2022/23 Schedule Released

Riders will travel South to take on the London Lions to kick off their 2022/23 campaign, scheduled for Friday 30th September. Fans at the Morningside Arena will welcome the Riders home for the first time in the upcoming season on Friday, 21st of October as they host the Manchester Giants. Keep your eyes on our social media channels and website for the full schedule! Here’s how the rest of the league shapes up:

The countdown to another showstopping season of British Basketball League (BBL) action can begin as the fixtures for 2022-23 campaign were announced today.

The curtain will rise on the new season on Friday, September 23rd, with six clubs opening the BBL Championship season. In the opening round of matches Bristol Flyers host Manchester Giants, Sheffield Sharks take on London Lions and Surrey Scorchers meet Cheshire Phoenix.

The fixtures come thick and fast, with a repeat of last season’s Play-off Final scheduled for the second weekend of the campaign with last season’s champions Leicester Riders doing battle with London Lions

Elsewhere the BBL Cup gets underway on October 2nd as teams battle it out once again to make the showpiece final at Birmingham’s Utilita Arena on Sunday, January 29th.

Meanwhile, the BBL Trophy begins on Friday, January 13th, with the final set to take place in late March, with the exact date and venue to be confirmed in due course.

The six non-BBL sides entering the BBL Trophy this season will be:
• Basketball Wales
• Derby Trailblazers
• Nottingham Hoods
• St Mirren
• Thames Valley Cavaliers
• Worthing Thunder

Earlier this month, the British Basketball League announced that the 2022-23 Championship will follow a new format, with each side facing the other on four occasions throughout the campaign.

The season will reach its conclusion with the end-of-season Play-Off Finals scheduled to take place on Sunday 14th May at The O2, London.

British Basketball fans can catch all of the action throughout the season on Sky Sports Arena, Sky Sports YouTube Channel, and the BBL Player.

All fixtures are subject to change.

Nelson-Henry returns!

After leading the Riders in a treble-winning year, Captain Darien Nelson-Henry has re-signed and will return to Leicester for the 2022/23 season.

The University of Pennsylvania graduate earned a spot on the Molten BBL Team of the Year in back-to-back seasons, after being named to the team this year. He averaged an index rating of 28.8, ranking second in the league, and was an efficient force down low, leading the team to the title by a franchise-record margin with 12 points and 5.6 rebounds a game. 

The upcoming year will mark the 6’11” big man’s fourth season in Leicester, as he looks to add to the four pieces of silverware he has brought to the Morningside Arena so far. 

“I am extremely excited to be back for another season with Riders. After all the success we had last season, we’re obviously trying to carry it over. On top of that, we have a European campaign to look forward to,” said Nelson-Henry.

“Hopefully, the success we had last season can be repeated along with an intensified schedule in Europe. We have managed to keep a lot of the squad together which is fantastic, as we had phenomenal chemistry last season. I am looking forward to another great season, with great people surrounding the club yet again!”

Head coach Rob Paternostro commented: “We are thrilled to have Darien back for another season. He has been a great player and leader for us both on and off the court.

“He is a very skilled high IQ player, who does a great job of scoring from the post or the pick and roll, he is also a tremendous passer who does a very good job of finding the open man.”

Riders to host Donar Groningen in preseason

The Riders will host Dutch outfit Donar Groningen during their upcoming preseason. The games will take place on Friday the 9th and Sunday the 11th of September, both at the Morningside Arena.

Leicester faced Donar home and away in last year’s postseason, the Dutch side proving a stern test for the Riders. The fixtures provided key minutes to the newly formed Leicester squad, setting them up for their treble-winning season. 

Donar enters their preseason off the back of a decorated year of their own, finishing third in the BNXT League and emerging victors of the NBB Cup. It was the seventh time Donar have lifted the trophy and secured their third-place league finish with a 14-6 record. 

These fixtures accompany the previously announced game against the USA Select, which takes place on Monday the 2nd of September.

Get your tickets here!

Riders Pre-Season Games

In anticipation of the 2022/23 BBL season, your treble-winning Leicester Riders are back for pre-season this September!

Leicester Riders vs USA Select
Friday 2nd September – Tip-off 8 PM

Pre-season Tickets

Adult £10
Concession £7.50
Child £5

Click here for tickets!
Corporate Packages for Club 1967 will be also available for these Riders pre-season games, please contact the Morningside Arena Box Office for more information.

Season Tickets

Leicester Riders 2022/23 Season Tickets are also now available! Secure your seat for all Riders Championship, Cup and BBL league games throughout the 2022/23 BBL Season by visiting:


Four Riders continuing multi-year deals

Four contracted Riders players are returning to Leicester for next season, as Patrick Whelan, Mo Walker, Kimbal Mackenzie and Conner Washington continue their multi-year deals. The quartet played a pivotal role in the Riders’ treble-winning season, and will look to bring further success to the Morningside Arena. 

Whelan was named in the Molten BBL Team of the Year, and the Molten BBL British Team of the Year last season! The Warrington-born two-guard led the Riders with 15.3 points per game, and was the BBL’s second-best three-point shooter on the year, averaging 48% from deep. 

Mackenzie and Washington combined to create an elite backcourt duo off the bench. They averaged 7.9 and 7.3 points respectively and stepped up in the biggest moments of the season. Washington played big minutes late in the Playoff semi-final and final, scoring 20 points in the semi-final’s second leg, while Mackenzie’s season-high of 15 points came in Leicester’s BBL Cup final win. 

Canadian/British big man Mo Walker was dominant down low, averaging 11.6 points and 5.2 rebounds a game. He shot 61% from the field and 71% from the free-throw line in an efficient season, putting up a season-high of 20 points and eight rebounds in March. 

“All four players were very influential in our team’s success last season,” commented head coach Rob Paternostro. “They displayed talent, professionalism and team play, and we are thrilled to have them back and look forward to watching them perform.”

BBL confirm new format

The British Basketball League (BBL) are excited to reveal new changes to the format of the BBL season ahead of the start of the 2022-23 campaign.

The new season will begin in September with BBL Championship action, with each team now facing each other four times (2H, 2A), playing 36 games across a 28-week league season. Basketball fans will be able to watch weekly action via both official broadcast partner Sky Sports and the BBL player.

The BBL Cup competition will now be a knockout competition featuring all 10 BBL teams. Those teams who placed 1st-6th in the 2021-22 league season will receive a bye into the Quarter Finals with seeds 1-4 receiving a guaranteed home date in the Quarter Finals.

The Semi-Finals will be an open draw. All rounds will be one-legged ties, as teams battle it out to make the final at Birmingham’s Utilita Arena for the final which takes place on Sunday 29th January.

The BBL Trophy will retain the same 16-team knockout bracket format, with the 10 BBL teams joining six invited non-BBL teams, who are to be announced in due course.

Those who made the Trophy Quarter Finals in the 2021-22 season will receive a guaranteed home tie in the First Round of the 2022-23 Trophy, with an open draw determining ties and seeding. All rounds will be one-legged ties.

The BBL Play-offs will retain the same format, with the top eight teams in the BBL Championship standings advancing to the Play-offs.

The BBL’s Chief Operating Officer, Andy Webb, said:

“We’re really excited to be announcing the new format for the 2022-23 season. The changes will help fans stay across all of the action taking place in the BBL Championship, Cup and Trophy, with each competition given precedence across dedicated weekends throughout the season. We’re looking forward to finalising and announcing the full fixture calendar to supporters in the coming weeks as preparations for another thrilling season of action continue.”

Fixtures for next season will be revealed in full later this summer, for further updates please visit bbl.org.uk and the leagues social media channels.

Rob Paternostro’s testimonial report!

The BBL All-Stars emerged 94-91 victors against the Riders Legends in coach Rob Paternostro’s testimonial game, honouring Paternostro’s tenure so far as Riders coach. 

The game came down to the final seconds, as the teams traded the lead in the final minute. The Riders Legends had a shot to tie, but Tyler Bernardini’s shot fell short to end the game. 

The fixture was hotly contested, with both sides hustling on both ends in a fitting tribute to coach Rob. Stars from past and present knuckled down on defence to create a high-quality display of basketball fought buzzer to buzzer.  

The opening stages were tightly contested, as former McDonald’s All-American Taylor King turned back the clock to start the game, draining his first three to get the action underway. Midway through the first, the BBL All-Stars edged a 10-12 start, with Dirk Williams of the London Lions leading the game with a pair of triples. 

Making their first changes of the game, the All-Stars fielded five of the BBL’s current elite to see out the quarter. They stretched their lead to eight to close the period, with Surrey Scorchers legend Tayo Ogendengbe laying in a fastbreak score to make it 27-19. 

Five quick Legends points started the second quarter, as big man Barry Lamble stringed a three to cut the deficit to one possession. The sides traded buckets in the period, before Zaire Taylor, who featured on the 2013 BBL Team of the Year, ran the fast break to tie it up with a layup. 

With two minutes remaining in the half, the Riders caught fire from deep, draining four straight to explode out to a double-digit lead. They carried their advantage into the half, leading 53-46 at the break. 

To start the second half, the BBL All-Stars fought back with back-to-back threes, as Dirk Williams’ deep shot made it a three-point game. In response, the Legends went on a run of their own, as Hassan’s midrange pull-up rebuilt the lead to nine. 

They held the All-Stars at arm’s length until two minutes left in the third, before they commenced a run to climb back into the game. Matthew Bryan-Amaning dished a flashy behind-the-back pass to the BBL’s most decorated player Darius Defoe, who tied the game up in close. 

Six quick Legends points to close the third made it 72-66 in their favour entering the final period. Bernardini took it coast to coast and drained a deep three at the buzzer, giving the Riders their narrow advantage. 

The sharpshooter stayed on hot form in the fourth, getting the period underway with another triple. Jorge Calvo rode the wave of momentum, hitting a shot at the buzzer to claim the Legends’ first double-digit lead. 

The All-Stars chipped away at the advantage, cutting it to three with three minutes remaining. Manchester Giants’ Josh Steel turned up in the clutch, driving to the hoop to make it a one-point game a minute later. 

Josephs, who averaged 18 points in the BBL last season, took the All-Stars first lead of the fourth with a triple, setting up a tense finale with 40 seconds on the clock. With 4 seconds left, the Riders had a shot to tie at the buzzer, but Bernardini’s shot fell short to end the game. 

The fixture completes the season’s basketball at the Morningside Arena, as Rob and the Riders look forward to the next season to earn further silverware. 

Rob Paternostro testimonial Preview: Riders Legends

A roster of Riders Legends return to the Morningside Arena to celebrate Coach Rob Paternostro’s legendary tenure at the reigns, suiting up to face the BBL All-Stars in an All-Star testimonial game. 

Players from across Rob’s 14-year tenure as head coach will be competing, as Riders fans will get an opportunity to see legends from past eras at the Morningside Arena once more. 

Tickets are available here!

After competing in Leicester in the 2016/17 season, former G-League power-forward Taylor King has returned from retirement for the game. King averaged 12.5 points and eight rebounds in his season at Leicester, winning the league, trophy and playoff treble and being named to the BBL Team of the Year. 

“I’m feeling very grateful to be able to head back to Leicester, where I had so many great memories, just to have the opportunity to suit up again and go hoop with a bunch of very talented players,” said King. 

“Rob is the best. I played for lots of great coaches in my career, and he is up there with the best of them. I’m extremely lucky and thankful to be able to head back to Leicester, where I cemented so many great memories, and reunite with many great players who I keep in contact with today. 

“I’m also thankful to be able to play in front of the Riders faithful. To see that amazing fanbase again is a blessing!”

Joining him from the 2016/17 season are Drew Sullivan, Harrison Gamble, Shane Walker, Andy Thomson and captain Tyler Bernardini. The group have 20 Riders seasons between them, and together helped build the most successful period in franchise history. 

Sharing the court with them in honour of Rob is Jay Couisnard, who played two seasons for the Riders from 2012 to 2014. The 6’6” two-guard averaged 16 points per game in his second Riders season and is looking forward to his return to Leicester. 

“I’m honoured and happy to be involved. Being able to come back to show appreciation for Coach Rob and the Riders organization was a no-brainer for me. I’m excited to see everyone including the fans and former teammates.” 

Couisnard played a fundamental role in securing Paternostro’s first silverware, in a treble-winning year in 2013. Accompanying him from that roster is Jorge Calvo, Zaire Taylor, Drew Sullivan and captain Barry Lamble, who got the ball rolling for Paternostro’s winning ways in Leicester. 

Completing the roster is Rema Lascelles, a 6’6” guard who played three seasons from 2017 to 2020, and Rashad Hassan, whose two seasons in Leicester starting in 2013 kick-started his seven-year professional career, which continues to flourish with the Plymouth City Patriots.

“I feel honoured to be a part of the game. Rob is a champion on and off the court, and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to have started my professional career with the Leicester Riders,” commented Hassan. 

“It’s going to be fun catching up with my former teammates and players I’ve played against throughout my career as well. There’s going to be some amazing talent playing in this game so I’m sure the fans will be in for a fun and competitive game.” 

 Coach Rob’s right-hand man, assistant coach Pablo Vazquez, has shared the sidelines with Rob since 2016. He added: “The commitment and hard work since the moment Rob arrived at this club has created a legacy.

“It will be a great event with so many players who have created history in British Basketball. I’m hoping for a great crowd to celebrate Rob’s commitment to the Leicester Riders organisation!”

In anticipation of the game, coach Rob commented:

“I’m so excited about Saturday. Seeing so many friends in one place will make it a night to remember. I feel honoured to be given this testimonial game and I appreciate all the people who have helped put this night together.”

The game should be a high level of basketball, and that’s something I really wanted to have. The rosters are filled with so much talent, so it should be fun watching all those great players go at it.”

British Basketball League Launches League Ambassadors programme

Campaign will target 1,000 schools and inspire 150,000 young people across the UK to get involved with sport in their local communities. 

The British Basketball League has today launched its Ambassadors programme, which will see players and staff across the league promote the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle to thousands of school children in local communities across the UK.

The project has been launched as part of the BBL’s ‘Inspires’ initiative, where key members of each of the league’s 10 clubs will visit schools in their local community to tell their stories about their pathway to becoming a professional athlete.

There will be an emphasis on how participating in sports like basketball benefits youngsters’ physical health but also the positive influence it has on their mental health. The sessions will also highlight how sport plays a role in tackling various societal issues and how the next generation hold the power to be trailblazers for social change. 

Some of the key topics covered in the sessions will include; their personal career journeys, the importance of sport and education as well as the benefits of being physically active. Maintaining good mental health will also be emphasised and players will discuss the importance of being respectful and understanding of societal differences. Above all, the club ambassadors will look to inspire the next generation of young people within their respective communities. 

Players from across both the BBL and WBBL (Women’s British Basketball League) will lead the sessions when they launch across their local communities later this month. Students will get the opportunity to ask the players questions and learn more about what it takes to be a professional athlete both on and off the court.

The campaign, which has been funded and backed by Sport England in partnership with the Basketball Foundation, will see the BBL and WBBL clubs’ visit over 1000 schools and deliver school assembly sessions to 150,000 students nationwide.

The Leicester Riders Foundation will be attending a number of schools in the Leicestershire area to deliver sessions in school assemblies, where they will speak to students about some of the key topics surrounding the Ambassadors programme, the importance of a good education and how sport plays a huge part in physical and mental wellbeing.

Basketball remains the third most played team sport across the country, with 1.2 million people picking up a basketball each week, 80% of which are aged 16-34. Basketball continues to be at the heart of local communities too with 900,000 under 16s participating each week, making the sport the second most popular with 14–16-year-olds in the UK.  Additionally, The BBL is one the most culturally diverse leagues in world sport, with 70% of its players coming from ethnic minority backgrounds. However, with 13% of Brits (5.4 million) believing their ethnicity and/or culture is not represented by sporting icons around today, the campaign aims to give students role models from the league who can inspire them to get involved and actively pursue opportunities within sport and education. 

Speaking around the launch of the campaign, Chief Operating Officer at the British Basketball League, Andy Webb, said: “We’re really proud to be launching the Ambassadors programme with the support of the clubs competing in the BBL alongside their WBBL counterparts. I’d like to thank Sport England, the Basketball Foundation and everyone across the league who has been involved in setting up this programme that will benefit thousands of youngsters across the country. 

He added: “Basketball in the UK has the power to inspire the next generation and our league is very fortunate to have so many role models that young people look up to and aspire to be. Our clubs already do a great deal of work in their local communities to address a range of societal issues and we look forward to seeing the impact the sessions have as they begin to take place over the coming weeks.”

Phil Smith at Sport England said: “It’s great to see this programme launch. We all know the physical and mental benefits of being active, and how much value there is in being part of a team. We think that athletes can inspire young people to enjoy sport. It’s vital that role models are representative of communities so that young people can see themselves reflected in sport at all levels of the game. The BBL Ambassadors Programme will help to bridge that gap and inspire the next generation of young players”

Following today’s launch, the BBLs clubs will head into local schools and start delivering the inspiring and thought-provoking sessions. To keep up to date and to find out more visit www.bblinspires.co.uk.

About the British Basketball League and BBL Inspires:

The British Basketball League (BBL) has been at the pinnacle of British hoops since its inception in 1987 and represents the highest level of the professional game in the UK.

The League has a colourful history that spans over 30 years including great teams, dynasties, memorable moments, and unforgettable players and coaches. 

There are currently 10 franchises in the League. All clubs are equal shareholders in the League with a separate independent Management Board overseeing implementation of the Business Plan and day to day running of the League.

The current franchises are:

– Bristol Flyers

– Cheshire Phoenix

– Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks

–  Leicester Riders

– London Lions

– Manchester Giants

–  Newcastle Eagles

–  Plymouth City Patriots

–  B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

–  Surrey Scorchers

BBL clubs are increasingly built on the foundations of strong community programmes. Whilst providing positive role models for young people, clubs are also actively involved in developing the next generation of British basketball players and promoting the sport, and associated healthy lifestyles, to young people in their localities.

About Sport England:

Sport England is a public body and invests up to £300 million National Lottery and government money each year in projects and programmes that help people get active and play sport.

It wants everyone in England, regardless of age, background, or level of ability, to feel able to engage in sport and physical activity. That’s why a lot of its work is specifically focused on helping people who do no, or very little, physical activity and groups who are typically less active – like women, disabled people and people on lower incomes.

Rob Paternostro Testimonial Preview: BBL All-Stars

Coach Rob Paternostro’s All-Star Testimonial game will see the BBL All-Stars take on Riders Legends in a highly anticipated fixture. A collection of some of the greatest talent to grace the BBL will suit up to form a star-studded cast, as the All-Stars will prove a formidable outfit in what is set to be a hotly contested game.  

Get your tickets here!

London Lions’ walking bucket Dirk Williams, GB’s most consecutively capped player Teddy Okereafor and Manchester Giants’ sharpshooter Josh Steel represent some of the BBL’s elite set to take the court. 

“I’m excited! It’s cool to be named to play alongside all of these other great players,” said Steel, the London-born two-guard who shot 42% from deep last season. “The Riders always put on a good show, so I’m looking forward to a good night and to be able to lace them up with some talented guys.”

Some of the BBL’s all-time greats will don the black and yellow of the All-Stars. Sheffield Sharks’ all-time leading scorer Mike Tuck and the league’s most decorated player Darius Defoe are just two names on a roster stacked with accomplishments. 

Mathew Bryan-Amaning is another, the 6’8” forward has played 14 pro seasons, five in the BBL. “The roster that has been put together is excellent, with a lot of active guys who play to a high standard,” commented Bryan-Amaning, who averaged 20 points per game for the London Lions in 2014.

“It should be a good event, and a good day of basketball. The fans don’t get to see these guys playing often, especially all at one time, so it will be a good event to celebrate Rob’s achievement’s so far!”

Among those to recently grace the BBL are electric GB guard Kofi Josephs, who averaged a league-best 21 points for the Plymouth City Patriots last season, and Jordan Williams, who has eight BBL seasons to his name, including last season spent with the London Lions.

Joining them is Surrey Scorcher legend Tayo Ogendengbe, who has competed in the BBL for the last 12 seasons, averaging 17 points in the 2018/19 season.

Completing the squad is 17-year European pro Devon Van Oostrum, who averaged 16 points for the Leeds Force in 2015, and Newcastle Eagles’ legend Charles Smith, the 2014-15 BBL MVP winner who averaged 18.6 points that season.

Coach Rob’s right-hand man, assistant coach Pablo Vazquez, has shared the sidelines with Rob since 2016. He added: “The commitment and hard work since the moment Rob arrived at this club has created a legacy.

“It will be a great event with so many players who have created history in British Basketball. I’m hoping for a great crowd to celebrate Rob’s commitment to the Leicester Riders organisation!”

In anticipation of the game, coach Rob commented:

“I’m so excited about Saturday. Seeing so many friends in one place will make it a night to remember. I feel honoured to be given this testimonial game and I appreciate all the people who have helped put this night together.”

The game should be a high level of basketball, and that’s something I really wanted to have. The rosters are filled with so much talent, so it should be fun watching all those great players go at it.”

Testimonial rosters announced

A host of Riders legends and BBL All-stars will be on court at Morningside Arena for Rob Paternostro’s testimonial on 11 June 2022. With a few big name additions still expected to join the current line-ups, the final line-ups will be announced later this week.

The teams will be split along Riders lines with generations of Riders stars to play a BBL All-Stars team.

Riders Legends
Tyler Bernardini
Jorge Calvo
Jay Couisnard
Harrison Gamble
Rashad Hassan
Taylor King
Barry Lamble
Rema Lascelles
Zaire Taylor
Drew Sullivan
Andy Thomson
Shane Walker

BBL All-stars
Matthew Bryan Amaning
Darius Defoe
Kofi Josephs
Tayo Ogedengbe
Teddy Okereafor
Charles Smith
Josh Steel
Mike Tuck
Devon Van Oostrum
Dirk Williams
Jordan Williams

Coaching staff will be announced this week and the line-up for the half-time 3-point contest competitors!

Tickets are available here.