May-Thompson returns to Riders

Raheem May-Thompson makes a return to Leicester Riders signing a two-year deal.

6’6″ forward May-Thompson, re-joins the Riders after a spell with Cheshire Phoenix, Mulhouse Pfastatt (in France) and Worcester Wolves.

Raheem played a role in Rob Paternostro’s side during the 2015-16 season when Leicester won both the league and BBL Trophy.

“Obviously Raheem is a guy we know very well,” commented Coach Rob. “We are excited to have him back. He was great to work with last time and we are all looking forward to working with him again”

“He is an athletic versatile player with plenty of experience who can play multiple positions and can fit in with many different line-ups.”

“I really like how he has performed in big games and is a player that doesn’t shy away from the big moments.”

May-Thompson will combine the professional contract with studying for his Masters in Marketing at Loughborough University, thanks to our partners at Loughborough University’s Business School.

Raheem added:

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to go back to Leicester and to play for the Riders again.”

“I know the organisation really well and I’m looking forward to linking up with the likes of Jamell (Anderson) and Conner (Washington) again who were both playing when I was here the first time around.”

“I am also very much looking forward to attaining a Masters degree. Loughborough University is a first-class University and I value the opportunity they have afforded me.”

Hannah Robb signs with the Riders

GB Guard Hannah Robb joins the Leicester Riders for the WBBL 2020-21 season.

Prior to joining the Riders, the former Caledonia Pride guard competed in the WBBL alongside finishing an undergraduate degree at the University of Edinburgh.

Last season, the sharpshooter showed strong performances for the Pride as she averaged 13.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in the professional league. 

WBBL Head Coach Jesper Sundberg commented: “being one of the best 3-point shooters the last few seasons, Hannah fits well in our up-tempo style.”

“She is a hard worker and that we believe can keep improving throughout the season.”

Hannah’s international experience is well suited for the Riders as she has represented both Great Britain and Scotland in the FIBA European Championships. 

Robb commented: “Riders feels like a good fit for me, both on and off the court, and I’m excited for this opportunity to grow and develop my game.”

“I loved my four years at Pride and helping grow the female game in Scotland. I had great coaches and teammates and I’m proud to have come through the Pride program.”

“I’m eager to get back on court and compete after a long break from basketball”.

Hannah is now the eighth player announced by the Riders for the 2020-21 WBBL season. 

BBL announce start date for 2020/21 season

The weekend of October 2nd will see the restart of British Basketball League competition with the specific date for Leicester Riders’ to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Rob Paternostro’s side will commence the 2020/21 season with the opening rounds of the BBL Cup competition, the league itself will tip off on Friday 13 November 2020.

The 2020/21 BBL Cup has seen a significant change, which will see teams split into three groups rather than two, with the bottom placed team from each group being eliminated before the knockout stage

Andy Webb, Chief Operating Officer of BBL, said:

“Planning for the new season has been something we’ve really looked forward to after the disappointment of the early end to last season. Seeing the talent that the clubs have been announcing only makes us keener to get going because there’s going to be some incredible games to come.”

Whitney Allen and Ella Clark rejoin the Riders

Great Britain internationals, Whitney Allen and Ella Clark return to the Riders for the 2020-21 season.

Allen will compete in the WBBL alongside working as a children’s social worker. Last season the former Charnwood player and coach provided the WBBL side with leadership, hustle, energy and defensive versatility. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing last year’s players and excited for the fresh new faces,” commented Whitney, “I enjoyed last season and it was a no brainer to come back”.

Clark provided the Riders with length and versatility last season. During the 2019-20 season, the GB forward averaged 11.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in the WBBL Championship.

Ella commented: “I’m looking forward to getting back on the court with the team after such a long break”.

“Last season ended abruptly, just as we were starting to find some consistency. We obviously finished on a high note with the trophy win, so hopefully we can build on that this year”.

WBBL Head Coach Jesper Sundberg commented: “We are lucky to have Whitney and Ella back this season as they bring size and versatility to the team. Whitney with her ability to play and defend multiple positions and Ella’s skillset around the rim and outside shooting.”

“We get two experienced players that can help the team build on last year’s success.”

Allen and Clark join Holly Winterburn as the Riders finalise the team for the 2020-21 WBBL season.

Riders sign high-flying William Lee

Leicester Riders are delighted to announce the signing of William ‘HaHa’ Lee.

The American joins Leicester after spending last season with German Pro-A side Nurnberg Falcons BC. The 6-9 forward previously played in the G-League with Iowa Wolves having spent four years playing for the University of Alabama at Birmingham through college.

Lee was the all-time leading shot-blocker in UAB history, is a 2-time defensive player of the year in his conference and was a 2-time all conference player.

Speaking to the club’s new official website, Lee said : “First of all I would like to thank the Leicester Riders organisation for allowing me to be part of the upcoming season.”

“It’s been a long off-season and I’m ready to get back on the court and have fun again!”

“Words can not explain how excited I am for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to meeting my new teammates, the staff and all the Riders fans.”

Lee is Head Coach Rob Paternostro’s seventh signing ahead of the new season and he can’t wait to work with the forward:

“We are looking forward to working with William . He is an exciting player who plays above the rim on both ends of the floor and is a guy our fans should enjoy watching play.”

“He has the ability to impact the game on the defensive end. He moves his feet well has good size and with a 7 foot 2 wing span can change shots.”

“We are excited about his shot blocking ability, he has always been an excellent shot blocker which we feel will be an important part of our defence.”

“He is a skilled big on the offensive end, he uses his versatility to be effective. He can shoot from distance, score around the rim and put it down on the floor to make plays .”

Oliver, Gaskin and Hinriksdóttir return to the Riders.

Kate Oliver, Christina Gaskin and Sara Hinriksdóttir return to Riders for the 2020-21 season as they finish their masters with the Loughborough School of Business and Economics.

Kate Oliver enters her fourth season in the WBBL. The Australian Center asserted her presence in the league by averaging 15.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. The 2x Trophy MVP had eight appearances in the weekly All-Star Five.

“I want to enjoy the season, making the most of the opportunity to be back on the court and building team camaraderie with a new squad,” said Oliver. “As we have experienced, it can all be taken away in an instant, so capitalising on the time we have on court and with each other is going to be paramount this season.

“It’s a shame last year’s squad didn’t get to reach its full potential but I am excited to see what we can do this season.”

Christina Gaskin brought energy, versatility and athleticism to the Riders. Last season the GB forward averaged 5.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists during the WBBL Championship and appeared twice on the weekly All-Star Five.

“Last season we were very competitive and although I’m grateful that we got to finish on a high, I  feel like we have unfinished business”, commented Gaskin.

“I’m excited to defend our title and build upon last year with new faces and dominant returners”.

Sara Hinriksdóttirr had a strong 2019-2020 season for the Riders after averaging 16.9 points and 6.1 rebounds during the WBBL Championship. The Icelandic guard earned the 2020 WBBL Trophy Final MVP award after leading the Riders with a game-high 23 points as well as 7 rebounds.

“I’ve been itching to be back playing and compete again,” commented Sara. “I’m excited to pick up where we left off and help build a quality team in the league.”

Riders have now announced six players for the upcoming WBBL season, which also include Holly Winterburn, Whitney Allen and Ella Clark.

Riders Sign Zach Jackson

Leicester Riders are delighted to announce the signing of American 6’7″ guard Zach Jackson.

Last season Jackson played for Ukrainian Superleague side Kharkivski Sokoly, after spending four successful years in college with Omaha Mavericks. He averaged an impressive 18 points per game in his Junior and Senior year, as well as being named in the all Summit League first team.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Jackson said:

“It’s exciting to join such a successful program and play for the fans of Leicester.”

“I’m ready to get to work with my new teammates and I’m really looking forward to a good season.”

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent the city of Leicester, play for the Riders organisation and its fans.”

Zach becomes Rob Paternostro’s six summer announcement, and the Riders Head Coach is delighted to be bringing the Wichita-born

“We are very happy to have Zach on board, he is a talented player who has the ability to score from all over the floor,” said Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro.

“He is an excellent long range shooter both off the catch and off the dribble, but he is also a guy that can score in the paint with drives, cuts, and post ups. He really has a knack for putting the ball in the basket.”

“We were very impressed with his efficiency on the offensive end and are looking forward to being able to use his versatility on both ends of the floor.”

“I enjoyed speaking with him, he has a hunger for the game and is a guy that has worked extremely hard to become the player he is.”

“He has great size for a perimeter player, a late growth spurt has seen him grow to 6-7 which I think that will make him an even tougher guy to defend. We like his ability to take advantage of smaller defenders, with his size at the guard position he can be a really tough match-up for smaller guards.”

Walker makes return to Riders

Mo Walker will return for the Riders for the 2020-21 season, it can also be revealed that having initially signed a two-year deal, Walker has now extended his stay by a further year making him a Rider for the next two seasons.

Mo was all set to make his Riders debut last season but for a season-ending injury which stalled his Leicester debut. Despite this, Walker will be a familiar face to BBL fans after spending a short stint with the Worcester Wolves three seasons ago in which he averaged 18 points and 9.5 rebounds per outing.

“I’m excited! I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder and something to prove from sitting out last season,” reflected Mo. “I want to make the city of Leicester and the fans proud by continuing to build on the winning culture already established by the Riders in the BBL.”

Coach Rob Paternostro is excited to have the 6’10” big available this time out, speaking to the club’s official website, Paternostro said:

“We can’t wait to see Mo put on a Riders uniform. Last year’s injury was unfortunate for both him and the club, and I know that he is really excited about getting back on the court.”

“Although he didn’t play in any games for us last season he settled in very well, he was a part of the team and was able to get a feel for what we do and how we do it.”

“He was a dominant player last time he was in the league, first team all BBL player, a player that opponents feared and had to game plan for.”

“Mo is a big who uses his size to get great position and can really score with his back to the basket. He is also a guy that rebounds both offensively and defensively, passes the ball well and plays with intelligence on both ends. We are expecting big things.”

The new Riders jerseys were unveiled earlier in the week and are available for pre-order until August 15. Check out our online store to order yours!

Alex Baker Commits to Lynn University

Class of 2020 Charnwood College student Alex Baker has committed to Lynn University where she will play her college basketball next season. We spoke to Alex on her time at Charnwood College and her decision join the Lynn University next season.

How’s your time at Charnwood?

Deciding to go to Charnwood was a very big decision for me. To move away from home at a young age is never easy but it was the best decision I ever made and would do it all over again. These past two years have been such an experience that I’m going to miss deeply but I’m going onto my next journey in the states all thanks to Charnwood, Krumesh and all the other players and coaches. Charnwood has turned into my family, you live with them, play with them, go to school with them and experience it all together. I am so grateful for the people I have met and was able to build friendships and relationships with from my time at Charnwood and I’ll never forget it.

What advice would you give to the next crop of girls coming through at Charnwood College?

Advice I would give is that it is not easy, and thats ok. It’s not supposed to be easy, its supposed to be challenging. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. You need to try your very best and show why you are different and deserve to be playing at this standard. And if you don’t get the game time or playing time that you like or think you deserve, then ask yourself why. If something isn’t going well, try to do something else rather than just dropping your head. Its all about effort and hustle, everything else will come later.

Why did you choose Lynn University?

I decided to commit to Lynn University in Florida as it was the best fit for me. Ever since I started playing its never been all about basketball. Its been about other aspects like my education and happiness. So I felt that Lynn ticked all these boxes for me. I visited Lynn and other schools so I had a good comparison and fell in Love with Lynn as well as having a great gut feeling that I wanted to spend the next 4 years of my journey here.

Anyone you would like to thank whilst on this Journey?

I could thank so many people for helping me or inspiring me up to this point. Too many to mention in fact but any coach that I was lucky enough to be coached by is a great start. From the beginning of my journey at Brighton Cougars when Hugh Sandie saw potential in me, to my next step at SeveonOaks with Len Busch and Richard Surrey who developed me as a player and person, then finally to Charnwood with Krumesh Patel, Oli Parr and Alex Hayley. Also all my GB coaches, assistant coaches and physios. It really wouldn’t have been possible without any of them so I want to thank them from the bottom of my heart for getting me this far. I won’t forget it. And lastly all the players I’ve had the privilege of playing with or even against, helping me develop my game everyday.

Charnwood’s Emejuru gets overseas experience at Euroleague Adidas Next Generation Tournament

Giovanni took part in the Euroleage Adidas Next Generation Tournament in Kaunas, Lithuania against some of the best teams in Europe. Giovanni has only been playing 3 years and is now competing against NBA prospects. The Team Finished 5th out of 8 teams.

Giovanni believes that his experience in Lithuania will only help him develop more as a player. “I didn’t really know what to expect because I haven’t really been to a tournament outside of the uk. I found it to be a once in a lifetime experience that will help me grow as a basketball player. It was a different playing style I found it to be alot quicker and their offences flowed at a high pace with short actions.”

“The level of competition was extremely high most teams had NBA prospects and playing against that level of competition is challenging but it will only improve me as a basketball player.”

Head Coach James Vear was impressed with what he saw from Giovanni despite him not being with the team long. “A lot of credit must go to Will on the job he is doing with Gio in the short term he has been with Charnwood, Gio did incredibly well at the Tournament both on the offensive and defensive end. It isn’t easy coming in and playing with the team with only a few practices before we left for the tournament, he is a great prospect and a great kid”.

Charnwood College Head Coach Will Maynard has been impressed with Giovanni’s improvement since joining the Programme. “Giovanni has excelled in the past couple of months being with us. Extremely proud how he represented himself on and off the court. From going to playing u15s basketball last year to competing at the biggest stage in europe is credit to his hard work and dedication.”

Game 1 vs Juventut Badalona

Favourites to win tournament from sources

Huge upset

70-67 win

21 minutes 7 points 4 rebs

Game 2 vs Rytas Vilnius

Winners of the tournament

89-37 loss

20 mins 5 points 5 rebounds 3 assist 2 steals

Charnwood College Riders Head to Portugal with Erasmus+

Charnwood College Riders travel overseas today to begins a 2-week educational trip in Portugal made possible by Erasmus+.

The trip will consist of a mix of on and off the court development for the players. The basketball development will open players eyes to local coaching and competition, furthering their understanding of different cultures of the game.

The trip will feature 27 students and 5 staff over the two week period, with fixtures lined up against local opposition in the Sangalhos – Anadia region of Portugal as well as day trips to local cities and historical sites.

Head of the Academy, Krumesh Patel, is looking forward to the trip.

“The time away is an opportunity to gain some European exposure for the students. On the court the teams will be able to learn from local coaches and teams in a way different to the leagues we play in in the UK. 

“This holiday period allows the group to spend some quality time together and not only gain basketball experience but learn about a new culture away from the game with some excellent experiences being lined up by our hosts. 

The players and staff seem really excited and I think it will be a trip they will remember!” 

Be sure to follow @CharnwoodBball on social media for an insight to the trip.

Holly Winterburn is back!

Leicester Riders secure a 3-year deal with the former Charnwood player. 

Winterburn will be studying a Loughborough University degree at Loughborough College through the Elite Player Pathway programme. This deal will provide her with a full scholarship and a professional player contract.

Last season as a Freshman at Oregon University, she appeared in 28 games while averaging 11.4 minutes for the Pac-12 regular season and tournament champions. Winterburn earned herself Freshman of the week honours through her dominant performance against South Dakota State, scoring a season-high 17 points on 5-of-7 three-point shooting.

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented: 

“We’re really excited about having Holly Winterburn rejoin the team. She is somebody who has come through the academy, was the former WBBL Young Player of the Year and had a great experience in America.”

“This is a huge story for both the club and British Basketball to keep our best players in the UK to study and play professionally. Hopefully we’ll see more in the future.”

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Loughborough University and Loughborough College for supporting Winterburn and making this happen”.

Last summer Holly was a key player for the GB U20s averaging 18.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists and named to the FIBA U20 European Championship All-Star Five.

“I’m super excited to be back! I’m in a great place mentally and physically so I can’t wait to get the preseason underway”, commented Winterburn.

“Playing in America was an amazing experience and I’m grateful for the memories and relationships I made. However, I missed home a lot so coming back to the UK was the best decision for me.”

“I have the perfect situation with the Riders, being able to study and play in the place that made me who I am today.”

The Great Britain guard is the first signing announced by the Riders as they continue to finalise the roster for the 2020-21 season.

Riders players return home

Given the current situation with the coronavirus pandemic, the club have given its blessing for Kate Oliver and Brea Elmore to return home to be with their families.

Kate will return to Australia and Brea to America having both played vital roles in their sides’ Betty Codona WBBL Trophy final victory yesterday.

Report: Riders Women fall on the road to Durham

Leicester Riders women dropped out of the top spot in the WBBL Championship, as they were beaten on the road by Durham Palatinates, 77-68.

The game was a taster for the WBBL Trophy Final in a couple of weeks’ time, and a replay of last year’s final, but this time Durham prevailed.

Former Riders’ star Dee Hayward haunted her former teammates, finishing up with 14 points and 10 assists.

The game was very tight early on with Riders just edging the first quarter 19-16.

And neither team could get on top in the second period, as Riders went into half-time with a 39-36 edge.

But led by Hayward, Durham took control in the third period, dominating it 24-15.

Riders fought back and were only down 2 points midway through the final period, but Durham then pulled away for the win.

Captain Kate Oliver was superb for Riders with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while American guard Brea Elmore top scored with 21 points, while pulling down 8 rebounds and dishing out 7 assists.

Christina Gaskin also contributed 11 rebounds and 9 assists, but Riders were let down by their long range shooting, making just 4 threes from 26 attempts.

The Riders return to action at the Loughborough Netball Centre on March 22nd when they take on the Oaklands Wolves, CLICK HERE to purchase tickets!

Jesse Chuku departs Riders

Leicester Riders can confirm that they will be without Jesse Chuku next season. The 27-year old forward is to take a year away from basketball to concentrate on recovery of a pre-existing injury that has affected his time on court the last few seasons.

“I would like to thank the Riders for a great year and for all the support I received battling a pre-existing injury,” commented Chuku. “The coaches, players, staff, and the fans have all been phenomenal and I am very proud to have been a part of this organisation.”

“Leicester now feels like a second home to me, so surely this is not farewell as I hope to see all the Riders family again some time in the future!”

Jesse clocked up 26 appearances for the Riders last season before Covid cut the season short.

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented: “We’ve enjoyed having Jesse with us this past season and wish him all the best in his quest for full fitness.”

“The door is always open to him and he’ll always be part of the Riders family.”

All the best for the future Jesse, from all at the Leicester Riders.

Corey Johnson signs new Riders deal

Corey Johnson has committed until the end of the 2020/21 season and enters his second season with the club.

Johnson averaged 12.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game over 10 games last season, arriving midway through with Jordan Spencer before the season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to, Coach Paternostro said he was delighted to bring back the Canadian: “Corey made an immediate impact when he arrived last season, his energy and ability were immediately valuable to our team.”

“Obviously he is a dangerous three point threat, his shooting can impact the game in many ways, but he was more than just a shooter. He really plays with an intelligence out on the floor and we are expecting big things from him this season.”

“Defensively he was very good, he has good size and length and a hunger play to defence. He was locked in on that side of the floor from the moment he arrived. His communication and commitment to team defence was excellent.”

The Harvard graduate is back in his native Canada at the moment and will represent CEBL side Guelph Nighthawks before returning to Leicestershire.

“The Riders fans had my back from the moment I stepped on the floor,” reflected Corey. “After I hit my first shot the crowd went crazy. That was something that was really motivating for me.”

“I’m really happy to be returning to the Morningside Arena and bringing that energy.”

“It feels great to have signed again, I felt like we had a good thing going last year and a lot of momentum that got cut short. I’m excited about the new season ahead and I feel like we can carry that momentum over to next year.”

You can see Corey in action tonight as his Guelph Nighthawks side play Hamilton Honey Badgers (5pm ET) available to watch on or twitch.

Darien returns to Riders

Leicester Riders have secured the services of American big Darien Nelson-Henry on a two-year deal.

Nelson-Henry had a successful spell with Leicester last time out averaging 13.3 PPG and placing amongst the league’s leaders for field goal percentage.

“We are happy to have Darien back. He was a great guy to work with and was a very effective player for us last season,” commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro.

“He is a big guy who can really impact the game with his size and strength. He plays with skill and intelligence on the court.”

“Darien is a tough guy to guard, you can see that by looking at his FG% (63%). He was top 2 in that category last season. He does a great job at getting position and can score either way, he also passes the ball very well and was a very effective screener for us.”

The Penn graduate will also be studying for his Masters at the Business School at Loughborough University while representing the Riders.

“I couldn’t be happier that I’m getting to do two things that I’ve always wanted to do… play professional basketball and study to get a masters and further my learning. I’ve always been somebody who’s wanted to better myself,” reflected Nelson-Henry.

“Returning to play for Leicester is amazing. We get treated like family immediately. The guys are so welcoming.”

“I was excited to come here before signing last year as I have heard great things, it lived up to the expectations and the hype. I’ve had an amazing experience so far.  

Darien becomes the third signing announcement for the Riders following British duo Conner Washington and Jamell Anderson. Be sure to follow the Riders on social media at @RidersBball for updates throughout the season.

Leicestershire Uniting ‘Together In Hope’ ahead of Leicester’s lockdown review

The University of Leicester’s Vice-Chancellor is working in partnership with the CEO of Leicester City Football Club and the Bishop of Leicester, on a celebration of community spirit in Leicester and Leicestershire this weekend, supported by a raft of other public figures.

Headed by Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Susan Whelan and Bishop Martyn Snow,Together In Hope will highlight messages of encouragement and the many acts of kindness and concern for one another that have been springing up during lockdown.

Sports, education, business, charity, arts, community and faith leaders and personalities are supporting ‘Together In Hope’ on social media, rallied by Turi King, Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Leicester, who is well known for her work on the discovery of the body of Richard III, and Revd Dr Tom Wilson of the St Philip’s Centre, Leicester’s internationally recognised interfaith centre.

Using the hashtags #TogetherInHope and #WeAreLeicester the coalition of leaders and personalities invite anyone with connections to the city and county to tell the world what we celebrate about Leicester and Leicestershire and how we’ll come through this current challenge and move forward together in hope.

You could produce a piece of art, poetry, make a film clip, create some spoken word, share a recipe, write a letter, pose for a photo with the Together in Hope branding, highlight your community and charitable work, whatever you like that tells the world how great Leicester is and how we’ll continue moving forward together in hope.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Leicester said:

“Leicester is an incredible city. There is so much diversity and unity in one place. It has the world at your doorstep.

“I am proud of Leicester and it is one of the reasons why I want to champion this great initiative, Together in Hope, to ensure we come out of this lockdown stronger and more united.

“It’s more important now than ever to shine a light on what is great about our city. Together we can be a beacon of hope for others.”

Susan Whelan, Leicester City Football Club Chief Executive, said: 
“Leicester is a truly special place, whose diverse and passionate community has been both the backdrop and the inspiration for some of the city’s finest achievements.

“As we’ve seen throughout this pandemic, it’s also a community that comes together to support each other when support is most needed, which gives me great confidence that we can overcome the current challenges and emerge from the lockdown stronger than ever before.”

The Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester, said:

“We’re launching Together In Hope because we’ve been so encouraged by the way people have come together across Leicester and Leicestershire during the pandemic and lockdown.

“We want the world to know about this and we want to tell people that our diversity is our

“We believe that this diversity and togetherness will enable us to emerge from this crisis with renewed hope for a society in which we care for one another and care for our planet. I’m delighted that so many partners have already come on board with this initiative and we hope you will join us and start sharing stories of Together In Hope.”

Personalities and organisations supporting #TogetherInHope #WeAreLeicester include:

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester
Susan Whelan, CEO, Leicester City Football Club
Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester
Rosemary Conley CBE, Businesswoman, author and broadcaster
Jonathan Agnew, The BBC Cricket Correspondent
Gary Lineker OBE, BBC Sports Correspondent
Maggie Philbin, Tomorrow’s World
Simon Cole QPM, Chief Constable, Leicestershire Police
Rick Taylor, Chief Fire and Rescue Officer
Professor Robert Allison, President and Vice-Chancellor, Loughborough University
Professor Andy Collop, Interim Vice-Chancellor, De Montfort University
Geoff Rowe BEM, Festival Director, Big Difference Company
Scott Knowles, Chief Executive, East Midlands Chamber of Commerce
Flor Healy, Group Chief Executive, Samworth Brothers
Kevin Routledge, Chairman, Leicester Riders
Sean Jarvis, Chief Executive, Leicester Cricket Club
Andrea Pinchen, Chief Executive, Leicester Tigers
Verity Hancock, Principal, Leicester College
Dawn Whitemore, Principal, The SMB Group
Chas Bishop, Chief Executive, Leicester Space Centre
Karamjit Singh, Chair, University Hospitals of Leicester
Andy Williams, Chief executive of the NHS Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland CCGs
Chris Stafford, Chief Executive, Curve Theatre
Nikolai Foster, Artistic Director, Curve Theatre
Revd Mark Burleigh, Head of Chaplaincy and Bereavement Services, Leicester’s Hospitals
Suleman Nagdi, Spokesperson, Federation of Muslim Organisations
Resham Singh Sandhu, MBE, Leicestershire Interfaith Forum
Pradip Gajjar, President, ISKCON Leicester
Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Loughborough
Jonathan Kerry, Chief Executive, Leicester Diocese
The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester
Revd Jenny Impey, Minister, Leicester Trinity Methodist Circuit
Revd Novette Headley, Superintendent Minister, Leicester West Methodist Circuit
Dilwar Hussain, Chair, New Horizons in British Islam
Associate Professor David Bartram, Chair, Leicester Progressive Jewish Community
Jiten Anand, Director, Inspirate
Sean Carroll, Director, Inspirate
Bipin Anand, Director, ImageNova
Glynis Wright, President Leicestershire Law Society
Professor Turi King, Professor of Public Engagement, Leicester University
Revd Dr Tom Wilson, Director, St Philip’s Centre

Morningside Arena First in Leicester Waterworks Transformation Project

Leicester’s waterways are set to be transformed with a series of colourful artworks as part of a major community arts project beginning this summer.

Five large-scale murals will brighten up parts of the city’s riverside and canal corridor thanks to a partnership between Leicester City Council, the Canal & River Trust and local arts company Graffwerk.

Over the coming months, local artists from the Graffwerk street art collective will carry out specially commissioned pieces at key locations across the city.

The first commission has already seen the canal side wall of the Morningside Arena transformed with a large-scale mural celebrating home champions Leicester Riders alongside a tribute to basketball icon Kobe Bryant.

Kevin Routledge, director of the Morningside Arena and chairman of Leicester Riders, said: “We are delighted to be a part of this stunning community arts project. The Morningside Arena’s location alongside the new Charter Street bridge leading to Abbey Park, has seen much-increased footfall and cycling.

“We think people using the park and canal will be very impressed with the artwork. The design strongly captures the essence of the arena with its community focus and great events, as well as being home of the Riders.”

The Morningside Arena project will be followed by artworks at Abbey Park underpass, Soar Island wall and Lime Kiln Lock on the edge of Abbey Park. The recently constructed flood relief culvert at Loughborough Road Bridge will also be brightened up with a specially commissioned design.

The artworks will celebrate the sites’ wildlife and history and include improved waymarking to help people find their way along Leicester’s waterways and make more use the city’s towpaths and riverside walking routes.

The £45,000 project is funded by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) with £30,000 of Government cash from the Local Growth Fund, and by the Canal & River Trust through its Community Roots programme, which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Liz Fleuty, community engagement manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: We’re so excited to be a part of this project which will brighten up the waterside and make a visit to the towpath even more appealing

“For many Leicester’s waterways are an undiscovered gem and we’re hoping that, once finished, these artworks help to attract more people down to the waterside and encourage them to see their local canal or river in a whole new light.

“More than a third of people in Leicester live less than a kilometre from a canal or river – which have such an important role to play in daily life, helping us to keep active and clear our minds. By brightening spaces up and creating new places of interest we hope this project will enable more people to feel those benefits for themselves.”

Deputy City Mayor for environment and transportation Cllr Adam Clarke said: “Leicester boasts some beautiful riverside and towpath routes but there are some parts that need a bit of a lift. We are keen to work with partner organisations like CRT and the Inland Waterways Association to do that and help more people discover the city’s riverside.

“These new artworks will brighten up key locations along our waterways, signposting routes, attractions and areas of interest and encourage people to explore more of the city’s beautiful riverside and canal by walking and cycling.

“We have worked with Graffwerk on a number of projects over the years, with events like Bring the Painthelping to create stunning artworks in the city centre. I am excited to see how this latest project will transform and brighten key waterside locations.”

Izzy Hoskins, co-director at Graffwerk, said: “Graffwerk is extremely excited to be delivering these large-scale artworks alongside some incredible artists. Being based upon the canal side ourselves it means a lot for us to be involved in projects within the local community.”

The project may involve some short-term towpath closures while the artists are working. This will be clearly signed and alternative routes suggested. All work will be carried out only when it is safe to do so, and with strict social distancing in place.

Lascelles takes up new challenge

After three successful seasons with the Riders, Leicester Riders can confirm this morning that they will be without the services of Rema Lascelles next season as he ends his professional basketball career to take up a new challenge.

“I’d like to thank both Rob and Russell for giving me an opportunity to play the game I love at the highest level this country has to offer. I loved my time at the Riders. From competing with some amazingly talented players day in day out to travelling the country and Europe showcasing our own skills, including playing in front of 15k people at the O2. I have made some lifelong memories and friends,” commented Rema.

“I felt like it was the right time to end my pro career and to take steps into the next chapter in my life. My girlfriend and I are starting a family together and I am embarking on a career which I am hopeful can provide the same amount of enjoyment and fulfilment from that I got from basketball.”

Rema clocked up 87 appearances for the Riders including two treble winning seasons and the FIBA Europe adventure.

“We are all happy for Rema and wish him well for the future. He was a winning player with the club and was an important part of some very good teams,” reflected Head Coach Rob Paternostro.

“He was a very unique player, he had great size at the point guard position and did a great job passing the ball and running the offence and was always a guy that teammates enjoyed playing with.”

Managing Director Russell Levenston added:

“We wish Rema all the best with his career. He has been a tremendous asset for our club over the past three seasons and really contributed to the success of our team. We are really proud of him, and although we’ll miss him at the Arena, he goes with our blessing and good wishes.”

All the best for the future Rema, from all at the Leicester Riders.

Jamell signs for 2020-21 season

British forward Jamell Anderson returns to the Leicester Riders next season after signing a new one-year deal.

Anderson who has spent seven seasons in Leicestershire having made his Leicester debut back in the 2011-12 season, has racked up 274 appearances and seven trophies with the Riders.

‘We are thrilled to have Jamell back for another season,’ commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro. ‘He is a guy who does whatever a team needs to win.’

‘I thought he played very well last season, defensively his commitment and ability is a valuable tool for any group and his length, speed and size makes him an elite defender in this league.’

‘He shot the ball well last season and offensively was very efficient, he is a player who puts the work in and you can see how his game develops every season.’

🍿 Exclusive: Forward Jamell Anderson (@Jamell_A ) on his Riders return!

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) July 6, 2020

Anderson shot a 2 point percentage of 68.0 last season, third highest in the BBL. He was also amongst the leagues’ leaders for field goal percentage with 57.6.

‘Leicester has been good to me down the years and I am happy to be part of the Riders family again next season,’ reflected Jamell.

‘The Morningside Arena is a great venue to play at, the fans really get that place rocking. It’s a real community club and I want to be a part of it.’

‘I have a lot of respect for Coach Rob. I love playing for him as he understands my game and knows how to get the best out of me. We’ve had seven seasons together so far and I’m excited to be making it number eight next season.’

Anderson has been a member of the long squad for Great Britain in the last couple of windows as well as representing Team England at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

Ian Davidson – Rest In Peace

It is with great sadness that the Club announces that Ian Davidson, the Riders Commercial Manager, has passed away.

He died suddenly and unexpectedly at Glenfield Hospital on Tuesday night.

He was 63 years old.

Ian has been with the club over seven years, although more latterly he had gone part-time, while he pursued a post graduate degree at DMU in his favourite subject – the history of sport.

Leicester Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge said,

“Ian will be greatly missed by everyone in the Riders family. He helped grow the club on the commercial side at a critical stage in its development, and he always left everyone with a smile on their face.”

“He is one of Leicester’s greatest sports fans, with his passionate interest in all sports Clubs in the city, including holding a similar role at Leicestershire County Cricket Club to the one he held for us. He remained a very passionate cricket fan, but he was also a huge fan of Leicester City, as a long time season ticket holder, and author of a recent book on Keith Weller. He was also a Tigers fan.”

“There was little that Ian did not know about sport, and he loved nothing better than regaling everyone with fascinating sports statistics from decades ago.”

“He made an immense contribution to the development of the Riders, including organising many of our corporate events, and he always brought a passion to everything he did.”

Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston said,

“I am really shocked by the passing. Ian was a friend that will be missed by myself, and all at the Riders. My thoughts are with his family at this time.”

“Ian was a hugely positive guy that would do anything for anyone, and helped to transform our club commercially. His work helped us to become sustainable and grow.”

Head Coach of Leicester Riders Rob Paternostro was shocked by the news,

“My family and I are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague Ian. His passion for sport in Leicester was unmatched, and his dedication and commitment to the Riders was immense. Ian accomplished so many great things for our organisation, was a huge part of our success and will be sorely missed by all at the club. I feel fortunate to have had him as a friend. My thoughts go out to all his family and friends.”

Ian is survived by his wife Sue, son Ashley, daughter-in-law Angel, daughter Nicolette, and granddaughter Aimee.

Conner Washington is back!

GB Guard Conner Washington has returned to the Leicester Riders signing a two-year deal after spending last season in Europe.

Conner is one of Riders’ most decorated players having won 10 trophies over 7 seasons in Leicestershire including 261 appearances.

“We are thrilled to have Conner back. We are excited to see him in a Riders jersey again!”

“He plays with passion, intensity and a style that Riders fans have enjoyed throughout the years,” commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro who has brought the British guard through the Riders programme.

“He first came to us many years ago and we have enjoyed watching him grow and have watched him win many trophies with many different teams here.”

“His defence can be a game changer, his athletic ability, intelligence and intensity on that end of the floor is valuable for any team to have and we look forward to that again this season.”

🍿 Exclusive: @gbbasketball guard Conner Washington (@Con_Air11 ) on his Riders return! #weridetogether

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) June 19, 2020

Last year Conner was a key player for German team VfL Bochum averaging 18.3 points and 5.1 assists per game.

“It feels great to be back. I love the organisation and love the city,” commented Washington. “My family are here and I”m closer to my hometown Bedford so anytime I can play here is a true blessing.”

“I’m confident there’s a lot of success to come. I’m anxious to get on the court and take my skills to another level. I can’t wait to get back out there in front of the Riders fans.”

The Great Britain senior player is the first signing announced by the Riders as they continue to finalise the roster for the 2020-21 season.

Ward-Hibbert leaves Riders

Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston has today confirmed that guard Josh Ward-Hibbert will not return next season.

Ward-Hibbert who still had a year to run on his contract, was contacted by another team while under contract with the Riders and he has decided to opt out of the second year.

Josh joined the programme initially with the Loughborough side before progressing to Rob Paternostro’s team in the 2016-17 season. Josh represented the Riders 91 times winning 7 trophies including two treble winning seasons.

“He’s a great talent and we have invested in him over the past four seasons to a point were we feel he is in a position to push for a GB spot. So naturally we’re disappointed that Josh has decided to leave us,” reflected Levenston.

“We thank him for his efforts whilst in a Riders shirt and wish him well for the future.”

In some more promising news for the Riders, Levenston also confirmed there will be some player announcements around the corner.

“We have several players already signed and we’ll be making those announcements over the coming weeks. We’re really pleased with the way the pieces are coming together and looking forward to seeing this exciting team back on court at the Morningside Arena. Watch this space!”

2019-20 BBL season cancelled

The British Basketball League (BBL) announced today that the remainder of the current 2019/20 season will be cancelled following the continued impact of coronavirus.

The statement read that member clubs unanimously agreed that there was no viable option to allow for the season to be completed in a safe and meaningful manner after the season was originally postponed on 17 March.

The League had been working alongside the basketball national governing bodies (NGBs) of Basketball England and Basketball Scotland and the British Basketball Federation, as well as following advice from FIBA (International Basketball Federation) and the UK Government to explore all the available options to resume play.

Following the cancellation of the season, and based on multiple teams mathematically capable of winning, the independent directors of the BBL Management Board agreed that there would be no winner of the championship title.

Looking ahead, the British Basketball League has also announced plans for the 2020/21 season, as the lockdowns start to slowly ease, and sports start to resume across the UK and the world. Announcing plans for the BBL Trophy, BBL Cup and Championship competitions, British basketball fans will see even more games being played over the season as a change to the Championship competition sees teams face each other three times over the course of the season.

Our supporters are the heartbeat of our club. In the light of today’s announcement we don’t want any of our supporters to worry about their tickets, we will be in contact with all those supporters affected in the coming weeks.

A further announcement regarding the new season-tickets will also be made soon.

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented “First and foremost we would like to send our best wishes to all of our supporters and their families who have been affected by the pandemic over the last few months. As ever the support we have had this season as a whole has been incredible and it is really valued and hugely appreciated.”

“We thank them for their patience and we can’t wait to be back on court with the Riders family in the autumn. We will be making many announcements, including next season’s roster, over the next few months and will continue to keep fans updated on our social-media channels.”

Season Recap: Namon Wright

Games played: 24

Points Per Game: 15.8

Rebounds Per Game: 4.9

Assists per game: 1.75

Namon Wright joined the Riders in the summer of 2019 following graduation from the University of Colorado. Namon joined the Riders with the reputation as a talented scorer of the ball from the perimeter and did not disappoint in his rookie professional season.

Wright was the Riders leading scorer in the 2019/20 season averaging 15.8 points per game on an excellent 46.7% from the two and 43.9 from three. Namon also displayed a good rebounding ability from the ring averaging 6.2 rebounds per game in the BBL Cup.

Coach Paternostro thought Namon had a good rookie season and has all the tools to go on and have a very successful professional career. “Namon was an exciting player for us this season. He showed the ability to shoot the ball from long range and used his athleticism to be an effective player in the bbl. From day one You could see he has a lot of tools and because of that he is a guy that has tremendous potential in professional basketball.”

Key Performances

November 1st v Newcastle Eagles – BBL Cup

Stat line: 19 points (6-10 FG), 6 rebounds, 2 steals

The Leicester Riders travelled to the North East to take on the Newcastle Eagles as the two teams were set to do battle for the second time in the BBL Cup. Namon got the first score of the game scoring a highly contested layup inside but no team was able to take control of the game in the early exchanges. Wright knocked down a pair of three throws with 3 minutes left on the clock before the Eagles took control of the final 2 minutes leading at the end of the quarter 25-18. Wright got the first score of the second quarter with another crafty layup inside but the Riders failed to make inroads into the Eagles lead as the Riders went into the half time break down 6. The Riders came out firing in the second half and Namon set the tone with an early three before getting fouled driving to the basket and converting the and one at the line. Wright continued to take over the third quarter with a floating layup inside and knocking down another two free throws as the Riders regained the lead heading into the fourth quarter up 57-59. Namon continued to score around the basket with ease in the fourth scoring his fourth layup of the game which sparked another Riders run. The Riders lead by five heading into the final minute as the Eagles looked to foul and make the Riders miss from the line. Wright knocked down the final two free throws of the game as the Riders ran out victorious 69-76.

December 6th v Plymouth Raiders – BBL Championship

Stat line: 23 points (7-17 FG), 3 rebounds, 4 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Plymouth Raiders at the Morningside Arena in the first game of the BBL Championship. The teams exchanged baskets in the opening minute as Wright got involved with a sweet scooping layup before knocking down a fading mid range jumper followed by a three from the ring as the Riders won the first quarter 26-24. The Riders began to pull away in the second quarter hitting a number of threes with Namon getting in on the act. Wright scored a tough lefty layup and a corner three with a minute left in the quarter as the Riders went into the half time break up 54-40. The Raiders game out strong in the third quarter cutting the Riders lead to just 6 points heading into the final quarter. The Riders regained their lead in the fourth quarter after some early scores and they never looked back continuing to get stops and easy scores on the break as they ran out victorious 97-79.

February 14th v Newcastle Eagles – BBL Championship

Stat line: 29 points (9-12 FG), 6 rebounds, 2 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Newcastle Eagles for the final time this season as Namon Wright exploded for a season high 29 points. Namon once again got the Riders off the mark, this time with two early free throws before knocking down a mid range jumper with 5 minutes left in the quarter. Namon went on to knock down 4-4 free throws to finish the quarter as the Riders went into the break up 26-16. The Riders continued to build on their lead in the second quarter as Wright knocked down a three with three minutes left in the quarter as the Riders headed into the half time break up 49-34. Namon made another three mid way through the third as the Riders continued to dominate heading into the final period up 71-52. Namon and the Riders exploded in the fourth quarter, Namon entered the game with 6 minutes left in the game and immediately scored a three followed by two sweet finger rolls. Namon capped a great personal and team performance with a deep three as the Riders ran out winners 101-63 in a record breaking win over the Eagles.

Season Recap: Corey Johnson

Games played: 10

Points Per Game: 12.4

Rebounds Per Game: 3.9

Assists per game: 2.1

Corey Johnson arrived in Leicester in late January after starting the season with Spanish LEB Silver side Zornotza. Johnson hit the ground running w providing the Riders with another lethal shooter from behind the three point line as well as excellent energy on the defensive end.

Johnson quickly built a reputation for himself as one of the deadliest marksmen from behind the three point line across the league after some impressive shooting displayed in his first few games for the Riders. Johnson finished the season averaging 7.9 three point field goal attempts per game and season highs of 32 points and 10 three point field goals made against the Surrey Scorchers in February. Despite impressing individually the Riders form also improved following Johnson’s arrival as they went on to win 6 of their next 7 games since he joined Coach Paternostro’s team.

Coach Paternostro knew that Corey was going to have a big impact on his team when they signed him in January. “He was someone that we had recruited in the summer so we knew him very well and knew he would impact our team. His three point shooting was very important for us, he had some big games and hit some big ones but it also really opened up the floor for our offense. We were very impressed with his energy and his ability to defend. He played excellent 1 on 1 defence and was also an excellent team defender who played with a high IQ”.

Key Performances

January 31st 2020 v London Lions – BBL Championship       

Stat line: 18 points (6-14 FG), 4 rebounds, 4 assists

In just his second game in Leicester Corey and Riders took on defending BBL Champions the London Lions at the Morningside Arena. The Riders got off to a hot start offensively and opened up a early lead as Johnson and the second unit entered the game midway through the first quarter. Johnson nailed a three as the Riders took a 20-10 lead into the quarter break. Corey  and the Riders continued to rally in the second quarter as he scored a layup on the break as the Riders extended their lead to 14 at the half. Unfortunately the Lions battled back in the third quarter as the Riders offence dried up, the gap was just 3 points heading into the final period. Corey came to life in the final period as the Riders re gained the momentum. An early three steadied the ship before he knocked down another 3 two minutes later to extend the lead back to 7 points. With the lead back at just 4 points with a minute 30 left in the ball game before aa Johnson layup made it a three shot game. Corey scored 5 points in the final minute of the game to see the Riders over the line 83-76.

February 8th v Surrey Scorchers – BBL Championship

Stat line: 32 points (11-19 FG), 5 rebounds, 4 assists

The Riders travelled to Surrey to take on the Scorchers as the two teams did battle for the first time this season. Corey Johnson put on an all time great shooting performance as he knocked down 10 3s on the way to a game high 32 points. The two teams exchanged buckets in the early stages, Johnson entered the game midway through the first period and quickly knocked down three catch and shoot threes as the Riders went into the quarter break up 3 points. Johnson’s hot shooting continued as he hit a sweet step back three to get going in the second quarter before hitting another from the top of the three as the Riders went into the half time break down just two points. The Scorchers came out the break the hotter of the two teams but another two Johnson threes out of a Coach Paternostro time out got the Riders going. Corey hit his eighth three of the night with two minutes left in the quarter but it was the Scorchers who went into the fourth quarter up 2. Corey got the Riders going in the fourth with another three to start the quarter as the Riders made a run. With the game tied with just 9 seconds to go a Namon Wright long two secured the win for the Riders on a night that would be remembered for unreal shooting performance by Corey Johnson.

Season Recap: Jordan Spencer
Games played: 10
Points Per Game: 5.30
Rebounds Per Game: 3.00
Assists per game: 6.2

Jordan Spencer joined the Leicester Riders in January after leaving German Pro A side Schalke where he started the 2019/20 season. Spencer provided the Riders with efficient minutes off the bench following his arrival as he stepped into the back up guard role previously filled by Rema Lascelles before he was side-lined with a hand injury.

Spencer’s ability to lead the team and distribute the ball became key components of the Riders offence as their form picked up following his Arrival. The Milton Keynes born Guard averaged 6.2 assists per game which was enough for 7thin the league despite coming off the bench and he also shot an excellent 85.7% from the free throw line over his 10 games for the club. Despite some impressive numbers Jordan’s importance to the Riders went beyond the stat sheet as the Riders won 6 out of their next 7 following his arrival in Leicester.

Head Coach Rob Paternostro was impressed with what Spencer brought to the team. “I thought he did very well when he came in. It gave us another excellent passer who did a great job of running the offense and being a playmaker for others. I think we won 6 out of 7 after he joined the team, his arrival gave us good balance and made everyone better.”

Key Performances

February 8th 2020 v Surrey Scorchers – BBL Championship

Stat line: 6 points, 1 rebound, 11 assists

The Riders travelled down to Surrey to take on the Scorchers for the first time this season. The game got off to a slow start with both teams trading buckets in the early exchanges. Jordan entered the game with 5 minutes left in the quarter and quickly got his first assist from a Corey Johnson three as the Riders took a slight 2 point lead into the quarter break. The second quarter began in similar fashion with the teams continuing to exchange blows, Spencer kept the Riders ticking over with a tidy assist to Andy Thomson for two before assisting another Johnson three pointer and getting in on the act himself with a sweet finger roll inside. Spencer fed Nelson-Henry inside as the Riders got going in the second half however it was the Scorchers who managed to jump out to a 9 point lead before two more Corey Johnson threes cut the deficit and another Spencer finger roll cut the gap to just two heading into the fourth quarter. The Spencer to Johnson connection continued to start the fourth as Jordan found Corey for another three ball to put the Riders back up by one. Spencer then found Nelson-Henry out on the break as the Riders made a run. However, no team was able to pull away before a Namon Wright long two gave the Riders a two point lead with 8 seconds left which was enough for the Riders to see out the game.

February 14th 2020 v Newcastle Eagles – BBL Championship

Stat line: 4 points, 4 steals, 10 assists

The Leicester Riders and Newcastle Eagles did battle for the Final time in the BBL Championship as the Riders looked to take the season series 2-0. The Riders made a quick start to the game opening up an early lead, as usual Spencer was injected into the game midway through the first quarter and continued the Riders momentum finding Ward-Hibbert for three to close our the first quarter up 26-16. In the second quarter Spencer once again found Ward-Hibbert for a score this time for an easy two in transition as the Riders continued to rally heading into the half time break up 49-34. Spencer racked up another two assists in the third quarter as he continued his fine passing display and the Riders kept up their offensive masterclass taking their lead to 21 heading into the fourth. With the gam already out of the Eagles reach the Riders didn’t slow down in the fourth playing some great team basketball which included 4 assists and a breakaway dunk on the break from Spencer as the Riders took the win 101-63.

Season Recap: Josh Ward-Hibbert
Games played: 21
Points Per Game: 10.76
Rebounds Per Game: 6.8
Assists per game: 1.3

Following a breakout season last campaign Josh Ward-Hibbert cemented himself as one of Coach Paternostro’s most consistent performers this season.

Now in his fifth season with the club Josh looks as comfortable as ever out on the court which is reflected in his career highs of 10.76 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Josh also shot the ball extremely efficiently over the course of the season shooting 54.6% from 2-point range. Ward-Hibbert also recorded 5 double doubles on the season which highlights his excellent rebounding ability for a man of his size.

Coach Paternostro was impressed with the season that Josh had despite battling injury after an excellent start to the campaign. “Josh had a great start to the season. He was playing very well scoring and rebounding at a high level but unfortunately, he picked up a knee injury which side-lined him for a while but he battled through that for the rest of the season. His game continues to develop every year. He showed that this season His shooting ball handling and playmaking continue to develop. Josh plays hard, he is the type of player that will never get out worked or out hustled, he goes 100 percent every day.”

Key Performances

September 20th v Sheffield Sharks – BBL Cup

Stat line: 19 points (7-13 FG), 14 rebounds, 4 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Sheffield Sharks at the Morningside Arena as they opened up their 2019/20 BBL Cup Campaign. Josh made an impact early collecting a couple of rebounds and finishing back to back plays inside with layups just 3 minutes into the game as the Riders won the first period 21-14. Josh sprung into life in the second period collecting 5 defensive boards and scoring 10 points as he led the Riders into the half time break up 50-28. Josh continued to rack up the rebounds in the third quarter collecting three more whilst he continued to hurt the Sharks inside scoring easy twos and getting to the foul line. The Riders dominance continued as they held a 65-40 lead going into the fourth quarter. Josh nailed a three to get the Riders going in the fourth as the Sharks tried to battle back but it wasn’t enough as the Riders ran out winners 75-54.

October 4th v Newcastle Eagles – BBL Cup

Stat line: 15 points (5-14 FG), 12 rebounds, 6 assists

The Riders took on their rivals the Newcastle Eagles at the Morningside Arena as the two teams did battle for the first time this season as Josh posted another double double. It was a high scoring first quarter as the Eagles jumped out to an early lead before the Riders battled back, Josh has a busy opening period on the glass collecting 4 offensive boards. Josh got the scoreboard moving in the second quarter scoring 2 layups and knocking down 4/4 free throws however the Eagles continued to cause the Riders troubles inside and took a 10 point lead into half time. Despite the Eagles keeping the Riders at arms length for much of the second half it was an outstanding effort from Ward-Hibbert who battles throughout racking up 8 points and 6 rebounds in the second half but unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the Eagles took the win 86-94.

February 14th v Newcastle Eagles – BBL Championship

Stat line: 18 points (8-12 FG) 10 rebounds, 3 assists

The Leicester Riders once again took on the Newcastle Eagles at the Morningside Arena as they did battle for the final time this season in the BBL Championship. It was yet another outstanding effort from Josh Ward-Hibbert who posted another double double against the Eagles. It wa an impressive first quarter from the Riders who jumped out to an early lead, Josh entered the game at the 5 minute mark and quickly scored a driving layup and a three as the Riders won the period 26-16. Josh and the Riders continued to punish the Riders inside in the second quarter with multiple easy scores in the paint as they extended their lead. A Ward-Hibbert three followed by a layup in the final minute of the half saw the Riders go into the break up 49-34. The Riders didn’t take their foot off the gas in the second half, Josh got in on the action late with an offensive rebound and put back as the Riders went into the final period up 71-52. The Riders didn’t slow down in the final period, Josh got the Riders off the mark with a strong layup inside on the break as the Riders continued to dominate running out 101-63 winners.

Season Recap: Jamell Anderson
Games played: 26
Points Per Game: 11.03
Rebounds Per Game: 4.2
Assists per game: 3.03

Jamell Anderson returned to the Riders this season fulfilling the second year of his two year contract with the club. The Nottingham born Forward is one of the most talented defensive players in the league being able to guard all positions and on most nights is tasked with guarding the opponent’s most potent offensive threat.

Anderson had arguably his best season to date in a Riders jersey over the 2019/20 season posted a season high of 23 points whilst shooting an extremely efficient 57.6% from the floor and 68% from 2 over the course of the season. Jamell also put in some outstanding defensive performances over the course of the season and averaged the most minutes per game on coach Paternostro’s roster averaging 30.04 minutes per game.

Coach Paternostro was impressed with what Jamell brought to his team this season. “I thought Jamell was rock solid for us this year, his ability to play a lot of minutes and at multipolar positions was valuable to our roster. Defensively he is as valuable as anyone in our league, he guards bigs and guards and he has the energy and stamina to be effective on that end of the floor. Offensively he was very efficient, his FG percentage and three point percentage were very good”

Despite the sudden end to the season Jamell believes the team learnt a lot and is trying to make the most out of the circumstances we currently find ourselves in due to the Coronavirus. “I think personally I enjoyed the ups and downs. I think every loss is a lesson and although we didn’t have that many I feel like as a team and me personally they were great learning points which I believe lead up to us becoming our best version this year.

Another year under Rob as a coach and I still love competing with him and of course in front of the amazing Leicester Riders fans and family.

Obviously not the way anyone expected or wanted the year to finish but I think I’ll hold my head high knowing I gave my everything when I stepped on court and will continue to do the same for the rest of my career.

Right now I don’t have a statement as such about the current situation other than I can’t commend and show my admiration and love for those fighting the effects of this pandemic. Now more than ever I share my heart and well wishes to all those effected and pray that we all find ways to get through this unusual situation we find ourselves in.

To put on a riders Jersey and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I come back stronger physically and mentally for my next opportunity to step on court.

I’m training almost every day at home and I’m reading and stretching my mind as much as possible to make sure that even under these circumstances I’m finding ways to grow and enjoy life.”

Key Performances

September 29th 2019 v Manchester Giants – BBL Cup

Stat Line: 21 points (8-12 FG), 5 rebounds, 2 steals

The Leicester Riders travelled up to Manchester to take on the Giants as they looked to move to 3-0 on the season. Jamell made a quick start of the game knocking down a three early in the first quarter before finishing a fast break with a dunk to ended the lead to 7 points. Jamell knocked down another three with two minutes left in the second quarter as the Riders went into the half time break up 20-44. The Giants tried to make a run early in the third quarter but the Riders came back at them at the end of the period behind a late 4 points on the break from Jamell off two sweet dimes from Kyron Cartwright. The Giants were unable to mount a comeback in the fourth as the Riders ran out 57-96 winners behind a game high 21 from Jamell.

November 8th 2019 v Glasgow Rocks – BBL Cup

Stat line: 20 points (5-10 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist

The Riders took on the Glasgow Rocks at the Morningside Arena after defating them up in Scotland earlier in the season. Jamell made a quick start scoring 8 of the Riders first 10 points of the game as the Riders took a 6 point lead into the quarter break. The Riders went in a tear in the second quarter as they won the period 29-16, Jamell made his contribution to the run scoring 7 points including another three from the corner. The Riders dominance continued in the second half as they won the third and fourth quarters despite being out of sight, Jamell knocked down another three and finished strong three times on the break as the Riders ran our victorious 93-58.

December 6th 2019 v Plymouth Raiders – BBL Championship

Stat line: 23 points (9-10 FG), 9 rebounds, 2 steals

Jamell and the Riders took on the Plymouth Raiders at the Morningside Arena in their opening fixture of the BBL Championship. Anderson knocked down a three on the opening possession of the ball game to get the Riders going before slamming one down on the break just a minute later. Anderson then knocked down a pair of three throws and scored a neat layup inside to give the Riders a slight two point lead at the end of the first quarter. The Riders continued to put the pressure on I the second quarter extending their lead to 12 at the half. Plymouth made a quick start to the second half but a Jamell layup steadied the ship and got the Riders going, despite the Raiders closing the gap to just 8 heading into the final period. Jamell helped the Riders extend the lead at the beginning of the fourth scoring two floating layups as the Riders pulled away once again, this time it was too late for a Raiders fightback as the Riders ran out victorious 97-79.

Riders fans pick Team of the Decade

A big thank you to all the Riders fans who voted this last week, the public votes are all in for the Fans Team of the Decade!

A huge thank you is owed to all the players who have contributed to the club over the past 10 years, they have all played a part in the most successful period of the clubs’ history under the guidance of our most successful coach, Rob Paternostro.

The combined impressions from the vote posts reached over 41,000 people. We had 2,600 votes cast by fans before the Monday 9am deadline on both Twitter and Instagram platforms.

🔥🔥🔥 And here it is… after 2600 votes… the Fans Team of the Decade as voted for by you on Twitter & Instagram!

1 – @Con_Air11 
2 – @BernardiniTyler 
3 – @Jamell_A 
4 – Pierre Hampton
5 – @DeuceBeGoinIn #BritishBasketball

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) April 6, 2020

Conner Washington

With 39% percent of the vote Conner is a firm fans favourite in a tough field of options with the likes of Cameron Rundles, Zaire Taylor and Neil Watson in his category. Current GB International, Conner won 10 major trophies making 261 appearances for the Riders.

Tyler Bernardini

Former club captain, won the vote with 56% of fans voting for Tyler. Bernardini has an impressive trophy to game ratio having picked up 8 major trophies in just 167 appearances for the Riders.

Jamell Anderson

The popular forward won more votes than any other player with 299 (equated to 49% of the vote for the three spot). Jamell has been a regular fixture for the Riders with 274 appearances collecting 7 trophies.

Pierre Hampton

Pierre won the four spot with 44% of the vote. Pierre played 114 times for the Riders having 231 assists, and won 7 trophies during that time.

Rashad Hassan

Rashad won the closest category winning with 28% percent of the vote ahead of Tim Williams, Shane Walker and Andy Thomson who were all within a handful of votes. Hassan had 634 rebounds in 86 games with Leicester, that’s 7.4 a game!

Congratulations to all the players involved in the fans vote – we hope to see you all at the Morningside Arena sometime soon.

Season Recap: Rema Lascalles
Games played: 9
Points Per Game: 2.6
Rebounds Per Game: 2.8
Assists Per Game: 4.4

British Guard Rema Lascelles returned for his third season with the Riders this summer after winning four pieces of silverware in that time.

Lascelles’ battled injury throughout the 2019/20 season only playing 9 games across all competitions, despite this he still contributed his usual steady minutes at the back up guard position and was always reliable when called upon by coach Paternostro. Although he only played 9 games Rema averaged a career high 4.4 assists per game, had a season high 11 assists and posted a double double against the Glasgow Rocks when the Riders were without starting Guard Kyron Cartwright.

Coach Paternostro highlighted Lascelles as a big miss for the Riders during some important games in their schedule. “It was unfortunate that Rema picked up the hand injury, it really affected his season and ours. We missed him in some important games, When healthy he helped us win games. Early in the season when we played Glasgow and Kyron was injured he produced and came up with an excellent performance.”

Key Performances

October 20th 2019 v Glasgow Rocks – BBL Cup

Stat line: 13 points (5/5 FG), 4 rebounds, 11 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Glasgow Rocks north of the border as Rema Lascelles was inserted into the starting line up as Kyron Cartwright remained on the side line injured. It didn’t take long for Rema to get involved in the action as he drove to the basketed for a smooth layup before finding Namon Wright open for three in transition. Rema capped off the quarter splitting a pair of free throws as the Riders went into the quarter break up 17-21. The Riders came out hot in the second quarter with Lascelles pulling the strings, finding Chuku for three before Nelson-Henry and Thomson inside for easy twos. Lascelles then made a three of his own before finding Joe Scott for the Riders third three of the quarter which took them into the half time break up 18. With the Riders out of sight at the half Lascelles kept the team ticking over in the second half scoring another 6 points and handing out 4 dimes as the Riders cruised to a 66-88 win over the rocks.

November 8th 2019 v Glasgow Rocks – BBL Cup

Stat line: 4 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Glasgow Rocks at the Morningside Arena as they looked to move 2-0 on the season against the Rocks. Despite coming off the bench this time Rema’s influence on the game remained as important as in the reverse fixture. Up by 6 at the end of the first quarter the Riders made a run in the second as Lascelles got the Riders going on the break with two sweet assists to Darien Nelson-Henry to give the Riders a 20 point half time lead. It was more of the same from the Riders and Lascelles who knocked down two more free throws and handed out 3 assists in the period as the Riders were cruising ahead 79-48. It was a low scoring fourth period with the Riders winning it 14-10 which meant the Riders sealed a 93-58 victory.

Team of The Decade

This week on Twitter we are polling the 2010-2020 Team of the Decade!

We have five spots available, one for each position. We have narrowed the players down to just four for each spot and need your help in voting for which players you’d like to see in the Team of the Decade.

We’ll leave the deciding factors up to you whether its the ten trophies for Conner Washington, 2685 points from Drew Sullivan or 172 blocks in 117 games from Trayvonn Wright! It’s now in your hands!

Monday we are starting with the point guards so keep an out on our twitter feed!

📣 Calling all Riders fans! 

We need your help to pick our Team of the Decade – first up the point guard spot… Vote on the thread below 👇

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) March 30, 2020

📣 Calling all Riders fans! 

We need your help to pick our Team of the Decade – next up the shooting guard spot… Vote on the thread below 👇

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) March 31, 2020

📣 Calling all Riders fans! 

We need your help to pick our Team of the Decade – next up is the three spot… Vote on the thread below 👇

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) April 1, 2020

📣 Calling all Riders fans! 

We need your help to pick our Team of the Decade – next up is the four spot… Vote on the thread below 👇

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) April 2, 2020

📣 Calling all Riders fans! 

We need your help to pick our Team of the Decade – completing the starting five is the center… Vote on the thread below 👇

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) April 3, 2020

Season Recap: Jesse Chuku
Games played: 26
Points Per Game: 8.46
Rebounds Per Game: 4.34
Blocks Per Game: 1.00

6’8 British Forward Jesse Chuku joined the Riders for the 2019/20 season following an 8-year stint plying his trade abroad in the USA, Greece and Spain.

The Lehigh University alumni brought an ability to stretch the floor on the offensive end this season with his sweet shooting stroke but he also brought an intensity on the defensive end averaging 1 block per game across all competitions. Although not a high volume scorer Chuku did have a season high of 22 points and shot the ball efficient all season shooting 45% from the field and 75% from the free throw line.

Coach Paternostro highlighted Jesse’s rim protection as a key ingredient to his teams success this season. “Jesse ability to defend the paint and protect the rim was very important for our team His size, length, and strength allowed him to defend anyone inside. He also has the ability to stretch the defence with his shooting ability which creates space inside for others to create.”

Chuku said that he enjoyed the challenge of competing everyday with this team. “I really enjoyed playing with this group of guys this season, we had a lot of fun strived to improve as individuals and as a team each and every day. We had a few good runs throughout the season and I feel we we’re just starting to play our best basketball when the season got postponed. It’s a shame the season has been postponed due to coronavirus but I am using the time to relax and recover in isolation as the season takes its toll on you mentally and physically.”

Key Performances

October 20th 2019 v Glasgow Rocks – BBL Cup

Stat Line: 21 points (7/11 FG), 6 rebounds, 3 steals

The Leicester Riders put on an impressive performance as they defeated the Glasgow Rocks on the road behind a game high 21 points from British Forward Jesse Chuku. Chuku got going early making 2/2 free throws to get himself off the mark with 4 minutes gone in the first period before knocking down a mid range jumper followed by a three to put the Riders up by 8. A further 7 points in the second period combined with some excellent defence around the basket propelled the Riders to a 18 point half time lead. It was more of the same from the Riders in the second half, Chuku was once again shooting the ball with his usual efficiency as he knock down another mid range jumper and a three as the Riders won the quarter by 6. With the Riders already out of sight by the fourth quarter not even a late run from the rocks was enough to trouble them as they ran out victorious 66-88.

October 26th 2019 v Manchester Giants – BBL Cup

Stat Line: 21 points (10/10 FG), 5 rebounds, 1 block

The Leicester Riders took on the Manchester Giants at the Morningside Arena as the teams met for the second time in the BBL Cup North group. It was a perfect shooting night for Chuku who knocked down all 10 of his field goal attempts for what was a joint season high of 21 points. What made Jesse’s perfect shooting night even more impressive was that only 2 of his points were around the basket the other 19 all came from mid range jumpers or three point field goals. Chuku’s 21 led the Riders in scoring as they defeated the Giants 102-70.

December 15th 2020 v Cheshire Phoenix – BBL Championship

Stat Line: 22 points (8/12 FG), 5 rebounds, 1 block

Jesse Chuku had his highest points tally of the season against the Cheshire Phoenix as the Riders unfortunately fell on the road. Chuku surpassed his previous season high of 21 points which he has reached on 2 occasions by pouring in 22 points against the Phoenix. The Londoner once again displayed his sweet shooting touch scoring several midrange jumpers and 2 threes as he caused trouble for the Nix all night. Unfortunately, another efficient performance from Jesse wasn’t enough as the Riders fell to the Phoenix 95-91 on the road.