Cheshire Jets have secured the signature of popular American center Matt Schneck, as he returns for his second spell with the north-west club.

Schneck signed the contract during the annual Cheshire Jets Summer Camp. The big man had been linked with a move to the Plymouth Raiders.

Despite his three-month drug ban last season,  Schneck was one the standouts for the Jets, averaging a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds overall.

Before heading to Chester for his first spell, Schneck enjoyed a successful final year at NCAA Division 2 school St. Cloud State. Where, again, he averaged a double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds in 34 games played.

With the number one priority dealt with, the Jets management have confirmed that Los Angeles Lakers star Ron Artest might arrive in the UK in September to meet with Cheshire Jets’ directors, if the NBA player’s commitments don’t get in the way.

The NBA is currently in the middle of a lockout, due to a contract dispute between owners and players. Some NBA players have opted to play oversees until the situation is resolved.

“We agreed in principle for Ron (Artest) to come in September to progress negotiations and discussions, and to show him England, Cheshire and the Club,” said Cheshire Jets Director Peter Hawkins. “The challenge though is getting Ron Artest a timetable that works for the Club, and works around Ron’s (Artest) other commitments.”

There have been major doubts from most basketball fans in the UK, and most fans are convinced that this is just a publicity stunt, orchestrated by Artest himself. The Jets are not giving up hope though.

Hawkins said: “We said it was a distinct possibility, and right now, we’re making steady progress and we’re working very hard. If we get him (Artest), it’s a huge move for the Jets and for British basketball, if we don’t, then we know that we’ve given it our best shot.”