and the BBL looks healthier than it has done for some time with as many as three other bids on the table for season 2013-14. These are from Bristol, London East and Birmingham.

Confirming the news that he has delivered his bid for an Edinburgh team to be based at Meadowbank, Sampley, who has Americans backers and has been in discussions with both BasketballScotland and Meadowbank Sports Centre, said yesterday: “I want this to be an all-Scottish team and I’ll work with the players and structure training so that they can continue with their careers and still play for the club.”

Sampley’s marketing manager is already in Scotland and Sampley hopes to follow him here soon.

The St Louis-based Sampley also hopes to open talks with City of Edinburgh Basketball Club as soon as possible, and following the success of the Kings in last weekend’s BBL Trophy match against the Glasgow Rocks that cannot come soon enough.

As they demonstrated in more than holding their own for much of the game versus the Rocks before going down 72-61, Kings certainly have players capable of playing at a higher level. But, up until now, they have insisted they are an “amateur team” with no interest in playing at a higher level.

If, however, an arrangement could be made whereby a player such as Lee Reilly could both play for the new BBL club and still retain his Kings membership then that might interest him and the club.

There may also be lessons to be learned on how to promote home games 
after the Kings drew a full house of 500 fans to last Saturday’s promotion.