Riders fall short in season opener

The Riders tipped off their title defence with an 89-78 loss on the road against the London Lions. Falling in a hole early, the Riders fought resiliently to stay in the game, but fell short of a comeback late on. 

Marc Loving led the team with 21 points, the stretch four having an efficiently brilliant night to lead the Leicester performance. He shot 7/10 from the field and made all six of his free throws in a solid scoring effort. 

He was backed up by Whelan, the team’s leading scorer last season adding 16 more points to his Riders tally. In the end, however, Leicester could not overcome their early deficit, despite playing the Lions close for the remainder of the contest. 

Following a 12-2 Lions start, the Riders pivoted to a big lineup to climb back into the game. Loving, Mo Walker and Jubril Adekoya made up a towering Leicester frontcourt, shoring up the inside and stemming the tide. 

Despite the battling big men working down low for Leicester, an 11-4 run midway through the second period saw London take their biggest lead of the night: 41-25. 

The champs fought back, responding with a 6-0 run led by four points from Loving, and the teams traded baskets before entering the locker rooms, the score 47-36. 

Loving picked up the second half where he left off the first, scoring six quick points to open the scoring for Leicester. The Ohio State graduate came out the gunning, forcing the issue to get points on the board. 

The Riders traded baskets with their opponents throughout the third, staying within striking distance going into the final period. Just 11 points separated the sides as the buzzer sounded to end the third quarter. 

Whelan got the offence underway in the fourth, nailing a corner three to cut it to single digits. But despite the momentum built from their GB sharpshooter, the Riders could not string together enough scores to come away with a win. 

The Riders continue their three-game road trip to start the season, heading to Surrey to take on the Scorchers next week. The game takes place on Saturday 8th October, as the Riders look to bounce back and get themselves into the win column.

BBL Championship Preview- Riders at Lions

The Riders tip-off their title defence in the capital, taking on the London Lions. The game against the highly touted league contenders will commence a three-game road trip to start the season as Leicester look to maintain momentum from their treble-winning year. 

Running it back

The treble-winners are back, as the Riders have retained most of last season’s roster for the upcoming year. Captain Darien Nelson-Henry, leading scorer Patrick Whelan and sharpshooting stretch-four Marc Loving are among nine players returning to the Morningside Arena, as the tightly knit group will attempt to replicate last season’s successes. 

A notable departure, back-to-back BBL MVP Geno Crandall, took his talents to Germany in the offseason, but the new additions of exciting young wing Blake Bowman and high-flying guard Derryck Thornton add to a versatile roster with strengths in every department. 

Last season, the Riders were the premier scorers in the league, leading the BBL in points per game, three-point percentage and field goal percentage. On the other end, they held their opponents to the lowest points in the league, as they won the title by a franchise-record margin. 

Their treble was concluded with a playoff final victory against the Lions, as they added the BBL Championship, BBL Cup and BBL Playoffs to their trophy cabinet. 

Lions’ revamped roster 

After a trophyless season last year, the Lions have taken a different off-season approach to the Riders, having retained just two players from last season’s roster. Arriving in London is a star-studded cast from around Europe, as they hope to improve on last year’s third-place league finish. 

Among them are GB international Ovie Soko and experienced NBA players Kosta Koufos and Sam Dekker, who led the way for London with 23 points in their season opener against Sheffield. Dekker played four NBA seasons from 2016 to 2019 and averaged 13 points in the Turkish first division last season. 

It was a convincing Lions’ win in Sheffield, as they led by as much as 22 points late in the fourth quarter. They showed their strength in depth with points contributions from 11 players, as the team shot an efficient 52% from the field. 

The win will give the Lions confidence heading into their clash with the reigning champions. 

Key matchup 

The battle in the paint will be highly anticipated in this one, as Riders’ captain Darien Nelson-Henry goes head to head with former NBA center Kosta Koufos. Nelson-Henry was one of the league’s biggest stars last season, being named to the BBL Team of the Year. 

The Uni of Penn graduate put up 12 points per game last season and has established himself as one of the BBL’s most efficient scorers in his three seasons in the league. His 65.8% field goal percentage topped the stats chart last season of those who took over 100 shots. 

Meanwhile, his opponent was competing in the NBA G-League, after 12 seasons in the NBA. Drafted by the Utah Jazz in 2008, Koufos played for the Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies, putting up eight points and seven rebounds per game in the 2012/13 season in Denver. 

Last year, the Greek-born big man stands at 7 feet tall and shows delicate touch from around the rim to finish in close. At 33 years old, Koufos can still get up for athletic plays at the rim, able to throw it down for highlight plays. 

Both sides will look for big nights from their bigs to establish their presence in close, as the Riders turn to their captain to lead them out the gate. 

How to watch

The game will be available to watch on Sky Sports Arena, with the broadcast beginning at 7:30 pm for a 7:45 pm tip-off. It will also be available to stream on the Sky Sports YouTube channel. 

Riders sign point guard Derryck Thornton!

Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of American point guard Derryck Thornton! The high-flying playmaker adds to an exciting Riders roster looking to build on last season’s treble-winning success. 

“I’m really excited and eager to get going,” commented Derryck Thornton.

“I know it’s a really competitive league, with great fans. I’m just really excited to get out here and compete.”

The third-year pro averaged 18.4 points and 5.4 assists per game in the Austrian first division last season, playing for Riders’ captain Darien Nelson-Henry’s former side Kapfenberg Bulls. He set the league alight with his flashy handles and electrifying dunks, attacking the rim to set up plays for himself and his teammates. 

“We are happy to have Derryck with the team,” commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro. “He is an explosive guard who we feel will add a lot to our team.”

“He has certainly performed at high levels in college and has two seasons of international play under his belt.”

“He is a guard that can score and facilitate, he can get into open spaces and eliminate defenders. He has great quickness and a good feel for the game.”

Thornton played four years of college before going pro, competing for Boston College in his senior year. He scored 12.7 points per game in the NCAA division one, then took his talents to Serbia to play for Borac Cacak. 

Thornton replaces guard CJ Jackson who has parted company with the Riders. All at the Riders would like to wish CJ the very best for the future.  

Academy Preview: October 1st & 2nd

A busy weekend ahead as 5 of our Academy teams are in action. Our U13 Girls, U12 Boys, and U14 Boys are all in season openers with the U16 Girls also getting their Cup campaign underway.

Coach Pietro and the U16 IIs are also back in action as they look to start their league campaign with a win in Milton Keynes.



U16 II v Milton Keynes II – 13:15 Tip at Shenley Brook End School


U13 Girls v Kettering Phoenix – 11:00 Tip at Northants Basketball Centre

U12 Boys v Northamptonshire Titans – 11:00 Tip at Northampton School for Boys

U13 Girls v Kettering Phoenix – 12:00 Tip at Northants Basketball Centre

U14 Boys v City of Leeds – 13:00 Tip at Beauchamp College

U16 Girls v Manchester Mystics II – 15:00 Tip at Beauchamp College

For updates on all Academy fixtures follow @RidersBF & @LRFAcademy on all social media platforms.

Academy Results: 25th September

It was a positive start to the season for our U18 Men & U16 II teams. The U18 men picked up a 65-46 win over Coventry in the National Cup First Round however unfortunately the U16 IIs lost to Leicester Dynamite 68-39.

Our U14 Girls were also in action, picking up a 63-14 win on the road against Cambridge Cats in a pre-season fixture.


Riders U18 Men 65-46 Coventry Tornadoes – National Cup

Coach Fergus: “It was great to get a win in our season opener & to progress to the next round of the Cup. Myself and Coach Greg have been impressed with the effort and energy of this team in each of our games so far and we continued to build on that against Coventry. We still have plenty to work on but it was great to make a positive start to the season.”

Leicester Dynamite 68-39 Riders U16 IIs – National Cup

Coach Pietro: “The boys showed the right attitude against a Dynamite team with already a few games under their belt this year. We stayed in touch in the score until half time, but then fall short in the second half, as the team is still working to find the right team chemistry.”

Cambridge Cats 14-63 Riders U14 Girls – Pre-season

For updates on all Academy fixtures follow @RidersBF & @LRFAcademy on all social media platforms.

Academy Preview: 25th September

The 2022/23 season gets underway on Sunday for two of our teams this weekend as the National Cup begins in the Under 16s & 18s age groups. Coach Pietro and the U16 IIs take on Leicester Dynamite at WQE College whilst Coach Greg and the U18s face Coventry Tornados at the Morningside Arena. Both games tip off at 13:00.


U18s v Coventry Tornados – 13:00 Tip at Morningside Arena

U16 II v Leicester Dynamite – 13:00 Tip at WQE College

For updates on all Academy fixtures follow @RidersBF & @LRFAcademy on all social media platforms.


The Leicester Riders are delighted to announce the addition of Irish International forward Fiona O’Dwyer to their WBBL roster for the upcoming season. 

Originally O’Dwyer was set to play with the Gloucester City Queens however their decision to withdraw from the league has meant she will now make the switch to the Riders.

O’Dwyer is no stranger to the WBBL as she spent two successful seasons with Team Northumbria between 2014-2016 before going on to play in Italy, Spain and Greece over the past 5 seasons.

Last season with Niki Lefkadas in the Greek A1 league she averaged 13.1ppg, 9.3rpg, 2.3apg & 1.4spg as well as competing in the EuroCup.

Her signing and versatility will give the Riders further options across both forward positions. She has a very rounded game being known for her tough & fierce defence but also with the ability to score in a multitude of ways.

“I am excited to return to the WBBL and play for the Leicester Riders. It’s a great opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to meeting the team and starting the season.”

Coach Krumesh Patel is delighted at his side’s latest acquisition.

“It is great to have someone of the calibre and history as Fiona join us. She brings a wealth of experience and leadership with her, which will be invaluable to her teammates. She will allow us to be creative with our rotations and brings a totally different type of skill set that has proven to be effective for her in her career. I’m really excited to have Fiona on board at the Riders.”

 The Riders open their season tomorrow night against Essex Rebels at 7pm at Loughborough University, to book your tickets click here it will also be live on the WBBL youtube page.

New Zealand-British Forward, Dion Collins Joins The NBL For The 2022-23 Season

Loughborough Basketball announce the signing of 6’8 New Zealand-British Forward, Dion Collins to the 2022-23 roster for the Loughborough Riders Men’s programme. Collins, born and raised in New Zealand with British ancestry is the eleventh player to join the Division 1 team, led by Coach Will Maynard. Collins left New Zealand to attend college in the US, playing for the Culver-Stockton Wildcats in the NAIA. Collins then graduated from college and signed his first professional contract with the Lulea Steelers in Sweden where he continued his academic studies; a masters in International Business. Most recently Collins has be playing out in Australia in the NBL1 with the Goldfields Giants before moving across the globe to the United Kingdom. 

On his signing to Loughborough Basketball, Collins is ready to get started and is excited for the season ahead: 

“I love the vision Russell and Coach will Maynard have for the club and I am very much looking forward to being a part of it. From our very first conversations they have been extremely professional and welcoming. It was good to get down and meet they guys yesterday after just getting into the country – there’s a great bunch of guys running around who you can tell are eager to compete and from my understanding have played together for some time. Therefore, it’s up to us new guys to assimilate, get used to the team, the structures in place and trust that results will come from that.”

From his previous playing opportunities in the US, Sweden and Australia, Collins brings with him a wealth of experience which will be instrumental to the team over the coming months. 

 “I think the things you can expect from me are physicality, intensity, communication and leadership on court. Looking at our squad we have a good balance across the board and I’m excited to play with some talented players who I think will complement each other quite well. From there we just need to understand our roles then execute them within the structures that coach has put in place.”

Coach Maynard on his latest recruit:

“Excited to have Dion join us this year. He’s going to be a great addition to the group, not only on the court but also off the court too. He’s another player with some great experience over the last few years and we believe he can really help some of the younger players coming up through the pathway. He’s a big, physical player who adds some more firepower up front to what we already have in place and gives us more depth in the team. I think Dion will fit seamlessly into our style of play this year so we are excited to have him on board.”

Collins will make his debut for the Loughborough Riders this weekend in the Division 1 Kit King Trophy competition against Nottingham Hoods on Saturday evening.

Riders fall in BCL Qualifiers

The Riders fell just short in the opening round of the Basketball Champions League Qualifiers, losing 70-61 to CSO Voluntari to conclude their venture into Europe. 

The deficit was just four points with three minutes remaining, after they fell down double-digits in the third quarter. But the Romanian side had enough to hold onto the lead, knocking down their late free throws to secure the win. 

Conner Washington led the team with 14 points, the 11-year Rider taking the game by the reigns to lead the comeback. The Bedford-born point guard injected energy into the Leicester offence off the bench, driving into the heart of the Voluntari defence to make plays for his team.

But despite late momentum, which built from late in the third, Leicester fell just short of the win.

The Riders found their feet quickly in the game. The benefits of retaining most of last season’s roster were evident, as a 7-2 Leicester start followed the tip-off. The teams exchanged jabs through the first period, which ended 20-16 in Leicester’s favour after buckets inside from Jubril Adekoya and Mo Walker.  

There was little to separate the sides through half of the game. Walker continued to do damage inside, leading the game’s scoring at halftime with nine. However, Voluntari held the advantage heading into the locker rooms, snatching the lead at the buzzer. 

It was Texas Tech graduate Toddrick Gotcher who had the final say of the half, nailing a halfcourt shot to take the Romanian’s first lead of the quarter. 

In the third, Voluntari clicked into gear, forging a double-digit lead with three minutes remaining in the quarter. The Riders responded in gritty fashion, fighting hard to maintain a foothold in the tie. 

Washington stepped up, leading the charge back into the game for Leicester. He took it to the Voluntari defence, drawing fouls before nailing a three as the clock ticked down in the quarter to cut the deficit to seven.

A blown dunk from Voluntari’s Tekele Cotton concluded the third, with the Riders in touching distance with a quarter to play. 

Down 10 with five minutes remaining, Leicester made their charge back into the game. It was Washington again, forcing a Voluntari timeout with a deep two to make it a six-point affair.

With three minutes on the clock, new arrival CJ Jackson drained a three to keep Riders’ hopes alive, cutting the Voluntari lead to four. But there was not enough clock to complete the comeback, as they fell just short.

The Riders now turn their attention to their domestic campaign, with a trip to London up next. They face the Lions at the Copperbox Arena next Friday, hoping to start their title defence with a win in the nation’s capital.

From PL Kicks to Academy U14s

New College PL Kicks session is a free session for kids in disadvantaged areas that could potentially not be able to afford to go to other sessions. This season we have seen 4 players come through our PL Kicks sessions to progress onto our U14s Academy team.

Alim Mayow started his basketball journey by going to our New College PL Kicks session. Alim attended the session for 6 weeks in a row, from there he then started to attend our other PL Kicks session at St Matthews which he attended for 3 sessions. He developed his ability to play whilst also improving on multiple different skills. After all the hard work he put in the Coach Ricardo Silva asked him to come to the national league trials for the Leicester Riders Foundation Academy. 

Coach Ricardo is delighted with Alim’s progression. “Alim came to New College and showed me he was ready to learn and develop his skills! I’m extremely happy that he came from our free sessions and now he is part of regular basketball every week!”

After impressing at trials Alim was accepted into our U14 Academy team. Now he practices twice a week and is working hard to prepare for the new season.

Liam Spencer attended our New College PL Kicks session. From the moment he came to the session he was ready to learn, wanted to improve and was showing promising improvements. He came to the session for 10 weeks straight. Liam started to show up to other sessions, he went to our PL Kicks at Charnwood College and to the He got game session at the Morningside Arena. 

His hard work and dedication on the court gave him the chance to try out for the Leicester Riders Academy. After performing well at the trials he was accepted into the U14 academy team! 

Coach Ricardo commented, “Liam Spencer has worked hard to be in the position where he can be in the academy. PL kicks showed me that Liam wanted to improve his basketball skills, he is a greater listener and ready to try everything you ask him to do.”

Simba Gwitirwa turned up the New College sessions and he was ready to play. He came week in and week out for 12 weeks. During those weeks he worked hard on all aspects of his game. All those skills helped him in other sessions that he went to such as St Matthew where he attended for 3 weeks. 

With such improvement he was invited to try out for the Leicester Riders Academy, working his harder everyday he managed to get into the U14s.

Coach Ricardo was pleased by Simba’s attitude & work ethic. “Simba stayed late for every session, always asking questions on how he can become better, what he needs to do and how he can achieve his goal. Now at the U14 he is showing leadership skills while still wanting to learn and become the best.” 

To join in on our PL Kicks sessions CLICK HERE & book your place.

Sponsors support Riders in Europe

On the day of our return to European competition, Leicester Riders have highlighted the fantastic support it has received from sponsors for its BCL Campaign, Jelson Homes, Morningside Pharmaceuticals, Lumbers Jewellers and Hilton Leicester.

“Over my time as MD of Leicester, Jelson Homes have been a critical sponsor in support of this club. We have been on a journey with Robert and the Jelson team and we are so thankful for all they do for us.”

“They have been a major part of our success over the last 15 years and we are thrilled to have them on board as we compete in the Basketball Champions League.”

“Morningside Pharmaceuticals, Lumbers Jewellers and Hilton Leicester, are three names that the Leicester fans will know well. Morningside have played a huge role since becoming the Arena’s naming rights sponsor, we are tremendously grateful that this has expanded to support our team.”

“Lumbers Jewellers have been a supporter of our club for many years, and we are delighted to have them on board again for this European adventure.”

“Hilton Leicester, have come on board this season and again are crucial for us to be able to host these high-level teams at the very best of hotel complexes.”

“All our sponsors have made this European adventure possible.”

Managing Director of Jelson Homes, Robert Jelly commented:

“To see the Riders play in Europe again is fantastic for the community of Leicester but also British Basketball as a whole. We are so happy to support the club over the last 15 years and look forward to seeing the club progress.”

Dr Nik Kotecha OBE DL, Chairman of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, said:

“As the named partner of the Morningside Arena, Leicester, we’re very proud of the huge success of the Leicester Riders, who call the venue their home.

“The Riders’ six British Basketball League titles have really put Leicester and the Morningside Arena on the map, so it’s great to also see them competing against the best teams in Europe, as part of this prestigious international basketball tournament.

“From everyone at Morningside Pharmaceuticals, we would like to wish the Team the best of fortune in the European Champions League qualifiers and beyond.”

Managing Director of Lumbers, Dominic Gomersall commented:

“We are delighted and proud to have helped the most successful British Basketball in their quest for European recognition. At a time that patriotic thoughts are at a high – Riders will work hard to wave the Union Jack successfully in this hard fought and ultra-competitive league.”

Director at Valary Hotels, Rajiv Nathwani, owners of Hilton Leicester commented:

“It is a pleasure to support basketball in Leicester and to see The Riders competing in European competition. I wish the team the very best for the upcoming qualifiers and look forward to being a small part of the continuing success on and off the court.”

Tonight’s game against Voluntari will be streamed LIVE on the BBL’s Youtube Channel at 5pm (UK time).

BCL Qualifiers Preview- Riders vs CSO Voluntari

The Riders tip-off their European campaign with a trip to North Macedonia for the first round of the Basketball Champions League qualifiers. There, at the Boris Trajkovski Sports Centre, they will take on Romanian side CSO Voluntari in the hopes of progressing to the second qualifying round. 

BCL Qualifying format 

The Qualification Round is a three-round knockout format, with the winners of four separate tournaments achieving qualification for the BCL regular season. The teams were drawn against each other based on their BCL ranking, and unseeded teams were seeded according to their country ranking. 

To qualify for the BCL regular season, the Riders need to win three straight qualifying games against increasingly difficult opposition. 

CSO Voluntari- Recent successes 

This game marks Voluntari’s first venture into the BCL, having enjoyed the most successful period of the franchise’s history in recent seasons. 

They are the reigning champions of the Romanian Cup, an annual cup competition, and finished runners-up in the Liga Națională last season. They entered European competition for the first time in the 2020/21 season, making the second round of the FIBA Europe Cup. 

Competing on the continent represented the recent successes the franchise has experienced domestically, allowing them to make the leap into BCL qualification. Voluntari have won two pieces of silverware in their 17-year existence and will hope to continue to build on their highest-ever league finish from last season. 

“We have to prepare for a very good Romanian team,” commented head coach Rob Paternostro ahead of the game. “

“They’ve recruited high-level players, and they’re a European team that’s in it for the whole season. We’ve got to come out and continue to play defence. This will be the biggest challenge we’ve had so far.”

Key matchup 

American guard Toddrick Gotcher represents the biggest Voluntari threat to the Riders after leading his team with 15 points per game last season. He will face up in the backcourt against Zach Jackson, who impressed in preseason, earning Premier Logistics player of the game versus Dutch side Donar Groningen. 

Gotcher is a Texas Tech graduate who led his college to the NCAA Tournament in his senior year. He then spent his first professional season in the prestigious Greek first division and went on to compete in France, North Macedonia and Japan before signing with Voluntari last season. 

Gotcher is a sharpshooter from deep, knocking down 39% of his three’s last season. He will need to be guarded closely by Jackson, who established himself as one of the BBL’s elite perimeter defenders 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. 

The battle in the backcourt may prove to be pivotal to the game’s outcome, as the two sharpshooters duel it out from deep. 

How can you watch?

The game will be available to watch here, on the BBL Official YouTube channel. Tip-off is 5pm UK time, so be sure to tune in to support your Riders!

Know our name!

While the Riders are in Basketball Champions League action this Wednesday the domestic league gets underway this Friday.

To celebrate the talent, culture and excitement around the league, the BBL and clubs have launched the “Know Our Name” campaign to ignite fans’ passion ahead of the start of the new season.

After an incredible 21/22 season which saw domestic attendance records broken, the BBL are looking to continue the momentum by launching the beginning of another year of exhilarating basketball action.

With players from across the league striving to be hero figures both on the court and in their local communities, fans are set to support their sides up and down the country, as they strive for glory when the season comes to it’s traditional thrilling end at the play-off finals at London’s 02 Arena on Sunday May 14th 2023.

With new signings making the move to the UK from Europe, American and fellow league rivals, the BBL and there is set to be some passionate and fiery match-ups throughout the season.

The BBL is one of the most culturally diverse league’s in the world, with 70% of its players hailing from BAME backgrounds (*Source: Sport England). Whilst the passion shines through on the court, the respect for the talent on show each week is clear to see from players, fans and coaches alike.

Ahead of the new season, Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston gave his hopes for the new season ahead:

“After returning the majority of our treble-winning roster, this season we have the added challenge of the Champions League Qualifiers. We feel that we’ve pulled together a roster to compete on all fronts with a sustainable approach that has brought us great success over the last 10 years.”

All Riders games throughout the season are available via the BBL’s YouTube channel, Sky Sports and the BBL player, so you won’t miss a minute of the action.

Young talent joins Loughborough Basketball

Loughborough Basketball announce that young British talent, Lane Campbell and Edward Onyia are set to join the Division 1 Men’s side for the upcoming NBL season. Campbell, joined the Charnwood Basketball Academy in 2020 and has been a season regular for the Division 2 Men’s team and EABL side. Campbell joins former Charnwood Academy team mate, Ben Woog after a successful season in the EABL under Coach Maynard. Campbell will continue his academic studies within the Charnwood Academy while balancing his playing opportunity with the Loughborough side. 

“I’m grateful to be playing for the Loughborough side this season as there’s so much more knowledge for me to take from some of the more experienced players. I feel like I can have a great impact on the team and can’t wait for the season to get underway.”

Joining Campbell in purple is 16 year old Edward Onyia. Onyia who is new to the Charnwood Riders Academy programme this season, will balance his playing commitments within the academy EABL league and the NBL while studying at Charnwood College. 

‘’I am very pleased and excited to play for Loughborough Riders. I am proud to be involved in this team. I also think this will be a great opportunity for me to build up on my skills and get to the next level.”

On the addition of Campbell and Onyia to this season’s roster, Coach Will Maynard is excited for the opportunity to bleed young British talent into his team:

“Lane and Edward stepping up to the D1 group this season is awesome, not only for their development but also for the contributions they are going to make and the impact that they will have on the team this year. Lane has had a great two years with the club already; he’s ready to take on the next challenge of D1 and to be a leader for the rest of his peers over at Charnwood. Edward is a great prospect for all of us here at the Riders. He has some great natural ability and rawness that we don’t see walk through the door everyday. It’s a great experience for him to get the opportunity to practice with high level players everyday and I’m looking forward to see how far he can go over the next 2 or 3 years.”

The Loughborough Division 1 side will play this week in the opening round of the Kit King Trophy, against Charnwood College at 7pm on Wednesday 21st September at Loughborough University. Visit www.eventbrite.co.uk and use the discount code KITKING to secure your tickets. 

Riders conclude their preseason with a win!

The Riders concluded a successful preseason campaign with a 76-72 win against back-to-back Swedish champions Norrköping Dolphins. They took the game by the reigns late, seizing their first lead of the second half in the fourth quarter and seeing it out in the clutch. 

Big man Mo Walker led the team with 14 points and six rebounds. Walker went 6-12 from the fields in a dominant display down low, getting the better of his opposition inside all night long. Zach Jackson and Marc Loving backed up their big with double-digit nights of their own, scoring 13 and 12 points respectively. 

The victory leaves Leicester undefeated in preseason, with back-to-back wins against Dutch side Donar Groningen following a 108-75 win against USA Select. 

Just two points separated the sides at the half after the Riders came back from down eight to make it a two-point game entering the locker rooms. They showed competitive spirit throughout an intense preseason fixture, coming back from down almost double-digits on two occasions for a comeback victory. 

“This team, on this court, no matter whether it’s September or April believes that somehow, someway they’ll get the job done,” said Paternostro postgame. 

“Defensively we’ve really shown something, especially in the second half and fourth quarter of games. Our depth has really been key for us. We feel really confident with that second unit on the floor and I think that in the last three games the bench has really picked it up on defence and made a real impact.”

The Riders’ season tips off with an exciting fixture next Wednesday, as they take on Romanian side CSO Voluntari in the Basketball Champions League Qualifiers. A win would see them progress to the second round of qualifying, as the Riders hope to achieve qualification to the BCL regular season.

“Now it’s about preparing for a very good Romanian team. They’ve recruited high-level players, and they’re a European team that’s in it for the whole season. We’ve got to come out and continue to play defence. This will be the biggest challenge we’ve had so far.”

The game takes place in North Macedonia’s Boris Trajkovski Sports Centre, tipping off at 7pm. Details on how to watch will be announced in the coming days! 

Riders unveil new European kits

Leicester Riders today unveiled their brand new kit designs for the 2022-23 season!

With the side entering European competition, Riders have today launched their European Edition featuring sponsors Jelson Homes, Morningside Pharmaceuticals, and Hilton – Leicester.

Fans will get to see the new kits for the first time in person at tonight’s game with the squad sporting the brand new white kit!

Should Riders make it through the Champions League Qualifying the BCL patch will be added to the upper left side of the design.

Charnwood Academy Graduate to join Loughborough Basketball for the 2022-23 Season

Loughborough Basketball are pleased to announce that up-and-coming British talent, Ben Woog will be joining the Division 1 Men’s side this season in the National Basketball League. Woog has been with the Riders club for the past two seasons within the Charnwood College Riders Basketball Academy, under the development of Coach Will Maynard. The British 6’8 forward has a rich playing history to date with National team appearances for the Wales U16s and the Wales Senior Men’s programme. 

Woog, who was part of the 2022-23 winning EABL team before graduating, will continue his basketball career as part of the Division 1 Men’s programme alongside his academic commitments at Loughborough College.  While balancing his BsC in Sport Coaching, Woog will also be competing in the British Universities and Colleges (BUCS) league as part of Loughborough 1st team. 

“I’m excited to be studying my degree in sports coaching at Loughborough and to being coached under Will again. I know it was the right decision to commit to Loughborough because Will has a great vision for this team and a great group of players within the squad. I can’t wait to get the season underway and push for playoffs.”

Coach Will Maynard on Woog’s decision to stay within the Leicester Riders club and his progression to the NBL:

“Ben is an exciting project for us and we are super glad that he has made the decision to continue his basketball journey within the Riders pathway. We have seen a lot of improvement in his on-court ability during his time with the club already.  He has great size and strength; we also love that Ben has a high IQ on the court. His ability to pick things up quickly in conjunction with his physical presence is a strength of his that we will look to develop further. Having the opportunity early this year to practice with BBL team has definitely been a positive for Ben and something that we as a club are pleased to have been able to expose him to. He is going to be a great addition to the team and we are excited to see what he can do for us this year.”

Tonight’s game to be played behind closed doors

Due to the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, this evening’s game against Donar Groningen will be held behind closed doors out of respect.

Riders’ second preseason friendly against Donar on Sunday 11th, and their final preseason game against Norrkoping Dolphins on Wednesday 14th, will be played, and the clubs will pay their respect with a 2 minutes silence and wear black bands on their left shoulders.

Any tickets purchased for tonight’s game are transferable to one of the remaining friendly games, but if you already have tickets for these games, please contact us at [email protected] with your name and booking reference number and we will refund your tickets.

We appreciate this may not be the news you wanted to hear but thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

Eadsforth-Yates in Riders Switch

Leicester Riders are pleased to announce the addition of guard Jess Eadsforth-Yates to their roster for the rapidly approaching WBBL season.

Eadsforth-Yates had been expected to be competing for the Gloucester City Queens in the upcoming season, however, a change in circumstances has seen her now sign with the Riders while also studying for her masters at Loughborough University.

She will be no stranger to the Riders set-up or Head Coach Krumesh Patel having previously spent time playing for him while at Charnwood College.

A four-year college stint in the US and last season playing at the Newcastle Eagles have preluded her return to the East Midlands, where she is now eager to get started.

“I am really excited to be back playing for the Leicester Riders, this is like a second home to me. The fact that I get to play under Krumesh and Oli again just adds to my excitement. The girls have been very welcoming and I believe we have a really strong group this year, we are all eager to get started.”

Head Coach Krumesh Patel is delighted to link up again with one of his former players:

“I have gone full circle with Jess, having coached her at Charnwood College. To see her do well over in the states was very rewarding and having the chance to bring her back to study for her masters and coach her again is great. She will fit into the group well, she has good speed and a great ability to shoot. Her ability to play defence up the floor gives us another option and dimension. I am delighted to have her back as a Rider.”

In an unrelated move, the Riders have parted company with forward Jade Compton. The club would like to thank Jade for all her hard work and commitment during her time with the Riders and wish her the very best with her future endeavours.

Riders Head To Sweden

Riders women will travel to Sweden for some preseason games. This will be a great opportunity to play some high-quality teams for the women and continue their preparation for the WBBL opener in a few weeks!

The first game will be on Thursday when they face Sodertaile. Sodertaile are one of the top teams who return the Elderbrink Sisters and Louice Halvarsson who have been major players in Europe and the Swedish national team to add to Klara Lundqvist already in the team. They are also coached by former Riders coach Jesper Sundberg.

On Friday, they will travel to play last year’s playoff champions Norrköping, in which it will be another tough game against one of the best. They return a lot of the core plus a few additions and also the return of Swedish national team guard Lovisa Hjern.

Finally, on Saturday Riders will play Boras, a team with good experience and a few fresh faces led by Paula Julin and Elin Ljunggren.

It will be a great and tough experience for a new-look Rider’s team, but something they will embrace and use to fuel the fire for the upcoming season!

LRF to host Central Venue League

In addition to the return of our Community Sessions the Leicester Riders Foundation will also be hosting a Central Venue League across 4 locations, Morningside Arena, Groby, Coalville and Beauchamp College for players ages 8-12.

Our Central Venue league will give players the opportunity to train weekly and then join the other locations once a month for competitive fixtures. Players will also receive a reversible jersey as part of their subscription.

CLICK HERE to book on to our Central Venue League.

Academy Pre-season: Sunday Results

It was another successful day of pre-season action at the Morningside Arena as we hosted another 5 fixtures. We finished the day with another 3 wins & 2 losses however there was plenty of valuable court time & development for our teams ahead of the new season.


U14 Boys Premier 79-54 Manchester Giants

U16 Boys II 52-70 Liverpool

U16 Girls Premier 91-22 Liverpool

U18 Men 54-57 Liverpool

U16 Boys Premier 62-51 Cheshire Phoenix

For updates on our Academy teams follow @RidersBF & @LRFAcademy on all social media platforms.

Academy Pre Season: Saturday Results

It was a successful afternoon at the Morningside Arena for our 6 teams in pre-season action. We finished the afternoon with 4 wins and 2 losses from our 6 games played across the various age groups.


U14 Girls 41-39 Bromsgrove Bears

U14 Boys II 20-88 Northamptonshire Titans

U16 Girls Premier 78-32 City of Birmingham Rockets

U16 Girls II 24-74 Bromsgove Bears

U16 Boys Premier 59-56 Stourport Spartans

U18 Men 69-67 Gloucester Saxons

We have another 6 fixtures tomorrow afternoon. For updates on all fixtures follow @RidersBF & @LRFAcademy on all social media platforms.

Loughborough retains core players ahead of the 2022-23 season.

Harrison Gamble, Justin Hedley, Conroy Hayden, Joe Bielak, Dwyane Orija and Milo Gordon are set to return for another season within the NBL Division 1 league, under the guidance of Coach Will Maynard. 

Harrison Gamble continues his playing career with Div 1, after many successful years within the Riders BBL team under Coach Rob Paternostro. With his wealth of professional playing experience, Gamble’s leadership is paramount to this season’s Loughborough Div 1 side. 

German born 6’4 point guard, Justin Hedley continues his NBL Division 1 career while studying Biological Science at Loughborough University. Hedley’s previous playing experience, including his time within the Leicester Riders BBL team, bolsters a compatible core of returning players for Coach Maynard’s Loughborough team in the NBL Division 1 league this season.   

Conroy (CJ) Hayden will continue his playing career alongside his academic studies in Sport Coaching at Loughborough. At 6’7, the British forward will be looking to progress with his on-court and off-court development as he has been within Loughborough Basketball over the last few seasons. Hayden will also return for another season within the BUCS 1st team.

Joe Bielak returns to drop his signature 3-pointers for another season in the NBL. The British wing will continue to balance his BsC in Exercise Science at Loughborough University alongside his playing career in Division 1 and within the BUCS 1st team.

Dwyane Orija is back for another season in purple. The 6’5, British guard will continue his student-athlete experience at Loughborough while he completes his BsC Sports Science with Management while balancing his playing commitments for Division 1 and the BUCS 1st team. 

6’5 British wing, Milo Gordon, returns for another season with Loughborough Basketball. Gordon will join his student-athlete counterparts and continue his Sport and Exercise Science studies at Loughborough alongside his NBL Division 1 and BUCS 1st team playing commitments. 

On his six returning players, Coach Maynard commented:

“Really excited to be bringing the core group back together, we have a great balance of personnel in the squad. We have some high-level experience and some exciting younger guys. This leaves us in a great place for development and for growth throughout the year. I’m looking forward to see what this year holds for us.”

Loughborough Basketball Division 1 open their season against USA Select today at 1.30pm at Charnwood College.

Loughborough Sign US Guard

Loughborough Riders are pleased to announce the signing of American guard Elijah Bailey on a 2 year deal, who will be combining playing with the Riders while studying his MSc in International Business at Loughborough University.

The 6’3 guard joins the Riders with experience playing professionally in Armenia, Iceland and Maldives following his graduation from New Haven. In four seasons at New Haven, Bailey led the Chargers to back-to-back Northeast-10 Conference championship games, averaging 15.8 points per game for a total of 1,780 career points.

“I’m very excited to join the Riders. Feels good to be apart of the Riders winning program and playing basketball in the UK. I’m looking forward to combining my basketball career and also studying my Masters at Loughborough University” commented Elijah Bailey on joining the Riders.

Coach Will Maynard on his first signing, “I’m excited to have Elijah in the room with us this year. He had a great college career and gives us another option on the court. He has a great wealth of experience that he can pass on to some of the younger players. He also has the opportunity to continue to develop himself here at Loughborough, playing at a high level and also studying towards a world class degree from Loughborough university.”

Whelan named in Eurobasket GB roster

Ahead of an eagerly anticipated FIBA EuroBasket 2022 that will see some of the world’s best basketball talent compete for supremacy, Great Britain Men’s Head Coach Nate Reinking has confirmed the 12-man roster selected to represent the team at the showpiece tournament.

Riders star Patrick Whelan has been named in the twelve, alongside former Rider Jamell Anderson.
GB’s Men have travelled to Milan for the Pool Stages of EuroBasket 2022 – set to take place from September 2 to September 8 – where they will face Croatia, Estonia, Greece, Italy and Ukraine for a place in the knockout stages, which will be contested in Berlin.
This will be the Men’s team’s first major tournament outing since the 2017 EuroBasket, and the 12-man roster contains several GB stars who have experienced the biggest stages in basketball, as well as several top British talents sampling the major international tournament for the first time.
This EuroBasket is being hailed as the best continental basketball tournament ever, with a field of teams full of incredible talent, and as such is a testament to GB’s achievement in securing a place at the top table of European basketball.
Speaking ahead of the competition and following the announcement of the final roster, Head Coach Nate Reinking said:
“This is a proud moment for the National Team to be embarking on its fifth EuroBasket competition out of the last six iterations. The team has been on a long journey to get to this point and have shown themselves to be capable of competing with the very best teams on the continent and this EuroBasket provides another opportunity to showcase British Basketball.
“It shouldn’t be lost on people just how much of an achievement this is for our players and staff to be heading to Milan for the competition, but we’re not just going there to compete – we want to win, and make some history for Great Britain.”
Great Britain’s journey to FIBA EuroBasket 2022 qualification began all the way back in November 2018 at the FIBA EuroBasket Pre-Qualifiers, before a historic 11-3 run over the course of three years – including marquee wins over European powerhouses France, Germany and Montenegro – secured qualification to FIBA EuroBasket 2022.
All of Great Britain’s fixtures at EuroBasket 2022 can be watched live on FIBA’s streaming platform, Courtside 1891. Head to courtside1891.basketball and use the promo code ‘EUROGB25’ now to get 25% off an annual pass to the platform.

Great Britain Men’s National Team Roster – FIBA EuroBasket 2022
Jamell Anderson
Kavell Bigby-Williams
Dan Clark
Myles Hesson
Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye
Ben Mockford
Luke Nelson
Gabe Olaseni
Ovie Soko
Devon van Oostrum 
Carl Wheatle  
Patrick Whelan

Riders agree partnership with Applied Nutrition

Riders are happy to announce their continued partnership with Applied Nutrition which began in the second half of last season and will see the nutrition brand as an official supplier the 2022-23.

Applied Nutrition are the UK’s fastest growing sports nutrition brand and a trusted and highly regarded player in the category. Riders will use their Informed Sport, batch-tested range of products to support the team pre, during and post games/practice.

“It’s a great partnership for us as it allows us to support our playing staff with the very best of products from a trusted supplier. We enjoyed working with Applied Nutrition last year and we are really happy to be working with them again,” commented Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston.

“The players all loved the products, we believe that correctly fuelling the team with the best nutrition can give us an edge.”

Applied Nutrition currently work with a large roster of international athletes and teams including Fulham FC, Team GB Sprinter Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake and UFC superstars Paddy the Baddy and Molly McCann. After a successful partnership last season, Applied Nutrition are back on board to support Rob Paternostro’s team again this year.

Thomas Ryder, Applied Nutrition’s Managing Director said:

“Our products are perfectly suited to the huge physical demands a basketball season can put on players and we are delighted to be continuing our partnership with the Riders.”

“What the team achieved last year was an incredible demonstration of commitment, hard work and an amazing team spirit and we couldn’t be happier to work with such a talented squad of players.”

“We’re looking forward to supporting Russell and the team in both the BBL and Europe this season to achieve even more.”