TCS CHESTER Jets have boosted their BBL title hopes by signing American forward DJ Harrison.
But the move has cost fellow forward Theo Dixon his place in the squad only a couple of months after joining the club.
Head coach Paul Smith described the decision to replace Dixon as 'the toughest since I have been coach at the Jets.'
He said: 'It was very difficult to do because Theo is a nice guy and a good player, but I have to do what I think is best for the club and I believe Harrison to be a better player for the Jets.
'Since the start of the season the players have shown themselves to be dedicated to bringing success to the Jets and I have to be as serious as them. That's why I decided to make the move for Harrison and release Dixon.'
Brother of David Harrison, the Indiana Pacers star, DJ is a 6ft 7ins former graduate of the University of Colorado. He played for Brevard Blue Ducks in the USBL and Las Vegas Rattlers in the ABA and has been playing recently in Ireland's Super League in which he averaged 21 points a game for Mar-dyke UCC Blue Demons.
He arrived in Chester yesterday ready for a BBL baptism of fire tomorrow when Jets travel to the capital to meet unbeaten leaders London Towers.
The game reunites Smith and his Jets' predecessor Robbie Peers who steered the club to a grand slam three years ago. Added Smith: 'We are going through a tough schedule at the moment and this will be a very difficult test for us. Jets and Towers are quick and athletic teams so it should be a great game.'
Jets return to the Northgate Arena on Sunday (5.30) to meet Milton Keynes Lions who took London into overtime recently.
Said Smith: 'They started the season very slowly, but they've brought in a few new players and it seems to have given them a lot of energy.
'They are a different team to the ones we have seen in the past. We're used to seeing Milton Keynes walk the ball up the floor and have a nice slow tempo, but now they have more athletes in the team and high-energy players.'
Chester hope Calvin Davis will be fit to play this weekend. His troublesome knee was swollen again this week, but Smith hopes treatment will do the trick.
'Calvin's just starting his season now, because he had that injury that set him back,' said Smith. 'He's been a little bit rusty with his shooting, but he's been fantastic on the boards. If his shooting clicks then I'm looking for a big weekend from him.'
Jets have been drawn against Scottish Rocks in the semi-finals of the BBL Cup to be played at Ponds Forge, Sheffield on November 28 (5pm) after beating Newcastle Eagles 85-79 on Sunday.