Plymouth Raiders’ efforts to re-sign 7’0 Lithuanian Tomas Janusauskas have been blocked following a British Basketball League rule change.

The rule allows only five non-British permitted players per roster with the idea coming from the recent London Olympics, in order to promote more British basketball talent.

Last season that number was unlimited, but Raiders, claiming to have not heard about the new laws have now filled their new non-British quota with Americans Jeremy Bell, Drew Lasker, Javarris Barnett and Matt Schneck plus Irishman Colin O’Reilly.

Raiders coach Gavin Love wanted to sign Janusauskas as back-up to his team captain Anthony Rowe. But during the pre-season, Rowe’s ongoing knee injuries became more serious and Love’s quest to re-sign the Lithuanian was a priority.

Until the BBL’s rule change kicked in.

“To not have Tomas back is a huge blow to the team,” Love told the Plymouth Herald.

“It makes it worse because Tomas himself wants to play – that’s why he moved here.

“To not be able to play, through no fault of his own or ours, is a very tough thing put upon him and us.”

Janusauskas’ court-time was small in the first half of the 2011/12 season because of the depth of talent at his spots, power-forward and centre.

“We had Anthony Rowe, we had Lehmon Colbert, we had Paul Williams and we had Jamal Williams. We had so many,” Love explained.

“He would’ve had a bigger role last season had we not had so many guys in those positions.

“This year, Tomas would’ve been a vital part of the team. He, without question, would have played more for us this year.

“He improved all the time last season. He’s super committed and moved himself and his wife down to Plymouth.”