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The Shanxi Brave Dragons have lost one of their leading players, but have apparently already found a replacement.
Prolific scorer Marcus Williams was banned for using drugs this week, but the Brave Dragons' General Manager, Ma Lianmin, said the club has already found a new foreigner to replace Williams, but he declined to provide more details.
"We started to search for a new guy after the ban and we have found a potential replacement," Ma said on Tuesday. "The player we have contacted played against us in the summer warm-ups. The time is too tight, so we could only pick up someone we knew."
Ma said the new import would likely join the team after the New Year holidays when the CBA and FIBA offices open.
Williams, a 26-year-old forward who signed with the team in 2011, was suspended for six months on Monday after testing positive for marijuana following a game against the Jilin Northeast Tigers on Dec 9.
The former San Antonio Spur and Los Angeles Clipper averaged 30.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists in his 13 games this season.
"He's been contributing great to the team. It's so depressing to lose him. But we will execute the penalty without asking for a retest of the B sample," Ma said.
The club and head coach Zhang Degui were fined 10,000 yuan ($1,605) and 5,000 yuan respectively.
Williams has apologized for his behavior.
"To all the CBA fans, Shanxi fans, sponsors, as well as my coaches and players, I sincerely apologize," he said on his micro-blog. "I have let a lot of people down and I regret it more then anything. I understand everyone's disappointment and I will do everything to improve and grow from this."
It was the league's first doping case since its inception in 1995.
"We should learn from this lesson, to conduct more tests and improve our regulations. We won't tolerate doping," an official league statement said.
China's anti-doping authority agreed that more tests were needed in China's top professional basketball league.
"The truth is there were not many tests done in the basketball league in the past," said Zhao Jian, deputy director of the China Anti-Doping Agency. He said 12 tests had been conducted so far this season.
(China Daily 01/02/2013 page11)