Wolves snap Riders win streak in an overtime thriller

This game was a second of a back to back against the Wolves, with both games being won in dramatic fashion. After Corey Johnson’s game-winning three on Friday, this game was set up to be another instant classic, and it certainly delivered. Lamarr Kimble, who scored 24 points in his team’s loss in the last game, hit a game-winner in overtime, after a 12 point Riders comeback in the fourth quarter, led by an inspired performance from Conner Washington. 

With Geno Crandall, Leicester’s leading scorer, fouling out with 20 points midway through the fourth, Washington checked into the game to score nine points in the final four minutes, willing his team back into the game. He finished with 15, his final points tying the game with three seconds left in overtime. However, the Riders fell just short, calling an end to an all-time great back-to-back matchup. 

Kimble scored eight in overtime, displaying nerves of steel to come up huge for his team. He and Brandon Anderson, who led Worcester in points with 21, led the way for the Wolves, as they pushed the table-topping Riders all the way for the second straight game. 

This game started where the last one left off, with both teams battling in a tightly contested affair. The teams exchanged blows early, as the Wolves continued their assault on the rim from Friday night, getting the lion’s share of their points down low. Worcester had 21 first-quarter points with just two threes, with Mike Parks Jr. leading the charge with seven in the quarter. 

Geno Crandall was aggressive early to respond to the hot Wolves start. He had eight in the first quarter, and his defensive intensity was on full display, stealing the ball twice in the first. With help from Crandall’s offensive display, the Riders finished the quarter down 24-20. 

After a high scoring first quarter, defence reigned supreme for both sides in the second. There were eight total points in the first half of the quarter, and open looks were few and far between. With the offence’s drying up, the importance of hustle and intensity was magnified, as the Riders battled for extra possessions. Leicester came up with three offensive rebounds in a minute, before Jamell Anderson got the lid off the basket, throwing the ball down after a dish by Crandall. 

After a gritty end to the first half, the game remained in the balance. Daniel Johnson-Thompson banked the ball in from midrange to end the half with the Wolves up 36-33. 

Mustafa Heron showed a glimpse of his potential scoring the Riders’ first five of the second half to give Leicester the lead. His three from the corner put the Riders up two, despite a foul knocking him out of bounds. Flying out the gates, Heron’s hot start lit a spark in the Riders’ offence, but as was the afternoon’s theme, it was Worcester’s turn to climb back into the game. Big threes from Brandon Anderson and Kimble retook the lead for the Wolves, as the game continued to swing back and forth. A Wolves run to end the third meant the game was poised for another intense finale, with seven points separating the teams. 

Despite five quick points by Crandall to start the final quarter, the Riders fell down by nine. The Wolves locked down on defence, denying any access to the rim and forcing the Riders to shoot from range. With Crandall fouling out midway through the fourth quarter, the Wolves took the first double-digit lead of the game. 

With their leading scorer sidelined, the Riders faced a tremendous task to get back into the game. They showed grit and determination, led by Washington running the point, cutting the lead from 12 to three with one minute on the clock. With 30 seconds remaining, Washington found a cutting Nelson-Henry who went to the line, and made the first of his two free throws to send the game to overtime with the score at 74-74.

In overtime, the Riders focused their offence down low, feeding Nelson-Henry. He had six of Leicester’s eight points in the period. With the score at 82-80 in the Wolves favour, Washington drove to the hoop and threw up a layup over the taller defender, banking it in to tie the game. With three seconds on the clock, the Wolves had a chance to win. Lamar Kimble took the ball baseline to shoot from deep in the midrange, hitting nothing but net and winning the game for the Wolves in yet another nailbiting conclusion. 

The loss for the Riders puts an end to an 11 game winning streak, bringing their record to 14-2. They still sit top of the BBL Championship table, and will head down to Cheshire on Friday in the hopes of returning to winning ways.


Anderson 21, Kimble 17, Parks Jr. 15, Williams 14, Bowknecht 8, Elan 5, Johnson-Thompson 4


Crandall 20, Washington 15, Nelson Henry 9, Anderson 9, Fraser 9, Johnson 7, Heron 7, Lee 6

Preview: Riders at Wolves

The Leicester Riders and Worcester Wolves go head to head once again this afternoon, this time at the University of Worcester Arena.

Season So Far – Riders

After Friday night’s win over the Wolves in front of of the Sky Sports Cameras at the Morningside Arena the Leicester Riders now sit with a 14-1 record at the top of the BBL Championship. Friday’s game was a tightly contested affair with a Corey Johnson three securing the win for the Riders with 2 seconds left on the clock. Riders will be looking to continue their winning run this afternoon in their first of three road games on the bounce.

Season So Far – Wolves

Despite picking up their third loss on the bounce on Friday night in Leicester the Worcester Wolves showed plenty of fight as the game went down to the final possession. American Guard Lamarr Kimble had a season high 24 points as 4 Wolves scored in double digits. Despite the loss Coach Newby will have found plenty of positive to take into this afternoons match up.

Ones to Watch

New signing Mustapha Heron had a solid debut for the Riders on Friday Night contributing 6 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist. Heron showed Riders fans glimpses of what’s to come with a ferocious slam on the break for his first score as a professional. With a game under his belt Heron will be looking for another positive performance this afternoon as the Riders look to continue their winning run.

Lamarr Kimble scored a season high 23 points on Friday night leading the Wolves in scoring. Kimble showed a nice shooting stroke knocking down 4 threes as well as an ability to get into the lane and finish over taller defenders. Riders will need to slow down Kimble’s production this afternoon if they are to leave Worcester with the W.

Previous Meeting

The Riders took the win 82-81 over the Wolves at the Morningside Arena on Friday Night. Corey Johnson led the charge for the Riders with 17 points including the clutch three to win the game for the Riders. A win this afternoon would secure the head to head for the Riders before the two teams meet for the final time this season in April.

How To Watch

Riders fans will also be able to tune in free of charge via the Worcester Wolves Youtube Channel.

Corey Johnson’s clutch three seals victory over Wolves

Corey Johnson came up with a huge shot in the clutch, draining a three with two seconds remaining to beat the Worchester Wolves. It was his 17th points of the night, leading the team and hitting two huge threes in the fourth quarter to keep the Riders’ 11 game winning streak alive. Geno Crandall also played well on both ends, recording a double-double with 13 points and 11 assist, along with four steals and two blocks. 

It was a hard-fought game from wire to wire, with neither team able to shake the other. The game was within single digits from the tip and came down to the final shot, a real spectacle for the Sky Sports cameras. Lamarr Kimble helped the Wolves push the Riders to the end, with a season-high 24 points. He showed nerves of steal in the clutch, scoring 13 fourth quarter points, including clutch free-throws to put his team up three with less than a minute remaining. 

The game was a chance for Rider fans to get their first look at new signing Mustafa Heron, who took flight to kick-off his BBL debut. His first points as a Rider coming by the means of a huge dunk over Jordan Williams on the fast break. Heron finished with six points and four rebounds in a solid performance as he settles into BBL life. 

A back and forth first quarter made for an entertaining beginning to the game, with the teams matching each other’s offensive success. The Riders had their three-ball falling early, shooting three for five in the first quarter, while the Wolves had great success attacking the rim, going eight for 13 from two. 

Geno Crandall took over at the end of the first, dishing a flashy bounce pass down low to Ali Fraser, before using Fraser’s screen on the next play to drive to the rim and throw it down with both hands. He scored four points with an assist in the last two minutes of the first, to send the teams in tied at 23. 

The Wolves, beginning to stretch their lead, continued to attack the rim in the second quarter. Crandall’s defensive efforts, including two chase-down blocks in the quarter, kept the Riders within single digits, however, 16 points in the quarter between Lamar Kimble, Jordan Williams and Daniel Johnson-Thompson put Worcester up 6. 

A timeout by Rob Paterostro with four and a half minutes left in the half stemmed the tide, allowing the Riders to switch their focus offensively and begin to work down low themselves. Hook shots from Darien Nelson-Henry and Crandall kept the game within reach for the Riders, and a Conner Washington three ended the half, with the teams going into the locker rooms with the Wolves up 46-40. 

Coming out of the half, a three from Johnson followed by a quick steal and dunk by Jamal Anderson flipped the momentum in the Riders favour, down just three points early in the second half. The ball began to move fluidly through the Riders offence, as they played deep into the shot clock to find the open man. 

Defensively, Leicester began to stop the Wolves from getting to the rim, cutting off the driver with help defence and forcing them into outside shots. The defensive efforts were led by intense defensive pressure from Crandall, who turned his attention to taking the ball away, snatching two steals in the third quarter. A basket from Nelson-Henry took the lead for the Riders with two minutes left in the third, for the first time since midway through the second quarter, and the teams would enter the fourth with Leicester up 60-55. 

Big threes down the stretch kept the Wolves at arms length, as the Riders attempted to bring the game home. However, big late plays by the Wolves late brought Worcester back into the game. They took a two-point lead with 1:42 left in the game. 

A vital score in close by Nelson-Henry with 25 seconds left brought the Riders within one, to give him for his 16th points of the night. A costly Wolves lane violation gave Leicester a chance to tie or win with 17 seconds left. Corey Johnson stepped up to knock down a huge three to give the Riders a one-point lead with two seconds left, and Maarten Bouwknecht missed a midrange jumper at the buzzer to secure a Riders win. 

The win for the Riders improves their record to 13-1, stretching their lead at the top of the BBL Championship table. They are now enjoying an 11 game winning streak and will hope to continue their hot form in the second game of this back-to-back, in Worcester on Sunday. 


Johnson 17, Nelson-Henry 16, Crandall 13, Fraser 8, Falzon 7, Heron 6, Washington 3


Kimble 24, Anderson 15, Williams 13, Parks Jnr. 12, Bouwknecht 9, Elan 4, Johnson-Thompson- 4

Preview: Riders v Wolves

The Leicester Riders take on the Worcester Wolves in the BBL Championship on Friday evening in front of the Sky Sports cameras in the first meeting between the two sides this season.

Season So Far – Riders 

A win on the road over the Giants leaves the Riders top the BBL Championship table, sitting with a 13-1 record and six points clear. Riders are enjoying a ten-game winning streak in the BBL Championship. Suffocating defence has been the key to the Riders momentum, they currently hold the second best defensive record in the league allowing teams just 75.9 points per game.

Season so far – Wolves

The Wolves get set for the Riders looking to shrug off two tough losses to the Cheshire Phoenix and Plymouth Raiders. Currently sitting with a record of 5-8 the Wolves are still searching for consistency in the BBL Championship. Jordan Williams had an impressive performance in the Wolves’ last game, charting a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds. Worcester will hope this play will continue and spread throughout the team as they face the challenge of a home and away double-header.

Ones to watch

Shooting Guard Corey Johnson poured in 24 points for the Riders to take the win in their last game, beating the Giants 77-91. Shooting the 3 at a 39% clip, while attempting 6.8 per game, makes Johnson a threat to explode at any moment. He showed this in his last performance, leading the Riders on a 13-3 run after the half, putting up 7 points in only two and a half minutes. Johnson’s sniping from deep dates to his college career. He spent four years at Harvard, averaging 7.2 points per game, putting up 9.8 points per game as a freshman. Johnson’s high volume but efficient 3 ball, 38% on 5.2 attempts per game, being the weapon of choice he continues to utilise now for the Riders. Standing at 6’5” at the guard position, Johnson’s size and length make him an asset on both sides of the floor.

Worcester Wolves Guard Brandon Anderson has been a key piece to Coach Newby’s team since his arrival. Spending four years playing NCAA Division 1 basketball for Ivy League Brown University, Anderson averaged 12.9 points per game, hitting over 17 points per game in both the 2017-18 and 2019-20 season. In his final year at Harvard, he led his team in points, steals and minutes, averaging 17.7 points, 3.0 assists, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. In the 6’1” guard’s debut season with the Wolves he is averaging 15 points per game on 24.2 minutes per game, starting three of nine times. Anderson’s is shooting the ball well to scoring at an impressive 49% rate from beyond the arc while averaging 3.9 attempts per game. Anderson will look to continue his impressive start to life in the BBL on Friday night.

Previous meeting

This Friday sees the first time the Riders and Wolves have met this season. The two sides have not taken the court together in over a year, the last time being on the 17th of January 2020. The game was a tight contest, finishing with a Riders win with a score of 91-87 as they fought off a late game Wolves resurgence.

How to watch

Although the game will be played behind closed doors, this match will be shown live on Sky Sports at 7:00pm on channels Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports Arena. 

Riders fans will also be able to tune in via BBL Player by purchasing a one game pass for just £4.99. Riders Season Ticket Holders will be able to watch the game free of charge by logging into their BBL Player account.

Thank you Oliver and Hinriksdottir

Leicester Riders can confirm that both Kate Oliver and Sara Hinriksdottir will return to their home countries and miss the remainder of the WBBL season. 

Both players provided great contributions and standout performances for the Riders programme. However, due to circumstances surrounding the pandemic, Riders have agreed to release them from their contracts and are fully supportive of both players returning to their home countries of Australia and Iceland. 

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented: “I wish these two players the very best in their careers and would like to thank them for the efforts and success they brought to the team.”

Hinriksdottir joined the Leicester Riders in the 2019-2020 season and stood out from the start. The Icelandic guard earned the 2020 WBBL Trophy Final MVP award after leading the Riders with a game-high 23 points and seven rebounds.

Her all-round display, whether that was from spins, step throughs, pull-ups or threes, have made her a difficult matchup in the league. This season alone, Sara averaged 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game, as well as winning the WBBL Cup championship. 

“I’ve loved my time with the Leicester Riders and I am very sad to leave” commented Hinriksdottir. “This is not how I wanted to end my time here, but returning home and playing in Iceland is the best decision for me right now.”

“I wish the team more success this season and would like to thank everyone for an amazing experience in England.”

Oliver arrived at the Riders during the 2017-2018 campaign and has provided leadership and consistency over the years. The three-time MVP played a key role in three consecutive Trophy titles and recently the WBBL Cup championship, where she had 18 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and two steals. 

During this regular-season, the Australian forward averaged 14.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and three steals per game. Notably, the captain made the 2020-21 WBBL All-Star Five selection on five occasions. 

Kate Oliver commented: “I am gutted to be leaving Riders without one last chance at finishing the season with a championship title. But I do not doubt that the team will remain competitive and continue to showcase the hard work and determination they have put in this year.”

“It has been an absolute pleasure to play for Leicester Riders in the WBBL the last four years. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making it such an incredible experience.”

The whole Riders programme would like to echo Russell’s comments and wish both Kate and Sara safe travels and the very best in their future endeavours.  

Heron excited to get going

Riders new signing Mustapha Heron spoke to riders.basketball ahead of tonight’s Sky game with Worcester Wolves.

“I’m amped to be joining the team! It feels great to finally be back to playing basketball,” commented Heron who will make his professional debut with the Riders.

“As a rookie coming in I’m just ready to get to work and bring another winning mindset aboard.”

“The only thing I’m not happy about is fans not being able to actually see us in person at the moment but I’m still excited for the unbelievable support!”

The Connecticut native joins the Leicester roster with the Riders placed in first spot at 13-1 in the BBL championship.

Heron joins Riders

Leicester Riders have acted swiftly to add American Mustapha Heron to their table-topping squad.

The Connecticut-born player started his college career at Auburn where he scored in double figures in every game but one in his freshman year, leading the team in scoring with 15.2 points per game and rebounding with 6.1 rebounds per game. At the end of the 2016-17 season, he was named to the SEC All-Freshman team.

Heron was selected as the SEC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for weeks 9 and 12 during his second season at Auburn, averaging 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore.

After making the switch from Auburn to St. John’s, Heron helped lead the team to its first NCAA tournament since 2015, averaged 14.6 points per game as a junior, shooting 40.3 percent from beyond the arc.

“I have followed Mustapha for a long time,” revealed Rob Paternostro. “He is a big time talent on both ends of the floor and is a versatile wing with good size and strength.” 

“He can play multiple positions on offence and defence, and has shown the ability to make plays from many different spots on the court.”

“We are from the same city, and everyone who I have ever spoken to in Waterbury has nothing but great things to say about him both on and off the court .”

“We are really excited to work with him and believe he will fit in well with the group we have.”

Leicester, who sit 13-1 in the BBL championship, decided to make a switch after it was revealed Zach Jackson will be out for the season with injury.

“It’s tough to lose Zach,” reflected head coach Rob Paternostro.

“Our team is playing with a nice rhythm at the moment so this will be challenging for the group. Zach has been great to work with, over the last few months he has been struggling with his injury which has limited what he can do, but he still has been a winning player / teammate, who has done so much for the group. We will miss him.”

The Riders organisation would like to wish Zach all the best in his recovery and hope to see him back in a Riders shirt at some point in the future.

Riders Fall to Storm

Hoping to keep their winning momentum in play after their last game, Riders put on a show against Hemel Storm.  

With a slow start, the Riders fought hard against Storm , who battled throughout the game to clam their victory. 

Working to close the gap, Riders edged closer to Storm, ending the first half with 33-37.  They continued to push throughout the final half, being incredibly strong in the final quarter. However,  at the final hurdle it just wasn’t enough to pip Storm to the post losing the game by just 3 points in the final seconds. 

Jonas Dieterich and Greg Wild led with 21 points each for Loughborough Riders, with  Kyle Jimenez leading the assists (9). 

Head Coach Mark Jarram commentated “Another great competitive game with lots of teachable moments. We have to focus on being more consistent for the duration of the 40 minutes, at the moment we fluctuate too much which creates different runs on both sides of the ball. We look forward to working on this.” 


Riders: Dieterich 21, Wild 21, Jimenez 10, Ndoukou 6, Bielak 5, Ntifo 4, Gugza 3, Hayden 2, Morrell 2, Oputa 2.

Storm:  Poleon 22, Adeluola 20, Williams 18, Oyefusi 13, Abdul 4, Lewis 2.

Captains Log: Another great week for Riders

It was another great week for the Riders! 

Not only did we win against rivals Newcastle, but they also dropped one to Sheffield, again. That, along with a London loss to Cheshire, proved to be a massive week in terms of league standing for us. 

The Newcastle game was a tight one until the end, as almost all Riders/Eagles matchups are… we proved to be more resilient this time, however, managing to finish the game with a great run to expand the lead and secure the home win. The game was filled with highlights, and I was lucky to be on the receiving end of one of Geno’s more epic passes. Willy Lee had another awesome put back, and, if I must say, my dunk at the end wasn’t too shabby either! 

This momentum was carried into the Manchester gym on Sunday. While the game started out a little rocky, we knew the ridiculous shots they were making were not sustainable. After our last display against them, we had something to prove — and I think we did just that — managing to hold them to some 30 points less this time around. A fairly incident-free game was capitalized by Geno’s insane dunk in the final minutes. May I say, dunk of the year?! 

All in all, another great weekend for The Riders. We are looking forward to a longer week of practice, as it feels like we’ve been playing an NBA schedule as of late. We are also looking forward to the double-header against Worcester this weekend, with a home Sky game to start it all off. Whoever they bring out surely won’t do as good a job as our very own Geno Crandall up in Newcastle last Friday night. 

Once again, thank you for the continued support! And as always, Go Riders!

Your captain, Darien Nelson-Henry

Coach Rob: I’m delighted with our performances

We got a couple of nice wins in the last week and I was delighted with the performances.

Whenever we play Newcastle it is always a big occasion, and I was pleased with the response from the team. It is always a tough, tight affair when we play them, but I thought we responded very well with everything they threw at us. The fact they were without Justin Gordon meant it was a real opportunity for us, and we needed to take advantage.

I thought we had more energy than them, but it was not a perfect game for us by any means. When we can get Darien going this season it is always a huge plus, and it was very efficient all night keeping the pressure on their big guys. It was a great birthday present for him. In these games you always have to play to the last minute, and I thought we did that very well.

Against the Giants on Sunday, we went into that game with our previous match-up at the front of our thinking. It is not often we give up over 100 points to an opponent, so we knew we had to learn from that experience.We knew we had to be better on defence, and more intelligent on how we responded to their tactics. Credit to them, the Giants made some big shots in the first half, but we felt good about it, because they were under pressure doing it.

At halftime, when we talked about it, we knew we could wear them down, and we played a lot smarter. Geno Crandall was on three fouls, but still pretty fresh, so he was always going to be a handful in the second half.Without William Lee, it gave more of an opportunity to Jamell Anderson, and he is perfect for the situation. He did not put up a lot of points, but he was tremendous on defence, marking four positions at various times. And Geno in the second half does what Geno does, putting tremendous pressure on the Giants every time the ball is in his hands. Corey Johnson hit big shots when we needed him, and our interior players took it to the basket.I was particularly pleased for Ali Fraser because he got a good run and showed what he can do. We got contributions from a lot of guys which is really important.

Riders through to the WBBL Trophy Semifinal

A WBBL Trophy Semifinal awaits for the Leicester Riders, as they stormed to a 81-57 Quarter Final victory over the Oakland Wolves in an impressive display from start to finish.

The Wolves were aggressive from the offset and pushed the Riders to a well-earned victory. They did a great job defending Oliver in the first quarter, restricting her to just 2 points, but with Sara Hinriksdottir in relentless form early on the Riders pulled ahead in the first 5 minutes and lead the rest of the game. Hinriksdottir scored 8 points and made an assist in the first quarter.

From then on, the Riders dominated with Oliver completing a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds. Holly Winterburn came into the game in good form with a double-double in her last game, and repeated the feat again today. After 9 points 8 rebounds to retain control of the game first 2 quarters, she cruised to 21 points and 11 rebounds by the end of the 4th quarter. Gaskin lead the game with 3 blocks, and Ainge bossed the play from range with 3 from 3 in 3-pointers.

Uprus notched an impressive 22 points for the Wolves, and Milligan made it hard for the Riders with 11 rebounds, but their valiant effort was not enough to beat the Riders. The Rider’s 14 points from turnovers, and 43% field goal ratio to Wolves’ 27% told the story of the game. With both teams short on players coming into the game – neither filling the bench – it was a competitive bout from start to finish, but the Rider’s clinical quality shone through.


Oliver 23, Winterburn 21, Ainge 12, Hinriksdottir 10, Robb 4, Januszewska 4, Gaskin 3, Morris 3, Lappenkuper 1.


Uprus 22, Rouse 13, Sarson 7, Carter 6, Boros 5, Milligan 4.

The Riders will be back in action with the WBBL Trophy Semifinal ahead of them, thanks to today’s hard-fought victory.

A commanding second half sees Riders conquer Giants

Corey Johnson went off for 24 points with five threes to lead the team to a 91-77 win against the Giants. Corey Johnson, Geno Crandall and Dairen Nelson-Henry each scored in double-digits, combining for 57 points. The trio have now scored 184 of the Riders 281 points over the last three games, to help Leicester stretch their league winning streak to ten. This streak has catapulted the Riders to the best record in the BBL, with the win moving the Riders to a 13-1 record, six points clear at the top of the table. 

It wasn’t smooth sailing throughout, however, with Justin Satchell in his bag early for Manchester. He followed up his 25 point Giants debut in his previous game with a 15 point first half, to keep the game close by halftime. Bulgarian international Alex Ouande, who averaged 20 points a game in Italy last season, also had a big game for the Giants, scoring a season-high 20 points off the bench. 

The Riders set the defensive tone early, with Jamal Anderson getting a block and a steal on the first two Giants possessions. However, the first quarter developed into a battle between the Riders frontcourt and the Giants backcourt. Sam Cassel Jnr, son of three-time NBA champion Sam Cassell Snr, and Satchell went off early, making multiple tough shots off the dribble over Riders defenders to help Manchester jump out to a 10 point lead. They had 17 of the Giants 23 first-quarter points. 

The Riders responded with play from Nelson-Henry and Ali Fraser, who started out aggressive down low. They had six points each in the first quarter, both with their back to the basket playing bully ball at the rim. The big men led Leicester back into the game to end the quarter just three points down. Nelson-Henry had a dominant game on the glass in the absence of the Giants’ starting big man Breaon Brady.

Corey Johnson took over the tie to start the second, scoring seven points in the first two and a half minutes of the quarter to lead the Riders on a 13-3 run. The Riders took their first lead of the game, but the Giants kept the score close, going into the half with the Riders up 40-41. 

After being sidelined for much of the first half due to foul trouble, it was Crandall’s turn to run the offence coming out of the half. He had nine points in the third quarter, including two and-one plays, to earn the Riders some breathing room. They went into the final quarter up eight, a lead they would not surrender. 

Leicester kicked on from a strong third quarter, stretching the lead to double digits and never looking back. With Giants big-man David Ulph in foul trouble, the Riders attacked the rim to great effect to see the game home. Crandall put an exclamation point on the win, reaching the 20 point mark by throwing a huge dunk over Giants’ young star Franklin Agu. 

The win strengthens the Riders’ position at the top of the table, as they head home to play the Worcester Wolves on Sky Sports on Friday. 


Johnson 24, Crandall 21, Nelson-Henry 12, Fraser 11, Anderson 7, Jackson 7 Washington 5, Falzon 4


Ouandie 20, Satchell 17, Cassell Jr 12, Whelan 7, Ulph 6, Powell 5

Preview: Riders at Giants

Season So Far – Riders

A hard-fought victory at home to the Eagles in their last game put the Riders four points clear at the top of the BBL Championship table, with a 12-1 record. Holding their opponents to 75.8 points per game, their defence is the best in the league, and it was on full display in their last games. Riders held the third-best offence in the league to 75 points, suffocating their opponents by playing up on the perimeter players and making everything difficult. This style of high-pressure defence results in a lot of steals for the Riders, allowing their athletic stars to shine on the fast break. 

Season So For- Giants

The Giants come off the back of a commanding 20 point blowout win to the Worcester Wolves on Friday night, breaking a five-game league losing streak. Four Giants players scored in double digits, led by 25 points from Justin Satchell, to bring their record to 6-8. They sit seventh in the BBL Championship and will hope to put together a string of good performances, to solidify their position in a playoff spot. 

Ones to watch

Against the Eagles in his most recent game, Aaron Falzon had his season-high of ten points, draining key threes to keep his team in control of the game. Falzon spent four years at college in the NCAA Division 1, with three years at Northwestern, averaging nine points per game in his freshman year, before transferring to Quinnipiac for his senior year, where he averaged eight points per game. Playing in his first pro year, Falzon is a stretch four who can shoot the ball with great efficiency. He is shooting 39% from three on the year, and his length and quickness make him an asset on the defensive side of the floor also. Falzon will hope to build off his season high performance with another big game in this one. 

Breaon Brady has been a dominant force inside for the Giants, averaging a double-double on the season. Graduating out of Houston College in the NCAA Division 1, Brady plays bully-ball under the basket, generating his offence in the post, with a jump-hook he can hit from deep outside the restricted area. Should he be double-teamed, he has great passing ability out the post, and he’s is a great rebounder too, averaging 11 a game to go with his 17 points. An undersized big-man, Brady can move his feet quickly to guard smaller defenders and get across to help defensively and come up with huge blocks at the rim. Meanwhile, his strength allows him to out muscle bigger defenders in the post, and for offensive rebounds, averaging three a game this season. 

Previous meeting 

The most recent clash between the two sides occurred 16 days previous, and resulted in a 116-109 Riders win. In the high scoring affair, the Riders had two players with over 20 points, with Geno Crandall leading the way with 26, and tremendous 15 assists, his season-high in both categories. Meanwhile, the Giants had two players with 29+ points, most noticeably, Jordan Whelan, who achieved his season-high also. 

How To Watch

Although the game will be played behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to tune in via BBL Player by purchasing a one game pass for just £4.99. Riders Season Ticket Holders will be able to watch the game free of charge by logging into their BBL Player account.

BBL has funding confirmed

The British Basketball League (BBL) have had significant funding confirmed in the latest round of funding from the Sports Winter Survival Package.

This is the second tranche of funding to be announced from the Government’s £300 million Sport Winter Survival Package that is focused on helping those major spectator sports severely impacted by coronavirus restrictions survive the winter.

The funding package has allowed the BBL and WBBL to undertake the 2020/ 21 season, with the leagues playing consistently since early November behind closed doors, with the outcomes of the BBL and WBBL Cup Finals, already determined. In addition, the respective Championship campaigns are already proving evidence they will be amongst the most competitive and exciting ever.

BBL Chairman Sir Rodney Walker said:

“We were very pleased with the outcome from our negotiations, which will go a very long way to sustaining the top flight of our great game, and to sustaining our associated community programmes.”

“We know the Government recognizes the impact of basketball, and the work of many BBL WBBL Clubs, through their Foundations and Community Interest Companies, goes well beyond sport. These activities by our Clubs go to the heart of the challenges faced by our young people in our disadvantaged communities, including related to physical activity, healthy eating, education related, social cohesion and mental health.”

“This support will be very important in sustaining these programmes when the Covid pandemic is behind us. The BBL would also like to thank the hard work by various DCMS and Sport England staff, who we know worked tirelessly to get to a position that the funding provided could be properly justified.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:

“We are committed to helping our treasured sports through these challenging times. And today’s announcement is more evidence of our support for them.

“This targeted funding will enable sports to keep playing and inspire many more stars of the future.”

Chair of the independent Board, Sir Ian Cheshire said:

“Following thorough conversations with each party to assess their individual needs, the Independent Board is pleased to be able to confirm a substantial package of survival funding for netball, badminton, basketball and women’s football, totalling over £10 million.

“For those confirmed as recipients of support as part of this second tranche, this funding is vital in helping keep their respective clubs and leagues operational at this time.”

Strong fourth quarter leads Riders to victory over Eagles

The Riders continued their fine form in the BBL Championship with a 83-75 win against the second placed Newcastle Eagles. In a balanced team performance, Leicester had contributions from all over the court, with four players scoring in double-digits. Darien Nelson-Henry continued his hot form, with 20 points on his birthday. 

The birthday boy was at his best, leading the team in points for the second straight game. He dominated the paint, recording a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, going 10-15 from the floor. The big-man came up big in the clutch with six points down the stretch to seal the victory for Leicester. 

The game was fast-paced, with both teams keen to get out and run the fast break. This was made possible through turnovers from both sides, as the defensive intensity matched the intensity of the fixture. Geno Crandall was especially active early, with two steals in the first quarter alone. The quickness of the game allowed him to shine on the fast break, kicking the ball ahead for open looks before the Eagles defence could set. Crandall stuffed the stat-sheet, performing in all areas of the game. He had 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, along with three steals. 

The Eagles made the game competitive until late, pushing the Riders all the way led by two-time BBL MVP Rahmon Fletcher. He led the game with his 25 points and had eight assists to go with them, running the offence to get his teammates open looks.  

The Riders, in typical fashion, started quickly, jumping out to a 13-6 lead, finding their offensive rhythm feeding Nelson-Henry down low. They had success in the paint, relentlessly attacking the rim for easy points. Despite the good start, the Eagles hung in the game by getting to the free-throw line often, eventually taking the lead 20-18 by the end of the first quarter. 

As has become a Rider tradition this season, William Lee came up with an emphatic play to get the Riders bench on their feet: a huge putback dunk midway through the second quarter. But the play of the game came from Crandall later in the quarter, who opened his full bag of tricks for a highlight play. He went between his legs to freeze his defender, before throwing a behind the back, no-look pass to the cutting Nelson-Henry for the easy two. The second quarter went back and forth, with five lead changes, and the teams went into the half all square at 39-39. 

The second half followed a similar trend, with neither team able to establish a clear lead. However, checking into the game midway through the final quarter, Crandall and Nelson-Henry took the reigns for the Riders with 14 fourth-quarter points between them. The Eagles had no answer for their key buckets down the stretch, which secured the win for Leicester. 

The Riders win takes their record to 12-1, further stretching their lead at the top of the BBL Championship. They head to Manchester on Sunday hoping to continue their nine-game league winning streak. 


Nelson-Henry 20, Crandall 18, Johnson 16, Falzon 10, Lee 6, Jackson 6, Washington 6, Anderson 2


Fletcher 25, Defoe 15, Edwards 12, Maxwell 9, Sayers 9, Pflueger 5

Preview: Riders v Eagles

Season So Far – Riders

Coming into this top of the table clash, the Riders’ offence has been on fire. Over the last four league games, Leicester have scored 106 points on averaging, failing to score in triple digits just once. They sit top of the BBL Championship, with an 11-1 record and the best defensive record in the league, giving up 75.9 points per game. Their most recent game was a commanding 107-93 win against the Sheffield Sharks, in a game in which the Riders were cooking from deep, making 50% of their threes. 

Season So Far – Eagles 

The Eagles currently sit second in the BBL Championship, with a 10-3 record. The Eagles average 86.5 points per game which is third highest in the league, a large part of their offensive success has come through their rebounding. Newcastle pull down 38.7 rebounds per game and also lead the league averaging 9.2 steals per game giving them extra possessions at an extremely high rate. Their play to begin the year has earned them silverware early in the season, beating the London Lions in the BBL Cup final to lift the trophy.

Ones to watch 

In the Riders’ previous game, Darien Nelson-Henry put up a season-high 23 points to lead the team past the Sharks.  The American big-man, who led Pennsylvania in points, rebounds and blocks in his senior year in college, is averaging 11 points and five rebounds on the season and shooting 56% from the field. He can create his own offence effectively, backing defenders down in the post, and is skilled at passing out of the post to find an open teammate. Nelson-Henry is also an effective weapon in the pick and roll, setting hard screens and cutting hard to the rim. Expect the Riders to look to him early to get into a rhythm offensively. 

Justin Gordan has been leading the way offensively for the Eagles, averaging 16.4 points and seven rebounds on the season. Gordon enjoyed four years at Wofford College, making it to the second round of the NCAA tournament two years running, before averaging 11 points per game in his senior year. After graduating college, his professional career took him to Austria, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden, before finally landing in the BBL. Listed at 6’6”, Gordon gets his work done down low, outmuscling larger defenders and finishing at the rim. He is capable of highlight plays on both ends, using his athleticism to block shots and throw down at the rim. He is a big-game performer, proven by his BBL Cup final MVP performance earlier in the year. Gordon stuffed the box-score, with 17 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks to lead his team to the win. 

Previous meeting 

The last time these teams met was a tightly contested BBL Cup semi-final, in which the Eagles won 76-71. Evan Maxwell had a big game for Newcastle, scoring 19 points and pulling down eight rebounds, meanwhile, Geno Crandall put on a good show in the Riders loss, with 17 points, five rebounds and five assists. 

How To Watch

Although the game will be played behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to tune in via BBL Player by purchasing a one game pass for just £4.99. Riders Season Ticket Holders will be able to watch the game free of charge by logging into their BBL Player account.

Coach Rob: I’m happy with our progress

It has been a very unusual season for the Riders this last 6 months or so, but I have been very pleased with the way the team has adopted.

No professional sports Clubs are finding it easy, but the basketball has been to a high standard throughout the season, and the BBL is more competitive than ever.

We have had to put up with some idiosyncratic draws in the cup competitions and are disappointed we did not go further. They are a part of the BBL schedule we really enjoy, and we produced some great performances, but unfortunately did not meet our ambitions.

Meanwhile I am very happy with our progress in the BBL Championship. The team has turned in a number of very good performances and deserve to be where we are.

A case in point was last Sunday in Sheffield – it was a top performance by the team. Obviously, we were very disappointed with the result in London in the Trophy, but we were glad of the quick chance to redeem ourselves.

We have been in this position before, where we have to come back quickly after a tough defeat, and we were ready for it. You saw a team that came out in the first half that showed it did not want to lose. We were really locked in offensively and defensively. In the third quarter we really blew the game open. I thought the ball movement at times was exceptional. I love watching when we are playing that way.

But there is a long way to go in the Championship.

With all these games in quick succession, as the schedule gets even more congested, it is really important we get everyone in the team contributing, and we did that against the Sharks.

Notwithstanding the challenges we are most grateful we are playing the game we love.

We really appreciate the support we get on-line from our supporters, and cannot wait until we have fans back at the Morningside. Hopefully, we can step up the engagement with you as the season builds to its climax.

Coach Rob

Captains Log: I’m proud of our teams resilience

It has been an odd season thus far to say the least, and as the lockdown and uncertainty continues we wanted to find a way to connect with you on a more personal level. Speaking on behalf of the entire team, I would like to say that we miss the regular interaction dearly (although it is nice to see your lovely faces up on the fan wall!). To supplement this I would like to take some time each week to fill you in on some of the “behind the scenes” action!

As you know, we lost a heart-breaker on Thursday down in London. While our Trophy aspirations are lost, it was a fantastic battle until the end. It was great to catch up with some of the familiar faces that have been around the Riders program since I’ve been here. I was able to catch up with Fahro on the freethrow line. Jordan Spencer was heckling me from the sideline while I sank the free throws late in the game to put us up two. And who else but JWH to put the dagger in our hearts?! 

While it was a tough pill to swallow, I am proud of our team’s resilience and determination heading up to Sheffield on Sunday night. Sheffield is never an easy place to play, or an easy team to play, as they are tough and disciplined. But, we got the job done! 

While the trip was fairly uneventful, the game proved exciting. Willy Lee had two crazy dunks… although I am still not sure how he managed to spin the basket 45 degrees, and I barely shook the thing! And, not to rub it in, but the camera angle doesn’t do Conner’s lob pass to him justice… the pass was at the corner of the backboard — and he STILL managed to flush it with authority! I think Will might be from another planet. Still running some tests. I will get you guys the results as soon as I have them back. 

In the end, we have advanced to 11-1 in the league standings, and we look to expand on that this Wednesday against Newcastle. I will be sure to note more happenings to report to you all next week. 

As always, thank you so much for the never-ending support! Hopefully, we will be able to catch up in person soon. Stay safe! And as always, Go Riders!

All the best,

Your Captain, Darien Nelson-Henry

Riders breeze past hoods

Riders were looking to bounce back after their narrow 80 – 79 defeat against Bradford dragons the day before. They certainly put things right with a convincing 96 – 63 win over the Nottingham Hoods. 

Riders used the depth of their bench well, rotating regularly, allowing them to maintain their high level of play and were rewarded by 47 points from the bench. It was an overall great team performance from the Riders who moved the ball well, finding good shots and making them count throughout the game. The Riders worked well together on offense and defence, opening up a 33-point lead at one point, their biggest of the match. 

Hoods guard Victor Olarerin had a standout performance, keeping his team in the game. Olarerin finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Riders had five scorers in double-digits, led by the returning Carl Ntifo who had 19 points and an impressive 88% on FG. 

Head Coach Mark Jarram was very pleased with the performance and commentated “A solid win and bounce back performance from Saturday. We were better in the areas of focus that we set out to be. Becoming more relentless and consistent in our approach and commitment to what matters most is a priority for us.” 

He added “Great to have contributions from throughout the roster. It’s usual routine for us, back to it this week as we continue to build and grow.” 


Riders: C.Ntifo 19, H.Gamble 15, V.Ndoukou 15, D.Orija 11, C.O’reilly 10, K.Jimenez 6, J.Bielak 5, G.Wild 5, D.Oputa 4, C.Hayden 2, C.Morrell 2, L.Johnson 2 

Hoods: V.Olarerin 21, D.Powell 10, K.Wright 8, M.Ward-Hibbert 7, M.Parker 5, I.Patrick 4, P.Ellery 3, T.Babalola 2, B.Adjei 1 

Riders are now preparing to face up against Hemel Storm, who will be visiting on Saturday 20th February with a 2:30pm Tip off. The game will be live to watch on the Basketball England YouTube Channel. 

Riders are the 2021 WBBL Cup Champions

Leicester Riders Women win their first WBBL Cup final after defeating Sevenoaks Suns 78-67.

Riders put on a show in the first quarter, starting the game with 11 consecutive points before Sevenoaks touched the score sheet. 

The Cup final MVP, Kate Oliver,  set the tone in the first quarter scoring 10 of her 18 points. The Australian forward also finished the game with 14 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.

Janice Monakana came back with a vengeance scoring 8 points in a row including three treys to help the Suns make it a four-point deficit at the half.

Riders came out the third with three layups from Lappenkuper, Robb and Winterburn to push the lead. However, Monakana was a force to be reckoned with by getting to the foul line, scoring both free throws, and then followed with a layup to give the Suns momentum. 

Right off the back, Cat Carr hit a big three to make it a three point game, however a jump shot from Winterburn shifted the game into Riders’ favour that continued into the fourth. 

Holly Winterburn showed up on the big stage with another all-round performance with a near triple double – 16 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists. Hannah Robb also had a notable performance with 17 points including three daggers beyond the arc. 


Oliver 18, Robb 17, Winterburn 16, Hinriksdottir 10, Lappenkuper 7, Gaskin 6, Clark 2, Januszewska 2. 


Monakana 25, Garrido-Perez 15, Carr 13, Clark 9, Andrews 3, Busch 2.

Next up on Saturday, Leicester Riders travel down to Sevenoaks for their first regular-season matchup.

Riders bounce back with a win in Sheffield

Riders responded to their BBL Trophy loss to the Lions on Friday in emphatic fashion, putting up 107 points board as they defeated the in form Sharks. It was a clash between the two best-ranked defences in the league, however, the game developed into a high scoring affair, ending 93-107. This marks the third BBL Championship match in four in which Leicester have scored 100+ points, with their offence clicking into gear of late. 

The Riders shared the love in this Valentine’s day game, with contributions from all over the floor. Seven Rider players scored nine or more, and three scored 19+ points, as Darien Nelson-Henry led the team with a season-high 23. Coming off the back of a 16 point game in the loss to the Lions, Corey Johnson continued his hot shooting form with 19 points, going five for eight from three, while Geno Crandall continued to perform in his first BBL season with 20 points. ‘General’ Geno commanded the offence, and finished with a game-high eight assists, running the offence to great effect.  

The Riders were quick out the gate, jumping out to a 31-18 lead by the end of the first quarter, through success feeding the ball to Nelson-Henry. He had ten first-quarter points working down in the low-post, showcasing his impeccable footwork and finishing ability at the rim in a battle with 12-year Shark veteran Mike Tuck. Leicester also did a great job getting to the free-throw line in the early stages, attacking the rim and drawing fouls. They had 16 in the first half, making them at an efficient rate, shooting 93%.  

The Sharks trailed by as much as 21 in the first half, but climbed back in the game, bringing the score back to within single digits. Jeremy Hemsley put his team on his back early, with 17 points by halftime. The first-year pro out of San Diego State finished with 21, and his teammate in the backcourt, Antwon Lillard, carried the load in the second half to keep the game close. Lillard, who is averaging 15 points on the year, led the game in points with a season-high of his own, finishing with 23 and going eight of 12 from the floor. 

Despite the Sharks coming out strongly in the second half to cut the game to seven, the Riders weathered the storm and responded with a run of their own. William Lee had his usual flurry of highlight plays to swing the momentum in the Riders’ favour, throwing the ball down hard on the fast break causing a break in play for the rim to be fixed. Later in the quarter, Conner Washington threw up a lob which Lee climbed to the rafters to catch and throw down to put the Riders up 12 with three minutes left in the third. 

Sheffield continued to compete in the fourth through Kipper Nicholes, who had 10 points in the quarter. They cut the game to nine, but key baskets down the stretch for the Riders kept the Sharks at arm’s length, staving off any threat of a comeback. 

The Riders win takes their record in the BBL Championship to 11-1 with Newcastle to play on Wednesday Evening at the Morningside Arena. Meanwhile, the Sharks now sit with a 7-6 record, as this loss ends a three-game winning streak for the South Yorkshire side. 


Lillard 23, Hemsley 21, Lewis 18, Nicholes 14, Ratinho 8, Tuck 7, Koch 2


Nelson-Henry 23, Crandall 20, Johnson 19, Lee 9, Anderson 9, Washington 9, Fraser 9, Falzon 5, Jackson 4

Preview: Riders at Sharks

Season So Far – Riders

Riders are currently leading the table with a 10-1 record however Coach Paternostro’s side will be looking to bounce back from their Trophy defeat to London on Thursday. The Riders have already claimed the head to head against Sheffield having beaten both their previous encounters in the Championship. In the recent game came down to the last two plays, Geno Crandall getting it to go in the dying seconds as the Sharks pushed Leicester all the way. Crandall has been a revelation for the Riders with a stat line stuffing 17 points, 5.9 rebounds and 7 assists per game so far and is a key part of another team that builds on defence in order to deliver success. The Riders get an extra day of rest having taken on London in the BBL Trophy on Thursday night and which could mean they may be the fresher side going into Sunday’s Valentine matchup.

Season So Far – Sharks

The Sharks are in good form having defeated Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle in their last 3 games. The Sharks currently have a 7-5 record in the BBL Championship and will be looking to continue to build on their momentum on Sunday afternoon. Sheffield are a well balanced side with multiple scoring options, this was on display on Friday night as they had 5 players score in double figures as they defeated the Eagles by 20. Coach Lyons will be looking for more of the same on Sunday afternoon as the Sharks look to put together 4 consecutive wins in the BBL Championship for the first time this season.

Ones to watch

On. Thursday in London William Lee showed his defensive abilities and why he earned the title of all-time leading shot-blocker at the University of Alabama. He finished the game against the London Lions with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Lee’s ability to both alter and block shots around the basket are a key ingredient to the success of the Riders defence.

Jeremy Hemsley has a key man for the Sharks since his arrival, averaging the most points, assists and steals for the Sharks and proving as to why he and his contribution have been vital assets for the team’s success this season. Even though in their last game against the Eagles he wasn’t as prolific as he normally would be, but he still managed to give 13 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists and will no doubt be a man the Riders will need to slow down on Sunday afternoon.

Previous Meeting

The Riders have the season head-to-head over the Sharks having won by 74-64 back in December and 75-73 a couple of weeks ago. Despite already having won the head to head Riders will be looking to make it 3/3 against the Sharks in the BBL Championship.

How To Watch

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game by purchasing a game pass for just £4.99 from BBL Player.

Riders fall to Lions in the Trophy

The Riders fell to the Lions in the first round of the BBL Trophy 76-71 in a tightly contested affair in the capital. Ward-Hibbert hit a go-ahead three to give the Lions the lead with 48 seconds on the clock, the Riders were unable to reply and the Londoners sealed the deal from the free throw line.

It was a closely contested game up until the final buzzer, with nine lead changes in the fourth quarter. Despite the two sides coming into the game with their offences rolling, it was the defence that set the tone, with the teams holding each other a combined 37.5% from the floor. Four of Leicester’s starters finished with double digits points, however the Riders managed just six bench points in the game. The Riders had their difficulties from behind the three point line as they finished up going 6/27 from three, despite three from deep from Corey Johnson as he led the team in points with 16. 

He and William Lee were the bright sparks for Leicester. Lee finished the game with 15 points and 10 rebounds dominating the backcourt with highlights on both ends. A monster dunk in the first quarter from a Darien Nelson-Henry lob pass got the Riders bench on their feet early. Later in the quarter, Lee showcased the defensive abilities which earned him the title of all-time leading shot-blocker at the University of Alabama, with a huge block on two time BBL MVP Justin Robinson’s lay-up.

Robinson is shooting a red hot 51% from three in the league this season, and continued his hot streak going 5/9 from three in the game. He finished with 15 points and two steals, leading the way for the Lions. DeAndre Liggins, who played five years in the NBA previous to coming to the BBL, continued the playmaking efforts he has displayed this season with a season-high 12 assists. Liggins came up huge in the clutch for the Lions, scoring six of his 13 points in the fourth quarter. 

Both teams performed well defensively, neither team allowed the other to find any consistent offensive rhythm throughout. The Riders held the BBL’s best-ranked offence to just 13 first-quarter points, forcing the Lions to start the game 1-10 from the field. London responded, coming into the second quarter with greater defensive intensity. With roles reversed in the second quarter the Riders were unable to find their offensive grove with their first score of the quarter coming with 6:40 left in the first half. 

The Lions claimed the victory which sees them progress into the second round of the BBL Cup where they will face the Newcastle Eagles. The Riders now turn their attention back to the BBL Championship, in which they will face the Sheffield Sharks on Sunday afternoon. 


Robinson 15, Williams 15, Liggins 13, Parker 8, Ware 8, Alihodzic, Ward-Hibbert 5, Tawiah 4, Walker 3


Johnson 16, Lee 15, Nelson-Henry 14, Crandall 13, Anderson 7, Washington 4, Falzon 2

Preview: Riders at Lions

London Lions v Leicester Riders

Competition: BBL Trophy

Venue: Copper Box Arena

Tip off: 18:00

Season So Far – Riders

The Riders come into the first round of the BBL Trophy on a seven-game winning streak, with a 10-1 record which tops the BBL Championship table. Over the last three games, Leicester have kicked their offence into gear, averaging 105 points over the course of those games. The Riders have been shooting at an efficient rate, which was well demonstrated in their previous game, a 78-97 win to the Glasgow Rocks. They shot 54% from the floor, 38% from three and 94% from the free-throw line, with four players scoring in double digits in a balanced offensive effort. The offence was led by Geno Crandall, who has carried his hot form into February after winning the Molton Sports BBL Player of the Month award in January. He had 22 points, eight assists and four steals in this game, going 8-12 from the field. This was Crandall’s second consecutive game with 20+ points, and he is now averaging 17 points on the season. 

Season So Far – Lions

In their most recent game, the Plymouth Raiders gave the Lions their first loss since the opening day of the season, beating them 81-75 to end an eight-game winning streak to bring their record to 8-2. Scoring 93 points per game, they have the best-ranked offence in the BBL, led by their star paining of DeAndre Liggins and Dirk Williams. Liggins brings 5 years NBA experience to this London side, after being drafted by the Orlando Magic in 2011. His career year in the NBA was in 2016/17, averaging eight points per game for the Dallas Mavericks. This season for the Lions, Liggins has focused his game on getting his teammate involved with his passing, leading London in assists with seven a game.

Ones To Watch

Coming off the bench, Connor Washington has been Leicester’s third-leading scorer, and is second in assists and steals for his team. Washington has played nine seasons over three spells for the Riders and is having a career year in the BBL with his scoring with 11 points per game. Washington play with Geno Crandall in the backcourt has helped create a dangerous Leicester lineup, with both point guards taking turns to generate the offence for the team with their elite playmaking ability. Washington has been a threat off the ball also, draining 40% of his threes on the year. 

Dirk Williams has been London’s biggest offensive threat in the BBL Championship in his debut season for the Lions, averaging 19 points per game. Williams played his first two pro seasons in the BBL for the Sheffield Sharks, before spending a year playing in the Hungarian first division, averaging 17 points a game for Zalakeramia ZTE. Williams is capable of exploding offensively, going off for 37 against the Giants earlier in the season, nailing nine threes. He is a danger to opposing defences from every spot of the floor and standing at 6’6”, the athletic wing can throw it down over anybody should he get a drive to the rim. 

Previous Meeting

The Lions handed the Riders their only loss in the BBL Championship, in a game that came down to the final shot. Orlando Parker put London up 74-73 with eight seconds on the clock, before a Corey Johnson missed three away secured the win for the Lions. London’s leading scorer, Dirk Williams, had his usual high scoring game, leading the way for his team with 19 points. Meanwhile, Geno Crandall led the game in scoring with 23 in the tight loss. 

How To Watch

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game by purchasing a game pass for just £4.99 from BBL Player.

Riders overcome Rocks for second win of the weekend

Leicester Riders are out on top of the BBL Championship on their own, after a dominant 97-78 victory on the road against the Glasgow Rocks. This result was coupled with an upset defeat 81-75 at home for London Lions by the Plymouth Raiders on Sunday afternoon.

Riders were well on top throughout the first three quarters of the game, building a 35 point lead with thirteen minutes left in the game, before the Rocks came back to put a more respectable look on the result in the final quarter.

Riders won the game again through their defence, which turned over the Rocks 17 times, while Riders limited their own errors to just 6. Riders also converted 17 of 18 free throws as the Rocks struggled to contain Riders at any stage.

Leicester started out meaning business, with captain Darien Nelson-Henry scoring inside but Christian Keeling responded with a driving lay-up for the Rocks. William Lee then exploded for a three and followed that up with a huge dunk. A drive to the basket by Geno Crandall gave Riders a 9-5 lead midway through the first quarter, but the defences were on top at that stage.

Lee continued to cause problems for the Rocks big men with his movement, and he scored twice from the free throw line, followed up by another big dunk forcing the Rocks to a timeout, trailing 13-4.

Ali Fraser then came off the bench to a court very familiar to him from his time at the Rocks, and he immediately scored inside, followed by a three. Former teammate Gareth Murray took up the challenge from Fraser, and the Rocks player-coach hit a couple of scores in reply, to leave Glasgow trailing 24-12 after the first quarter.

Fraser started the second period as he completed the first, and he made a three point play which also led to a technical foul on the Rocks. The Riders kept coming, as Fraser drew fouls inside, and that led to yet another technical foul on the Glasgow bench, as Riders lead grew to 35-15. Glasgow finally regained their composure and Isa Brandon came off the bench to spark the offence. Julius Van Sauers hit a couple of big baskets, and at halftime the Rocks trailed 47-28. At that stage Crandall was dominant with 13 points and 4 assists.

Glasgow needed a fast start to the second half and a Marc Kwedi three followed by a 20 foot jumper by Keeling gave them that. But Corey Johnson responded with a three, Crandall intercepted for a lay-up, Zach Jackson hit another three and Riders went on a 12 to nil run. Another Keeling basket stopped the rot, but a three point play by Lee spurred Riders again. Johnson hit another three and another breakaway from Crandall had Glasgow reeling. American centre Ronald Delph then three baskets in quick succession and with Keeling hitting a triple the Rocks clawed the score back to a 78-52 lead with ten minutes left.

Glasgow gained confidence in the final period as threes started to drop from Fraser Malcolm, and Riders got a little sloppy. But Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro called a timeout, steadied the ship and his team saw out the win with some comfort.

Crandall was once again the star man for Riders, finishing with the impressive stat-line of 22 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds, including 6 from 6 from the free throw line.

But William Lee was not far behind with 19 points, including 2 of 3 three pointers, and 9 rebounds. Fraser also caught the eye with 14 points and 2 assists.


Keeling 16, Delph 15, Van Sauers 15, Malcolm 14, Brandon 7, Murray 6, Kwedi 3, Mpondo 2


Crandall 22, Lee 19, Fraser 14, Johnson 10, Jackson 8, Falzon 8, Washington 8, Nelson-Henry 6, Anderson 2

Riders Triumphant in Pride Matchup

Leicester Riders women secured a 93-39 home win against Caledonia Pride.  

Both teams had a slow start out the gate, but the Riders went on a 13-0 run until Pride scored their first basket at the 4-minute mark. In the second quarter,  Leicester created a comfortable 47-21 lead after a strong effort on both ends of the floor. 

Caledonia experienced the defensive wrath of the Riders and was held to 21% field goals and had 29 turnovers in the contest. 

Kate Oliver and Holly Winterburn filled up the stat sheet with their assertive performances. Oliver led by example with her 25 points, 5 rebounds and 8 steals and was accompanied by Winterburn’s 22 points, 4 rebounds and 8 assists. 


Oliver 25, Winterburn 22, Clark 12, Lappekuper 10, Gaskin 10, Ainge 7, Allen 4, Januszewska 3.


Ranger 11, Doherty 11, Storie 8, Phillips 6,  Harvey 2, Kerr 1. 

Next game (Friday 12th) is big for the Riders as they head north to Manchester to take on Sevenoaks Suns in the WBBL Cup Final. 

Preview: Riders at Rocks

Season So Far – Riders 

Winning an overtime thriller at home to the Giants continued Leicester’s now six-game winning streak, bringing the Riders to a 9-1 record, the best in the BBL. Giving up 74 points per game, their defence is good for the second-best in the league, however, it was their offence which brought them home in this game. Leicester scored 116 points, 102 in regulation, to see off the Giants: their second consecutive game scoring over 100 points, after not managing this feat once previously in the season. Geno Crandall has averaged 22.5 points and 12.5 assists through these two games, as he continues his hot form which earned him January’s Molton Sports BBL Player of the Month award. 

Season so far- Rocks

Contrary to Leicester’s hot form, the Rocks’ come into this game on a nine-game losing streak, earning them a 2-12 record, propping up the BBL Championship table. Scoring just 69 points a game, their offence ranks last in the BBL. The Rocks average 30% from three and 49% from the field, managing to score over 80 points in a game just once this season. Most recently, the Rocks suffered a 77-61 loss to the Sharks, in which they shot 41% from the field, and just 38% from the free-throw line. Christian Keeling and Ronald Delph were the gems amongst the Rocks, both with 14 points in a game where Glasgow struggled to generate consistent offence, as has been the case all season.

Ones to watch

One of the four Riders players averaging points in double digits this season, Zack Jackson has put together a consistent run of games for the Riders. Playing for Omaha in the NCAA Division 1 in college, Jackson averaged 18 points as a senior, before beginning his professional career in the Ukrainian first division for Kharkivski Sokoly. Jackson is a great scoring option for the Riders, with his effectiveness in catch and shoot situations and taking defenders off the dribble. Scoring on all three levels, he is a threat to opposing defences every game. 

Recording a season-high 25 points in the Rocks’ game against the Scorchers, Ronald Delph comes into this tie with a hot hand. He went 11-14 from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds to record his second double-double of the season. Delph spent three years at Florida Atlantic in college, averaging 15 points per game in his senior year, before taking his talents overseas to play in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and most recently Canada, playing for the Moncton Magic. Standing at seven feet tall, the American big man has delicate touch around the rim, dropping in hook shots from the post with ease. His touch extends out to the midrange and three-point line too, giving him the ability to stretch the floor, opening up the paint for his team. Defensively, Delph is a presence inside and is averaging a career-high one block per game in the BBL this season. 

Previous meeting

The previous meeting between the two sides occurred just two weeks before this fixture, with the Riders coming out on top 90-58. Corey Johnson went off for 20 points and eight rebounds, a season-high in both categories, draining five threes. For Glasgow, it was a difficult night, with their leading scorer, Christian Keeling, finishing the game with just 11 points. The Riders shot 52% from three in the game to the Rocks 29%, a statistic which proved to be the difference between the teams. 

How to watch

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game by purchasing a pass from BBL Player.

Preview: Riders v Giants

Season So Far – Riders

Leicester secured a superb 103-76 win over to the Surrey Scorchers in their most recent game, this helped them go top of the table with a game still in hand and gives them a current record of 8-1. The Riders have proved how strong their offence is with back-to-back 30-point quarters which saw them take the game away from Scorchers. They achieved such an emphatic score line because of their exceptional shooting which included 15 three pointers at 48%, and their 41 rebounds in comparison to Surrey’s 24. Riders enter this game having won their last five games comfortably, and will be pushing for another victory to continue such fine form.

Season So Far – Giants 

Manchester on the other hand is not on such great form as of recent with injuries holding them back, the Giants have suffered 2 defeats in a row. Giving them a record of 5-5 and they are currently 4th in the league. The Giants last game was against the Cheshire Phoenix and within this first half they were struggling to get anything going at both ends of the court. The Giants will be hoping to bounce back with a win on the road against the Riders.

Ones to watch

Geno Crandall has been on a roll for the Riders yet again, proving that he plays a crucial role for the team this season. He is the centre figure in the Riders attack contributing more assists in the Leicester team than any other player and his rate of assists is greater than average for players in the league. In the team’s most recent win, Crandall had a mesmerising performance by finishing up the game 9 points, 7 rebounds and 10 assists. He was just 3 rebounds away from securing a triple-double. With his effectiveness for providing chances for his team mates it shows that he is a serious threat against opposition defences.

Sam Cassell Jr, having just signed for the Giants back in August and the son of the infamous three-time winner NBA Champion and All-Star Sam Cassell, was brought as a key component for the rebuild for 2020-21 season. He has featured twice in the NBA Summer League, first for the Cleveland Cavaliers and latterly in 2018, for the Washington Wizards. Cassell Jr also played for BBG Herford in Germany, where he led the team on a season average of 21 points, five rebounds and four assists per game, while shooting 35% from three-point range, and finishing as a Conference First Team selection as Herford won 73% of their games in 2018-19. He has played all of the Giants games up until this point, and in phoenix game was vital to their cause with his stat line of 16 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.

Previous meeting

The last time these two sides met was just under a year back in March, where the Riders comfortably won 105-82. It was a game where five Riders players scored double digits.

How to watch

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game by purchasing a pass from BBL Player. Season Ticket Holders will be able to access the game free of charge by logging into their BBL Player account.

Second COTM for Jesper Sundberg

Jesper Sundberg has won his second Molten WBBL Coach of the Month for January 2021.

Coach Sundberg has led the Riders women to an undefeated record, including the three dominant wins in January against Caledonia Pride, Newcastle Eagles and the Oakland Wolves. 

In the January contests, the Riders continued their defensive showcase holding the Wolves and Pride to less than 25% field goals and held to Eagles to 7% 3-point field goals. 

Coach Sundberg commented: “We had a good offensive team performance against Caledonia where all players scored and the following day were able to hold Newcastle to 39 points.”

“Against Oaklands we had some heavy legs, but the team pushed through in the second half with a strong effort”

Jesper Sundberg and the Riders head up to Manchester next Friday to take on Sevenoaks Suns in the WBBL Cup Final.  

Geno named POTM

Geno Crandall has won the Molten BBL Player of the Month for January after five straight league wins to join Lions at the summit of the table. Crandall’s biggest moment coming when he hit a buzzer-beating floater to secure a 75-73 home win over B. Braun Sheffield Sharks.

The 24 year-old Minneapolis native joined Riders in the summer after a season in the Czech Republic, and has been quick to establish himself as among the league’s leading point guards.

He started the month with his season high of 23 points in a narrow defeat to London Lions, and in seven games he went on to average 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists – consistently looking like one of the players most likely to register a triple-double – shooting 51% from the field and 84% at the free-throw line. Overall, Crandall is fourth in the league in assists and third in fouls drawn

He provided particular torment in back-to-back road wins over Plymouth Raiders, hitting 10-12 (83%) free throws in the first, and coming close to a huge triple-double in the second meeting with 18 points from 8-10 (80%) interior shooting, 17 rebounds and eight assists

He rounded out the month with a BBL All-Star 5 appearance after another near triple-double of 19 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds as Riders saw off Surrey Scorchers.

Crandall is back in action tomorrow night when Riders host Manchester Giants LIVE on bblplayer.co.uk, 6pm tip.

Victory in London

Riders picked up a 77-62 win on the road against BA London Lions in their first game of 2021 after the WNBL pause. Makana Stone once again had a strong performance, coming close to a triple double. Stone ended the game with 18 points, 15 rebounds and 9 steals. 

Head Coach Antonio Quintero commentated “We were really keen to comeback playing after stopping for a few weeks. The team performed very well, considering that were missing some players due to a WBBL game on the same day. It was a successful performance and a big effort from the roster taking into account that some players were not able to practice properly during the week.”

He added “I think that the key to the game was how we defended intensely and were clever with our shot selection. We were struggling to rebound the ball especially at the beginning of the second half, but we quickly fixed this and got back to playing at a good level. It was a great team performance.” 


Riders: M.Stone 18, S.Lecuyer 13, M.James 12, R.Ainge 11, K.Cox 10, L.Dabbs 8, H.Bird 3, E.Shadrick 2 

Lions: L.Edwards 21, A.Sheia 12, P.Puzule 7, J.Quinn 6, F.Abdelaziz 6, C.Mushore 6, W.Ijelu 2, T.Fournillier-Onadeko 2 

The Riders are once again on the road, facing Team Solent Kestrels Women this Saturday with a 2pm Tip off. 

Riders Fall to Derby

Following the Riders impressive win against Bradford Dragons which saw them into the final four of the L Lynch Trophy, Riders were looking to pick up their third win in the league against top of the table team Derby Trailblazers. 

Riders had a strong game and led for most part of it, with young Charnwood graduates Victor Ndoukou, Greg Wild and Kanu Gudza getting some valuable playing time. However, a fight back from Trailblazers led by Blake Bowman who finished the game with 27 points saw them clinch the victory in this narrow game. 

Kyle Jimenez once again led the assists table (13), with Jonas Dieterich the leading scorer for the Riders (17). It was not the result the Riders were looking for, but it was a highly competitive game that showed the best from both teams. 

Head Coach Mark Jarram said the following on the game “Disappointed in the outcome of this one but another positive performance. We continue to improve and put better performances in weekly so that’s success.”

He added “We have to do a better job of converting scoring opportunities and eliminate some easy scores for opponents. We tip the balance in that way and we’d feel a lot different. But we will continue to learn and build as the season goes on.”


Riders: J.Dieterich 17, K.Jimenez 16, H.Gamble 14, C.Hayden 13, G.Wild 8, D.Orija 3, J.Bielak 3, V.Ndoukou 1

Trailblazers: B.Bowman 27, M.Smith 15, O.Stanley 12, J.Conway 12, C.Brown 6, A.Ugo 3, J.Chilver 2 

Riders team up with XPS

Britain’s oldest BBL franchise, Leicester Riders, has partnered with XPS, the sports coaching software which helps coaches monitor and improve team performance.

Riders, and its pathway, have access to the state of the art software and are delighted to be teaming up with XPS.

“It’s fantastic for us to be able to work with XPS throughout the whole pathway – that covers Charnwood Riders, our University programme at Loughborough, the WBBL and our BBL side,” reflected Leicester Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston. 

“It gives us consistency across our whole programme and allows us to store all our data centrally to be shared with each of our coaches. I know the coaches are finding it an invaluable tool to use and it’s really helping them in preparing for games and analysing performance.”

“We are a club that strives to be ahead of the game in terms of technology and this software is certainly part of that.”

Agust Thorkelsson – CEO Sideline Sports

“It’s a joy to work with the whole of the Leicester Riders organization. Professional demands from great coaches and staff who care passionately about the development of their players. We look forward to continuing this exciting cooperation over the next years.”

Rob Paternostro – Riders Head Coach (BBL):

“We are extremely excited to be working alongside XPS to help all our teams throughout the pathway. With our BBL side we’ve been really able to utilise the software’s functionality to assist what we are doing in preparation and analysis on court.” 

“The software is one of the leading of its kind and we are delighted to be working with XPS.” said Leicester Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro. 

Mark Jarram – Loughborough University Head Coach (NBL/BUCS) 

“It’s been a great addition to our programme. To have pretty much everything in once place is such an asset.”

“We’ve mostly utilised the ability to have calendar and the entire team on the same page and has been invaluable to have the ability to easily remind, report and collect daily wellness data.” 

“These have led to some crucial conversations we wouldn’t necessary have been able to have before.  Would recommend it to any programme who are serious about taking things to the next level.”

Jesper Sundberg – Riders Women Head Coach (WBBL) 

“The XPS Network and the Sideline Video Analyzer have been a huge reason for our team’s success. We are using the video editor, calendar and wellness monitor daily. To have everything in one place and to be able to share information around the program with staff and players is creating lots of possibilities for us. The work we do around our player pathway has improved a lot since we started using XPS.”

If anyone is interested in using XPS with their basketball club/programme please feel free to contact Riders Assistant Coach Pablo Vazquez on [email protected].