Morningside Arena announces plans for 1,200 metres squared extension

The Morningside Arena, home of the Leicester Riders, has announced plans for a 1,200 metres squared Extension, to increase the flexible use of the Arena.

The Arena is the largest indoor venue in the city with a capacity for up to 3,000, and stages many national and international Events, both in sport and culture, as well as acting as a community sports arena.

The Extension will increase the facility from 3 basketball courts to 5 basketball courts – which will make it the largest in the country.

The Extension went through a pre-Application planning review process earlier in the year and the Planning Application was submitted last month.

Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge, a Director of Morningside Arena, was excited to announce the plans,

“The Arena along with many other businesses in the sector has come through some very difficult times due to Covid, but we are very positive about the opportunities going forward.”

“Our community sport usage pre-Covid was growing every year, so much so, that our Foundation has had to look for additional external facilities, to support its programme.”

“Meanwhile the Arena’s reputation for staging major Events has been growing, and we have already invested significantly to make the Arena Covid-secure and more flexible.”

“We are attracting bookings for major TV events across a range of sports which have never been staged in Leicester and we need the extra space to maintain our dual purpose, including the further growth of Riders basketball pathway and community engagement.”

“This addition will also improve the customer experience for the largest events.”

“Thus, we felt the time was right to get on with this development, which has the support of all our partners, including the City Council and Leicester College.”

Thank you Jamell

Riders have announced this morning that popular forward Jamell Anderson won’t be returning next season. Anderson, who was named in the BBL’s defensive team of the year, has spent 8 seasons in the East-Midlands since 2011.

“My time at the Riders has been so eventful, I’ve played alongside some of the best players to play in the BBL in the last ten years. The likes of  Geno Crandall as of recent. Not only have so many of these guys been teammates but they have become friends,” reflected Jamell.

“The respect I hold for guys like Anthony Rowe and Barry Lamble for their kindness and friendship as I was getting settled into my professional career with the Riders is something I’ll never forget.”

“The list goes on for high-level players that I’ve been fortunate to compete with and Coach Rob has so much if not everything to do with attracting that talent. He’s a straight up coach and always wants to create a team not only of talent but of good people and I owe him a lot for that.”

“I’ve been there through tough times and thankfully more so through successful times, it’s been an honour to play alongside so many good people but also to achieve so much. “

“Each year I asked more of myself and whether that was reflected in my stats or what everyone thought of me as a player or a person I was always striving to improve. I’m thankful for the environment I was given to grow both on and off the floor.”

Anderson played 237 league games for the Riders scoring 1462 points, placing him 6th in the all-time list for Riders stats*.

“First of all I’ll miss the people, I made some truly great friendships from players to staff to fans and even to the people of Leicester. I remember being recognised for the first time back in 2012 as a Riders player and people saying they loved our team and it felt great to be a part of that.”

“I’ve always tried my best to represent the club with professionalism and hard-work. When I look back at the success I’ve been part of and the friendships I’ve made it’s definitely a major part of my life and career which if I had the chance I’d definitely lace em up with those boys again”

Paying tribute Head Coach Rob Paternostro commented:

“It’s sad to see him go, he has been the ultimate professional. His work ethic and commitment to the team have been second to none.”

“He has been a fantastic guy to be around, a player that consistently put the work in to improve and a player that can call himself a champion.”

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented:

“Jamell has been a shining example not only to young kids from across the country but to those young players in our programme who want to follow in his footsteps and make a professional career for themselves.”

“We have nothing but good things to say about him. We’ve enjoyed some great memories together and wish him all the best for the future.”

Newly-wed Anderson is moving from the area to be with his wife, GB player Georgia Anderson (née Jones).

*According to stats on record.

Torr Waterfield & Riders extend partnership

The 2021 BBL League Champions Leicester Riders and accountants Torr Waterfield have agreed to extend their partnership for another three years in a wide-ranging sponsorship deal.

As well as winning the BBL Championship for the fifth time in May, Riders have highly successful women’s, underage and student programmes, and deliver a range of community projects via their charity, the Leicester Riders Foundation, at the Morningside Arena, the home of the Riders.

As an element of the partnership, the Victory Stand at the Morningside Arena will be renamed the Torr Waterfield Stand, and the Leicester accountants’ corporate hospitality and branding arrangements will be extended to include access to a wide range of sporting and entertainment events at the Arena.

Torr Waterfield have been providing the Riders and their associated companies with general financial advice as well as their accounting and payroll services, over recent years and those services will be extended further still.

Mark Torr, Director and senior Partner at Torr Waterfield, is delighted to continue working with the Riders and the Arena, “We are very pleased to extend our partnership with the Riders, who are national champions and committed to excellence, player development and community engagement.”

“We are very impressed with all the work they do in the community and the way there are developing the Morningside Arena into a leading facility with top class events, as well as community sport.”

“The number of major sports and entertainment events coming to Leicester in the next year, thanks to the work of staff at the Arena, is very exciting for the city, and Torr Waterfield are delighted to help with the growth of the club.”

Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge was also excited to extend the partnership,

“The Riders, Foundation and Arena have just come through the most challenging time in our history, and with the support of Torr Waterfield, and thanks to the hard work of staff, we have continued to perform and deliver our services and games, whilst transforming the Arena into one of the most flexible and safe venues in the country.”

“We see great opportunities ahead and having a partner like Torr Waterfield on board will make it possible for Riders and the Arena to recover, develop further and continue to be successful at a national level. We have further exciting plans which we will announce soon and having this level of expertise and support from Torr Waterfield is vital to our future development.”

Job Vacancy: WBBL Head Coach

Title: WBBL & Loughborough University Women’s Head Coach
Start date: 1st August 2021
Salary: Competitive Salary depending on Experience & level of Qualifications
Reporting to Leicester Riders: Russell Levenston (MD)
Reporting to Loughborough University: Jo Emmett (Head of Performance Programmes)

Leicester Riders and Loughborough University are seeking an outstanding Head Coach for the women’s programme to oversee coaching, delivery, and ongoing strategic development of performance women’s basketball. You will be the Head Coach of the WBBL and women’s university 1st team which both have a proven track record in the UK at the highest level in professional and top university level.

Applicants will need a minimum of Basketball England Level 2 coaching qualification, or equivalent and have a substantial experience at a performance level. You will have a good understanding of the structure of basketball in the UK, WBBL, Basketball England, and the British Universities & Colleges Sport system (BUCS). You will be required to adopt a flexible approach to work, be able to work as part of a team and have excellent interpersonal and communication skills. We operate with an interdisciplinary team (IDT) approach to player development; you will need to lead the IDT and need to be comfortable providing and receiving challenge outside your area of specialism. The post holder will be based at Loughborough University which is one of the top performance sport universities for basketball in the UK.

Role & responsibilities

  • Head Coach of Women’s Team for Leicester Riders in Women’s British Basketball League
  • Head Coach of 1st Team for Loughborough University in BUCS competition
  • Excellent Communication skills that can be demonstrated through successfully driving a programme,
    leading the IDT and work within a team
  • Develop athletes and staff at the highest level in UK
  • Oversight of the women’s player pathway working with Academy and National League
  • Recruitment for the women’s programme
  • Reporting and communication with management

  • Level 3 BE Coaching preferred, Level 2 minimum requirement
  • Substantial Head Coach experience and extensive experience of performance basketball in a professional club or University
  • First aid qualification (Essential)
  • Safeguarding training (Desirable)
  • Training can be provided if candidate is successful

    Preferred skills
  • Holds a clean driving Licence

Closing Date: Sunday 27th June 2021
Interview Date: 2nd July 2021 (9am-5pm) at Loughborough University

Please send a copy of your CV and a covering letter to
[email protected]

BBL launches Community Wellness hub

The British Basketball League (BBL) has become the first national professional sports organisation in the UK to launch a wellbeing hub for its community.

The pioneering platform, developed for the BBL by tech company Frog Systems, uses videos of people sharing their life experiences of issues such as depression and racism to signpost organisations and resources that offer help.

The free-to-use online BBL Community Wellness Hub was launched with the help of players Tayo Ogedengbe, Drew Lasker, and Darien Nelson-Henry who have contributed their own videos to the platform.

The BBL Community Wellness Hub, which can be accessed at, was developed during the Covid-19 pandemic in response to the impact on the mental and physical wellbeing on communities.

It contains video clips from players and officials from clubs in the BBL sharing their experiences and highlights information and organisations where the basketball community can go to get help. Users can search for information about mental and physical wellness, diversity, equality and inclusion, and personal development and financial management. They can also look for community programmes and volunteering opportunities with the sport in their area.

The platform is the first step in a series of initiatives planned by the BBL to improve welfare provision ahead of the 2021/2022 season which are being spearheaded by former Great Britain captain Kieron Achara.

Keiron Achara said: “The BBL family have always believed that our communities are the backbone of our league and I’m proud that we are working together to amplify the amazing local support services and resources available to ensure our communities are getting the help they need.”

It is estimated that a million people play basketball in Britain every week making it the second most popular team sport in England, Scotland and Wales. All 11 BBL franchises are behind the platform and will add new supportive video content in the coming weeks and months.

Andy Webb, Chief Operating Officer of the BBL, added: “This is a proud moment for us to be the first national sports body to launch a platform like this to support our community. The past year has been tough for everyone – players, fans and administrators alike – and this puts us in a great position to move forward and make a positive difference.”

Sir Rodney Walker, Chairman of the BBL, said: “Our players and coaches do a huge amount of work in their local communities. We hope the BBL Community Wellness Hub will add another layer of support by linking our thousands of fans with advice and support around the challenges they face.”

While those who use the platform cannot be identified, the anonymised data it produces will be used by the BBL to identify where it can improve the community support it offers.

Phil Worms, CEO of Frog Systems, said: “Like all sports, basketball has a duty of care to those who play, work in and support the game. We have worked closely with the BBL to produce a platform that will help them make important decisions about where they direct their support and resources in the future.”

William Lee back as a Rider

After a successful first season in the BBL, high-flying William Lee will get to play in front of the Morningside Arena crowd next season having signed a new one year deal. Lee, who made the BBL defensive team of the season, impressed for his aerial ability and defensive qualities which saw him average 1.3 blocks a game.

“I’m excited to return to Leicester to give the fans what they deserve – which is more trophies and to be able to watch us live!” Commented Lee.

“We can’t wait to have the fans behind us and pack out the Morningside Arena. I’ve heard about the game-night atmosphere in Leicester and I’m looking forward to experiencing it next season.”

Lee becomes Riders fifth announcement of the summer having already announced the return of MVP Geno Crandall, club captain Darien Nelson-Henry, Mo Walker and academy graduate Greg Wild.

“William had an excellent season and we are excited to bring him back for year two,” reflected Coach Rob Paternostro.

“His rebounding and shot blocking were a vital part of our defence, and offensively he was a versatile player who made many big plays in big games.”

“William is a player that can play in many different spots on the floor which was very beneficial to our offence.”

“His athleticism is high level , he makes high flying plays on both ends of the floor that surely will get the fans out of their seats with excitement .. what was impressive to me was his feel for the game. He is a player that does so many winning things for a team that doesn’t always show up in the box score.”

Two home victories against Sheffield

Charnwood WEABL and EABL were both victorious against Sheffield College.


The Riders WEABL claimed an 82-72 win. The home team had a slow start as Sheffield took a four-point lead to end the first quarter. Charnwood slowly clawed their way back and gathered momentum for a 10-0 run. Molly James and Katie Januszewska had 18 points combined in the second quarter to help put the Riders on top. In the third, a big push from Sheffield and 11 points from Ella Whitehouse cut the lead to five. However, Charnwood were able to maintain control in the final quarter and get the home win. 

Charnwood WEABL was led by Katie Januszewska’s 26 points, whilst Sheffield’s sisterly duo, Abbey and Ella Whitehouse, had 18 and 15 a piece. 


Charnwood: Januszewska 26, James 16, Bird 12, Davies, 9, Shaw 7, Lambert 7, K.Cox 2, Harry 2, B.Cox 1. 

Sheffield: A. Whitehouse 18, E. Whitehouse 15, Oliver 12, Jakonya 7, Roberts 7, Borg 6, Graham 5, Chowdary 2. 


The Riders EABL finished the game with a 92-81 win. Out the gate, both teams were aggressive with Sheffield staying close on the scoreboard. Big statements dunks from both Victor Ndoukou and Nathan Conaty erupted the Charnwood bench, but then Sheffield’s Hensy Sako responded with two dunks of his own.  Midway in the third quarter, Charnwood focused on their execution and was able to start the fourth with a 13-point lead and finish the game with a win. 

Victor led the Riders with a double-double, 22 points and 11 rebounds,  and Louie Jordan hit five three’s to finish up with 18 points. Whereas, Sheffield was led by Hensy Sako’s 32 points, 12 rebounds and six steals.


Charnwood: Ndoukou 22, Jordan 18, Gudza 17, Hanson 14, Conaty 8, Woog 8, Perry 4, Campbell 1. 

Sheffield: Sako 32, Mcgrail 14, Ibrahim 14, Kom 11, Jones 8, Ali 2. 

Greg Wild signs first professional contract

Charnwood Academy graduate Greg Wild has signed his first professional contract with Leicester Riders.

Wild, who featured in both the BBL roster for Leicester and NBL roster for Loughborough last term, has committed his future to the programme signing a four-year contract.

“It’s a surreal feeling signing my first professional contract with such a decorated club with a lot of history and great success,” commented Greg.

“I am grateful for the opportunities that have led me to this point in my playing career and I’m ready to get to work with the guys ahead of next year.” 

“I can’t wait to get back out there and show everyone what I’m capable of, I want to keep getting better everyday.”

“I am blessed for the opportunity to study at Loughborough University through Loughborough College and thankful for the partnership between Riders and Loughborough to allow me to get my degree alongside playing basketball at a high level.”

Whilst on the Riders roster, Greg will study for a degree and be eligible to represent Loughborough in both the NBL and BUCS competitions.

“It’s fantastic for us to secure the services of such a talent like Greg,” commented Riders MD Russell Levenston.

“It’s pretty special for us to be able to offer a player from our academy programme a first professional contract. It’s a trend we are seeing more and more, and it shows any young basketball players that they don’t necessarily need to head to a US college to succeed.”

“We are in a position to be able to offer a long-term deal to Greg and we are delighted to have him on board. Not only are we impressed with his talents but his attitude and application throughout our programme has been outstanding.”

Walker signs new two-year deal

Leicester Riders have secured the signature of Canadian-born centre Mo Walker who has signed a new two-year deal, taking him to the end of the 2022-23 season.

“Obviously the last two seasons were very tough on Mo, two difficult injuries, but we were very happy to see him recover and make it back for the end of the season,” reflected Coach Rob Paternostro.

“He worked hard with his rehab and has shown a real commitment to getting back on the floor and producing again.”

Walker suffered two season ending injuries the last two seasons but, with the support of the Riders Sports Science staff, made a return to court earlier than scheduled in the May Madness Play-offs.

“Everyone knows that if he is healthy he is a real handful for any defense.”

“His size and strength can be very tough to deal with in the low post, but he also possesses a nice feel for the game and is a very skilled big.”

“He is a great teammate who has shown real leadership with a lot of our young players over the past two seasons, we believe his leadership will be beneficial to any team we put out on the floor.”

Walker attended University of Minnesota where he played for the Golden Gophers for five seasons. He scored a career-high 26 points against Penn State in one of his last games as a Golden Gopher. Following his collegiate career, Walker joined the Orlando Magic in the NBA Summer League before heading overseas to continue his professional career.

Mo has experience playing in Italy, Latvia, and France, as well as his time in the UK. Riders fans were first familiar with his talents when playing for the Worcester Wolves, where he averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists per game.

Walker will be in action this summer as he prepares for the new BBL season with Canadian CEBL side Guelph Nighthawks, starting on 28 June, alongside Corey Johnson.

Captain Darien looking forward to new season

Riders Captain Darien Nelson-Henry is looking forward to another year in Leicester next term.

Having signed a two-year deal last July, the American big who will be back for his third season, is also studying for his Masters degree at the Business School at Loughborough University.

“I am extremely excited to be coming back to the Riders for the 2021-22 season,” commented Darien.

“With hopefully a solid core unit returning, the experience of last season on missing out on some of the titles will drive our hunger and make us more determined to work hard this off-season.”

“I consider myself and the team to be very privileged to play under Coach Rob’s leadership again next season. He’s a great coach and next season is shaping up to be another successful year for the club.”

Captain Nelson-Henry led Riders to the League Title last year, a season where he was named in the BBL team of the year.

Charnwood College Boys Development Squad

Starting in September 2021, the Leicester Riders are looking for local talent to join their Charnwood College Development squad.

The Development Squad is open to Boys aged 16-19. The squad will follow a 10+ hour weekly programme consisting of Games, Team Practices, Skill Sessions, Strength & Conditioning and Video review sessions alongside quality education at Charnwood College. 

Please contact Will Maynard at [email protected] if you’re interested in joining!