Crandall departs for Germany

Riders have accepted a bid from German BBL side BG Göttingen to buy BBL MVP Geno Crandall out of his new contract.

Despite signing in July, BG Göttingen’s bid triggered a release in the contract with Crandall that allows him to leave if an exceptional opportunity presented itself.

As such Crandall will now play for the FIBA Europe Cup side in Germany this coming season.

“We always said that if a team came in for Geno, and he wanted to go, we wouldn’t stand in his way, provided the club was compensated,” commented Managing Director Russell Levenston.

“He’s been the MVP in the league for the last two seasons and he was always going to attract attention from bigger European Clubs and leagues.”

“We were hopeful it wouldn’t be the case having recruited the majority of players back from last season.”

“He has tremendous ability and made an immeasurable impact not only on our club but also the BBL as a whole.”

“We wish Geno, Tasha and his young family all the best for the future in Germany and beyond.”

Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro reflected on Geno’s departure:

“We wish Geno all the best and thank him for a tremendous two seasons. He is a fantastic player and competitor who produced in so many ways.”

“To say it’s a big blow would be an understatement. Obviously, we built this team with the thought that Geno would be back so now we have to adjust.” 

“We have a tough resilient group that will be ready to rise to challenge.”

Riders Acquire Oliana Squires

The Leicester Riders roster for the 2022/23 WBBL season continues to take shape as the club are pleased to announce the signing of US guard Oliana Squires.

Squires will begin her pro career with the Riders after a four-year college career with Montana State where in her senior year she averaged 11.3ppg, 3.2apg & 1.7spg.

The Colorado native joins fellow new signings Jade Compton & McKenzie Johnston in signing a 2-year deal to combine playing WBBL alongside studying for a masters at Loughborough University.

“It has been a dream of mine to play professionally, and I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to play basketball again. I am happy that I have found a team and coach that believe in me and will help me succeed. I look forward to getting back on the court again and having a great season with the Leicester Riders.”

Head Coach Krumesh Patel believes Squires will be a terrific addition for his team:

“Oliana is a great fit for us. She is someone with something to prove. She’s a dynamic guard that can pass and score, so that will complement the other members of our backcourt. She just has a great feel for the game and her personality will fit in perfectly with the Riders.”

Riders head to North Macedonia for BCL

FIBA have released the four host venues for the Qualification Rounds – TFT Skopje (MKD), Unicaja (ESP), SL Benfica (POR) and FMP Meridian (SRB), taking place in September.

These four tournaments will determine the last four spots in the Regular Season of BCL’s seventh season. Riders will travel to North Macedonia, the home of Skopje for their games.

Qualification Round Tournament 1 (Group A) – Skopje, MKD – Boris Trajkovski Sports Center

Game days: 21, 23 & 25 September 2022
Participating Clubs: Fribourg Olympic (SUI), Tofas Bursa (TUR), CSO Voluntari (ROU), Leicester Riders (GBR), NINERS Chemnitz (GER), TFT Skopje (MKD)

Quarter-Final 1: Leicester Riders vs CSO Voluntari
Quarter-Final 2: TFT Skopje vs NINERS Chemnitz

Semi-Final 1: Tofas Bursa vs Winner of Leicester Riders/CSO Voluntari
Semi-Final 2: Fribourg Olympic vs Winner of TFT Skopje/NINERS Chemnitz

Final: Winner SF1 – Winner SF2

The four winners of the Qualification Round tournaments will qualify for the Regular Season, joining the 28 directly qualified teams.

Tip-off times will be determined at a later stage.

Riders WBBL Staff Takes Shape

With preparations well underway for the 2022/23 WBBL Season, the Leicester Riders new Head Coach Krumesh Patel has put the finishing touches to his staff.

He will be ably assisted throughout the coming campaign by three assistant coaches: Kiran Wiltshire, Oli Parr & Nick Moodey.

Kiran Wiltshire is well known within the Riders set up having previously worked for the club for ten years within the Riders Foundation.

She completed her level 3 coaching alongside fellow Riders coaches Krumesh Patel & Will Maynard and has coaching experience with the University of Leicester where she has coached both the Men’s and Women’s 1st Teams.

Coach Patel is delighted to have Kiran join the staff:

“I have known Kiran since I was 14, so to have her with us is great. She has a tone of experience in multiple areas and will be a great person for the players to have around“.

Oli Parr re-joined the club last year as an assistant coach to then Head Coach Marg Jones. He will continue to assist the WBBL team as well as becoming the Head Coach of the Loughborough Riders Women’s Division one team.

He had previously been with the Riders programme for 4 years from 2016 where he advanced from assisting at Charnwood College to leading multiple teams at both the Academy and National League level as well as assisting the WBBL team.

Coach Patel is looking forward to working alongside Oli again.

“I worked with Oli for 4 years and it was an easy decision to have him on the staff. He has developed his coaching a lot and will be a great asset to us for the coming season“.

Nick Moodey will continue as WBBL Assistant Coach having held the same role for previous coaches Jesper Sundberg & Marg Jones. He will also be taking up the position of Women’s Charnwood Academy Head Coach.

Nick is another who has progressed his way through the Riders coaching pathway. Started out in 2018 coaching the Loughborough Women’s 3rd BUCS team and helping with coaching at the Leicester Riders Foundation. In 2021 he was appointed Loughborough Women’s 2nd BUCS Head Coach and Head Coach of the Loughborough Riders Women’s Division one team.

Coach Patel sees Moodey as an important cog in the Riders wheel:

“Nick was great for the programme last year and will be a good link between the WBBL and Charnwood. He is a growing coach and we’re delighted to be part of his development journey “.

Backing up Coach Patel and his assistant coaches will be additional support staff consisting of:

Sam MacGregor – Physio

Jack Clarke – Strength & Conditioning Coach

Adam Collins – Nutritionist

Sara Svoboda – Sports Psychologist

Sanne Hofman – Team Manager / Operations Manager

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented

“We have a great WBBL staff team this year who will help to take our programme to the next level. We continue to provide a high performance, professional environment where our professional women’s players will be able to thrive”.

Jackson re-signs with Riders!

Zach Jackson returns to Leicester for the 2022/23 season, after the star guard played an integral role in the Riders’ treble-winning season last year! 

The Omaha graduate averaged 10 points per game last season, shooting 49% from the field while playing elite defence on the other end. Throughout his second Riders’ season, Jackson showcased his ability to take over games, scoring 10 straight points in the playoff quarter-final to see the Riders progress to the semis. 

Jackson’s season-high came against the Bristol Flyers, where he scored 28 points on 57% shooting to earn a hard-fought road win. He brings elite scoring ability, defence and a team-first mentality to the Morningside Arena. 

“I’m excited to be coming back to Leicester after the success we had last season. I’ve learned a lot playing under coach Rob and with the other talented players we have,” said Jackson.

“Playing in the Champions League is a big step-up in competition, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to return for my third season as a Rider!”

“We are thrilled to have Zach back with us for another season,” commented Rob Paternostro.

“He was excellent for us last season. You name it, and he did it. Defence, offence, clutch plays: he is an all-around player who knows how to win. A physical player with good size, who can score in many different ways and from many different spots on the floor.”

“Zach’s professionalism has been fantastic from day one. He continues to add to his game and is always improving. He knows how to work, and is a guy that prepares very well.”

Johnston Joins Riders

Leicester Riders are pleased to announce the signing of US combo guard McKenzie Johnston ahead of the 2022/23 WBBL Season.

Johnston has signed a 2-year deal to play WBBL alongside studying for her masters at Loughborough University.

The exciting guard had a stand-out college career with Montana where she got 1398 points and 515 assists, ranking her 7th and 4th in the program’s history. In her final year, she was voted onto the First-Team All-Big Sky Conference as she led her team in points and assists while being second in boards and steals.

Her pro career was slightly delayed due to covid but last season she played in Germany with Bad Homburg helping her side to promotion while averaging 12.7ppg, 6.1rpg, 5apg & 2.6spg. She shot 58% from the field and 38.5% from three as she finished second in the league for assists and sixth in steals and efficiency.

“I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to go to England and play for the Leicester Riders! The coaches & staff have been nothing but welcoming. Coming off a championship in Germany, it has me excited to get back on court again. I’m very eager to get to work and achieve big things with the team this season.”

Coach Krumesh Patel is delighted to add the latest piece to his team’s roster:

“I’m really excited to have McKenzie join us. She had an excellent college career and then was in Germany last year winning a championship and leading her team to promotion. That sort of experience will be great for us as a team. After speaking with her, I knew she would be a great asset to us and fit in with the style I want this team to play”.

Jubril Returns!

Riders are delighted to announce that Jubril Adekoya has signed a new contract for the 2022/23 season. The American/Brit was central to the Riders’ BBL best defensive record last season, the versatile power forward playing with intensity and hustle all season. 

Adekoya scored a season-high of 18 points against the Glasgow Rocks last season, and his 16-point performance in the BBL Cup Quarter-Final helped the Riders win the competition on the way to their treble. 

The Valparaiso graduate’s talent transcends the box score, however, and will look to continue to help the Riders to further successes with his defence and basketball IQ. 

“I’m excited to be back for a second year in Leicester, and add to the number of guys returning to build on what we started last year as a group”, said Adekoya.

“It was an easy decision to return, especially with the number of guys coming back.”

Coach Rob Paternostro commented: “Jubril had a great season for us. He was a great teammate who was always prepared to play. We are excited to have him back.”

“He provided us with a versatile skill-set, high IQ and toughness that played a huge part in our treble-winning season.”

“Defensively, he is very versatile. He understands team concepts and has the ability to cover multiple positions. Offensively, he is comfortable in many spots on the floor. He can play in many different lineups and can do damage both inside and out.”

Robb Selected for Commonwealth Games

Everyone at the Leicester Riders would like to wish good luck to Hannah Robb as she prepares to take part in this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

Having played for Scotland at every level from U13’s to the senior national team the GB guard is excited to represent her country at a major games, as she competes in the 3×3 basketball which debuts at this year’s games.

Although only 24 years of age Robb has vast experience with over 140 WBBL games under her belt in 6 seasons, amassing upwards of 1200 points in the process.

She will be joined on the Scottish team by London Lions star guard Kennedy Leonard, Caledonia Pride’s Sian Phillips and former Rider Claire Paxton who steps up to take the place of another former Rider Erin McGarrachan who played during the qualifying wins over Wales and Northern Ireland.

Good luck Hannah!

Compton Signs on at Riders

The Leicester Riders continue to build their roster for the 2022/23 WBBL season with the signing of US wing Jade Compton who joins on a 2-year deal while also studying for her masters at Loughborough University.

Jade is a 5’10” forward who is known for playing hard at both ends of the court. She is an efficient scorer with the ability to shoot from the perimeter, as well as being a versatile defender and an aggressive offensive rebounder. This will be her first pro season as she is fresh out of Presbyterian College where last year she averaged 16.2ppg & 6.9rpg shooting 54% from the field and 37% from three.

Compton is excited to get started:

“First and foremost I would like to thank God. He continues to bless me with new opportunities to show my capabilities. My support team is forever strong and I love it. I’m excited to be joining the Leicester Riders and can’t wait to make something special with my new team. The sky is the limit. Let’s go Riders!!”

Coach Krumesh Patel added:

I’m really pleased that we have managed to get Jade to join us. She has good size and the ability to stretch the floor, she’s also a tough defender who can guard multiple positions. She is coming off a good Senior year with Coach Sharp and we’re excited that she has decided to join us for her rookie season. After good conversations, she has great ambitions which is something we are looking for in our players and we’ll do our best to help her achieve her goals.

NCS Wave 1 donate Pizzas to the Homeless

Following their week long residential at Kingswood Dearne Valley our NCS Wave 1 group headed to Peter Pizzeria in Leicester City Centre on Monday morning to make Pizza’s to donate to The Bridge Homeless Charity.

The Bridge is a Homeless Charity that aims to support those in need and provide access to a range of therapeutic and empowering services such as washing facilities, food and drink and support & advice from case workers.

Our NCS Participants were split into groups and undertook a pizza making masterclass and a talk on homelessness and the work that The Bridge do in the community to provide support to the homeless. The young people then got a chance to make pizzas of their own that were then donated to the Bridge Charity.

Rhien Shepard our NCS Wave Leader thought it was great to see the young people come together for such a good cause. “It was such an enriching and insightful day with the young people learning about the impact of homelessness.”

“It was great to see them coming together as a wave showing their creativity, dough spinning skills and making so many amazing pizzas to be donated to The Bridge. What a pure act of kindness.”

The rest of the week the young people will be working out in the local community completing social action projects , giving back and volunteering in their local areas. 

For further updates on our work with NCS check out @RidersBF on all social media platforms.

X2 BBL MVP Geno Crandall pens new deal!

Back-to-back BBL MVP Geno Crandall returns to the Riders! ‘The general’ led the Riders to a treble-winning year last season, and will look to help bring yet more silverware to the Morningside Arena.

Winning MVP last season, Crandall became just the fourth player in BBL history to win the award back-to-back. It was one of three individual awards for Crandall this past season, having also picked up the BBL Cup final MVP and the BBL Playoff final MVP.

Crandall led the Riders to their biggest league-winning margin in franchise history, as the Riders concluded the year with a 27-2 record, 16 points clear of second place. He put up his season-high scoring effort to clinch the league title with 25 points against the Plymouth City Patriots.

The Gonzaga graduate finished the season averaging 13.1 points and 6.8 assists, his assist tally ranking in the top five in the BBL. He also ranked second in +/- and top 10 in steals, as his efforts showed up all over the box score.

“We are thrilled to have Geno back in Leicester, he is a proven winner with hardware to back it up,” commented head coach Rob Paternostro.

“He is a guy that has provided an elite level of play from day one. He can do it all on both ends of the floor, his playmaking and ability to eliminate defenders really makes us go on offence, and his athletic ability, ball pressure and intelligence have been valuable to our defence.”

Crandall is looking forward to taking the Riders into Europe: “I’ve always wanted to challenge myself to reach the highest levels I can as a player and entering into European competition gives me the opportunity to do that.”

Geno becomes the seventh player announcement of the summer alongside Darien Nelson-Henry and Blake Bowman, joining multi-year players Conner Washington, Mo Walker, Patrick Whelan and Kimbal Mackenzie.

Riders measured approach in Europe

Earlier this month Leicester Riders confirmed they would take part in European competition in the form of the Champions League Qualification rounds again this season.

Managing Director Russell Levenston explains the decision to enter Europe in the Champions League competition this term.

“Our ambitions are to be competing at the top-level of Europe and believe champions league is the right competition for our club. We assessed the merits of us joining the FIBA Europe Cup if we don’t qualify but decided that wasn’t right for us.” 

“Each competition comes with its own financial and logistical pressures, and believe the commercial level of the Champions League is the correct one for us.”

“We have to build the foundations, it’s a learning process for us. Our aim is to be competing on the European stage each season, but it’s pivotal that this is done within our means and in a measured and sustainable way to build on our successes.”

“I’d like to thank our sponsors for continuing to support us – particularly Jelson Homes, Morningside, Lumbers Jewellers and Hilton Hotels & Resorts.”

“We are all looking forward to the game against CSO Voluntari, they had great domestic success last season and it will prove a test for us.”

Robb Returns for Riders

The Leicester Riders are delighted to announce that Great Britain guard Hannah Robb will again be part of their roster for the upcoming 2022/23 WBBL Season.

Robb will embark on a seventh season in the WBBL and a third with the Riders, having previously been a key member of their 2020/21 WBBL Cup winning side.

In the WBBL Championship, last season, her all-action game saw her average 11.5ppg, 6.6rpg, 5apg, 2spg as she was named her team’s Defensive Player of the Year.

“I’m really excited to be back for another year with the Riders! It’s a great opportunity for me to continue to grow individually and with the team. I’m looking forward to working with Krumesh and I’m hoping to use my experience to help take the team to the next level. I can’t wait to get started.

I’m looking forward to our new team arriving and I think we will be competitive in what should be an exciting year for us.

Coach Krumesh Patel sees her as a key component in his new lineup:

“It’s a great signing to have Hannah continue with us at the Riders as she has been a standout player for the club over the past couple of seasons. Her ability to stretch the floor is going to be vital for us. I have been lucky enough to work with her at GB Under 20’s and I’m really looking forward to having a full season of coaching her. She is a very motivated and driven individual and just the sort of character we want to push us forward. I’m hopeful that we can help her to continue adding to her game development and to see her grow and thrive throughout the season”.

Arlen Returns to WBBL with Riders

Leicester Riders have begun preparations for the 2022/23 WBBL season with the signing of former League MVP Ashley Arlen (Harris).

Arlen will be well known within the WBBL from a successful three-year spell at the Nottingham Wildcats where she comfortably averaged a double double in each of her seasons, finishing with an average of 21.3ppg and 11.2rpg across her stay in the East Midlands as well as securing both League and Cup Final MVP honours.

After taking a break and becoming a mother, Arlen returned to pro basketball last year, signing, for now, Riders coach Krumesh Patel at Swedish side Wetterbygden Sparks where she averaged 14.8 ppg and 7.9rpg.

With professional experience in Romania, Germany, Spain, Australia as well as the UK, Arlen will bring invaluable expertise and leadership to what will be a much-changed Riders roster this term.

“I am beyond thrilled for the opportunity to be back in England and playing for the Riders! Last season playing under Krumesh in Sweden was a fantastic opportunity and I knew playing another season for him was something I wanted to do. I am excited to get to work with the team and hope that my experience and love for the game can help us achieve big things this season”

Coach Krumesh Patel is equally excited to continue his working relationship with Arlen:

“I’m really excited to have Ash back in the WBBL. It was nice to have her on the team in Sweden and she did an excellent job considering she had been out for 3 years after having Amaia. I think she will be a tremendous addition to our side as she is a proven scorer and after seeing her last season, I know she still has more to give. She has great leadership qualities, so I am delighted to have her join the Leicester Riders

Further signings will be announced shortly.

Riders play CSO Voluntari in Champions League opener

Riders have been drawn against CSO Voluntari of Romania in the first game of the Champions League Qualifying Rounds.

The game will be played on 21 September with the central venue being confirmed on 20 July.

Should Riders make it past CSO Voluntari, Rob Paternostro’s men then face TOFAŞ Spor Kulübü of Turkey.

The third knockout game would be against one of TFT Skopje (North Macedonia), Niners Chemnitz (Germany) or Fribourg Olympic (Switzerland).

Should the Riders reach the Champions League regular season they have been drawn in Group A alongside UCAM Murcia (Spain), Falco Szombathely (Hungary) and SIG Strasbourg (France).

Leicester Riders last competed in Europe in the 2018-19 season.

LRF present schools Champions partnership plaques

The Leicester Riders Foundation has awarded Champions Partnership Plaques to schools who have worked with us throughout the 2021/22 season.

To qualify to be awarded with a Champions Partnership Plaque Schools must have worked with LRF from September through till June of which there are four schools. The other schools who qualified for the award have either extended their primary coaching sessions or have re booked for the following school year.

Karen Burton, Schools Project Officer for the Foundation is delighted with the partnerships that the Foundation has formed in schools over the past year.

“I am really happy to be able to present something to the schools that have formed a working partnership with our Foundation throughout the year.”

“It takes a lot of commitment from both the school and Pupils to commit to sessions on a weekly basis. I am really excited that our schools projects is growing and we felt that schools that have been with us since September and other schools that have extended their original package with us needed some recognition of the work that we are undertaking together to help with sport and Education coming out of Covid.”

For more information on the work that the Leicester Riders Foundation does in schools and the packages we offer email [email protected].

Schools awarded:

Hope Hamilton Church of England

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School

St Mary fields Primary School

All Saints Church of England Primary School

St Clares Roman CAtholic Primary School

Wreake Valley Academy

Ashby Hilltop Primary School

Uplands Junior LEAD Academy

Taylor Road Primary School

Glenhills Primary School

Quorn Hall School

North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College


Vista Children and Young people

Heather Primary School

Birkett House School

Ellesmere College

Foxfields Academy

Over the past year the Leicester Riders Foundation has also worked in the schools below and is hoping to grow our schools supervision with these schools into next school year.

Forest House School

Beaumont Lodge Primary

Wigston Academy

RavenHurst Primary

Fosse Mead Primary School

Bishop Challenor College

Foalville Primary

King Richards

Humberstone junior Academy

LRF host Summer Camp Series

This summer the Leicester Riders Foundation will be hosting 4 camps in 4 different locations across Leicestershire over the months of July and August.

All camps are open to participants of all abilities, beginner to intermediate, providing opportunities for players to develop their game in a fun and safe environment with Leicester Riders Foundation community coaches.

LRF Beaumont Leys Summer Camp

Beaumont Leys School, Anstey Lane, Leicester, LE4 0FL

25th – 28th July, 10am – 4pm

8 – 16 years old

£20 per day / £60 all four days

Click here to book!

LRF Beauchamp Summer Camp

Beauchamp College, Ridge Way, Oadby, Leicester, LE2 5TP

1st – 5th August, 10am – 4pm

8 – 16 years old
£20 per day / £75 all week

Click here to book!

LRF All Saints Mini Camp

All Saints C of E Primary School, Ashby Road, Coalville, Leicestershire, LE67 3LB

10th – 12th August, 10am – 1pm

7 – 11 years old
£22 all three days

Click here to book!

LRF Morningside Arena Summer Camp 

15th – 17th August, 10am – 4pm

8 – 16 years old
£20 per day / £45 all three days

Click here to book!

Riders sign Bowman!

Riders have signed exciting young British star Blake Bowman on a multi-year deal, his first professional contract! The 20-year-old Derby native has played his last three seasons with his hometown Trailblazers in the NBL, before setting his sights on turning professional. 

Bowman averaged 19 points, six rebounds and three assists in the NBL last season, and helped bring silverware to the midlands too. He played a pivotal role in their L Lynch Trophy win, averaging 17 points and 6.5 rebounds through the tournament, and putting up a double-double in the final. 

“We are thrilled to have Blake join our club, he is coming off an excellent season for Derby and we are looking for him to come in and display those skills right away,” commented head coach Rob Paternostro.

“I really enjoyed watching him play this season, he is very athletic with good size and length that can really get to the rim. He has a versatility to his game that’s exciting for now and for the future.” 

“We have had some very good young players who have studied at Loughborough and played professionally with us. Conner Washington, Jamell Anderson and Josh Ward-Hibbert are players that flourished in that situation both on and off the court.”

Bowman will continue his studies at Loughborough while competing for Leicester in the BBL, the 6’6” wing is excited to get going… 

“I’m very excited to be going up against the best players in the country week in, week out. I’m looking forward to the challenge of playing against established pros,” said Bowman. 

“The level of competition within the team is the highest in Britain. Competing with these guys everyday in practice will only make it easier come game time.”

Blake’s father Barry had a spell in the BBL during his professional career, while his uncle, Marc Hawley played 56 games in two seasons for the Riders between 1997 and 1999.

The move to Riders has been made possible with the great relationship held between the club and Loughborough University/Loughborough College who continue to support giving the next generation of players opportunities to further their education.

Riders to compete in Basketball Champions League Qualifiers

Leicester Riders are excited to announce their inclusion in the qualification rounds of the Basketball Champions League (BCL) for the 2022/23 season. The prestigious competition is the top-tier of basketball organised by FIBA Europe.

Leicester will participate in a 24-team qualification round, in which four teams will progress to the regular season of the BCL. The draw for the qualification round will take place on Thursday 7 July at 10am.

“It’s an exciting time for the club to test ourselves at the next level in Europe. With our recent success in the BBL, it’s the right time for us to take on the challenge of the Champions League Qualifiers,” commented Managing Director Russell Levenston. 

“The players and staff have earned this opportunity, and I want to thank the sponsors for their support in making this happen.”

Riders would like to thank Jelson Homes, Morningside, Lumbers and Hilton for supporting the club in it’s return to European competition.