Basketball: Edinburgh Kings boosted by Mackay return

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EDINBURGH KINGS may have lost three of their first five games in the Scottish Basketball League men’s first division but they are far from out of the title race especially now they have signed their former junior Ali Mackay.

The 6ft 11in centre could have a considerable influence on the outcome of several key matches, notably Kings’ home game tomorrow against unbeaten Edinburgh University at Portobello HS (11.00am).

“We’re a work in progress,” says Kings coach Doug Reilly, who was disappointed not to hold St Mirren in the Scottish Cup last weekend.

With Mackay joining 6ft 6in student Cameron O’Donnell under the boards, Paddy Campbell joining Craig Reilly in a lively back-court combo and Garreth Lodge finding gaps with his drives to the basket, Kings have a more than useful starting five.

EU, who have only played two league games so far, will play two more over this weekend and will be keeping fingers crossed that their tallest player, Jac St John, can again make it north from London.

The Capital students have another local derby on Sunday at the Pleasance (12.50pm) against Boroughmuir Blaze, who share top spot with Glasgow University, both teams unbeaten in four league outings.

Eoghan Dover hit a barrowload of three-pointers for Blaze in a 33-point haul against Tayside in the Cup last Saturday and will have a chance of some further practice at the Crags tomorrow when the Muskies return for a league game (1.20pm). But it would be surprising if EU did not have some ploys on Sunday to curb Dover and Lithuanian forward Tomas Cicenas.

Meanwhile, back to the Edinburgh University team comes American graduate Chris Evans, such a dynamic force last season.

EU women, who host Glasgow Rocks at the Pleasance tomorrow (1.20pm), are celebrating a splendid midweek victory over Loughborough in BUCS Northern Premier Division which suggests they must have a great chance of achieving their target of a top three place.

Edinburgh Kool Kats open the Scottish League feast with a home game against St Andrews University at Portobello tonight (8pm) then Polonia Phoenix face the Fife visitors at Holyrood HS tomorrow (3.15pm).