Ukraine: Great Expectations As Dickens At Mavpy

26 December 2006

EuroCup Challenge quarter-finalists Cherkaski Mavpy have signed Latvian point guard Edmunds Valeiko and American forward Kaniel Dickens.

Mavpy, who will take on BC Dnipro Dnepropetrovsk in the last eight of the European competition, lost the services of Rolandas Jarutis for a couple of months following a knee operation.

They also needed a replacement for small forward Charles Gosa, who was not retained for the second half of the campaign.

Latvian Valeiko had spells at at BC Kyiv and BC Odesa earlier in his career and takes over from Jarutis while Dickens comes in for small forward Gosa.

"I'm glad to come back to Ukraine," Valeiko said to

"I accepted Cherkasi's offer with no hesitation. Not everyone was happy to see Gosa leave.

Having averaged 5.7 points and 5.7 rebounds per game in the EuroCup Challenge, Gosa was a popular player and he was given a party by the fans before his departure.

"I didn't expect such a surprise," he said. "I'm very happy that I have here in Cherkasi so many friends."

As for the new boys, Dickens is relishing the chance to live in Ukraine and not only for the basketball.

"I like Ukrainian dishes, especially I like borsh," he said.

Valeiko and Dickens played well in their first game for the club, an 82-61 triumph over MBC Mykolaiv.

Dickens had 13 points and eight rebounds while Valeiko scored six. American center Arthur Johnson led the winners with 23 points in a game which marked the end of the first half of the Superliga championship.

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