Injury update: Mo Walker

Riders are devastated to confirm that Mo Walker has ruptured his achilles and will be out for the rest of the season.

We would like to thank Spire Hospital for their on-going support of our players & programme. Their partnership has enabled Mo to receive the very best care as he prepares to undergo surgery in the coming days.

Everyone at the Riders would like to wish Mo all the best with his recovery.

Academy Results: October 29th & 30th


U16 Girls II 39-72 Derby Trailblazers

U16 Boys II 44-63 Warwickshire Hawks

U14 Boys Premier 89-71 Cheshire Phoenix

U15 Boys 75-24 Abingdon Eagles

U14 Girls 44-91 Sheffield Hatters

U18 Men 62-76 Sheffield Sharks

U16 Boys Premier 77-97 Trafford Magic

U17 Boys 40-38 Nuneaton Predators

Riders comeback to beat Sharks

The Riders secured back-to-back wins over a weekend of games after beating the Sheffield Sharks 86-72. 

In an exceptional team effort, the Riders had four starters score over 15 points in the game. They were led by 21 points from Derryck Thornton, the 6’3” point guard shooting 50% from the field.

See the full box score here

Leicester exploded for a 24-13 third quarter, after falling down 15 five minutes into the period. Zach Jackson scored nine points in five minutes to end the third to build the Riders’ foundation to see the game out. 

As a team, the Riders shot 47% from the field and 43% from three in a red-hot shooting night. Patrick Whelan led the charge from deep, making four of his seven attempts. 

The Sharks enjoyed the better start of the sides, getting off to a 10-0 start. They scored eight points at the basket, finding success attacking the bucket. Following a timeout, the Riders’ found their feet offensively to stall the Sharks’ progress. They won the rest of the quarter 15-14, led by four from Thornton. 

Blake Bowman got the second underway, bursting past Kipper Nichols on the baseline before going up strong to throw it down with two hands. 

The hosts responded with an 11-3 run, still finding joy in the paint to get another eight points inside. 

Thornton put the scoring load on his back to get Leicester back into the tie. He attacked the rim, getting two and-one plays using his speed and athleticism to explode to the hoop. The Riders put their first dent into the Sheffield lead, cutting the game to four following a Patrick Whelan triple. 

They rode the momentum into the half, finishing the second with threes from Whelan and Kimbal Mackenzie to enter the locker rooms down 44-43. 

The teams traded buckets in the third, with the score remaining within a possession seven minutes in. Zach Jackson attacked the rim with 5:45 left in the period, laying it in with his left to give the Riders their first lead of the afternoon. 

Two minutes later, Jackson put two more on the board in explosive fashion. The Riders ran the fastbreak, and Jubril Adekoya threw up a lob from behind the three-point line to Jackson, who rose up high and threw it down. 

Jackson took the game over, going on to score seven in 90 seconds to give his side a 10-point lead entering the fourth.

Leicester continued the scoring barrage to start the final period, and Loving and Whelan hit threes to make it 73-57. Whelan scored eight in the final quarter, as the Riders held the Sharks at arm’s length to see out the win. 

“We said before the game that we’re tired of this lose one win one stuff; let’s string some together,” said coach Rob Paternostro after the game. 

“Our offence has been playing well. Statistically, we’ve been up there in the league offensively. That’s a product of the talent we have, and our unselfishness. We played unselfish basketball today, so I feel good about where that’s at.”

“I thought our second unit did a great job turning the game around. Their impact on the game in the first half allowed us to be in the position in the second half to win.”

The Riders return home on Friday, taking on the Cheshire Phoenix in the hopes of getting their record above .500.

BBL Championship Preview- Riders at Sharks

The Riders are on the road for the fifth time this season, taking on the Sheffield Sharks. The Sharks were runners-up in last season’s league table and enter this game on a four-game winning streak. 

Riders looking for momentum 

After an injury-troubled start to their season, playing games without key players Zach Jackson and Derryck Thornton, Leicester are looking to find form and health going into the rest of a long season. 

They hold a 3-3 record, winning both of their home games, including their most recent fixture against the Bristol Flyers. It was a revenge game for Leicester after they fell to their opponents in their third game of the season. 

“We needed to get back on track,” said Riders forward Jubril Adekoya “The way they beat us last time we played left a bad taste in our mouths. We owed them one. It’s still early in the year, but we’ve got to figure out how to start winning these back-to-back games. We’ve got to try and find a rhythm and keep it rolling.”

Read our report from the win!

Leicester’s offence has been ticking nicely through the season. They are one of the most efficient shooting teams in the BBL, shooting a league-best 50.8% from the field and a second-best 39.1% from three. 

They’re led by Ohio-born Marc Loving’s 18.7 points per game. Loving exploded for 34 points, two blocks and two steals in the Flyers game, torching the Bristol defence. 

“Marc was unbelievable today,” said coach Rob Paternostro after the game. “Any time we needed a bucket, he got it, and he’s been incredible all season. I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the league, and on both ends he was awesome.”

A win would see the Riders move over .500 for the first time this season, as they look to make a charge up the league table. 

Gritty Sharks grinding out results

After starting the season 0-4, the Sheffield Sharks have found their identity as a defensive force to win four on the bounce. They gave up 49 points per game through a three-game stretch, including a 62-49 win against the Cheshire Phoenix to get the ball rolling. 

They hold their opponents to 71.8 points per game on the season, the best defensive record in the BBL. On the offensive end, new acquisition Sa’eed Nelson has led the way with 14 points per game, followed by backcourt partner Kipper Nichols with 13.3. 

Nelson and Nichols led the team to a huge win in their previous game, beating the league-leading London Lions 89-81. They had 19 and 22 points respectively, going a combined 14-20 from the field. 

The Sharks look after the ball, not beating themselves. They’re a pass-first team, ranking top four in assists per game, but turn the ball over the least in the league. This reliable form of basketball, matched with their elite defence, makes them a tough prospect to face for the reigning champs. 

Key matchup 

Third-year pro Sa’eed Nelson is leading the Sharks through the opening stages of the season with 14 points per outing. The 25-year-old American played his first pro seasons in the German second division, averaging 13 points in his rookie year. 

This came after four years at American University in the NCAA D1. He scored 20 points per game as a junior, putting up five rebounds and assists as a well-rounded point guard. His scoring ability was on full display on his second Sheffield start, putting up 31 against the Giants. 

Nelson will go head to head with the Riders’ leading scorer of their own, Derryck Thornton. After missing a weekend doubleheader, he returned to the Riders’ most recent game. He is averaging 14.3 points, five assists and five rebounds in a well-rounded start to the year. 

The California native averaged 18.4 points and 5.4 assists per game in the Austrian first division last season, playing for 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. 

The battle in the backcourt may end up as the key to the game, as both point guards are capable of exploding for monster performances any given night. 

Where to watch

The game tips off at 4 pm, played at Ponds Forge in Sheffield. It will be live-streamed on the British Basketball League Youtube channel.

Riders bounce back against Bristol

The Riders put one in the win column, improving to 3-3 with a 91-73 victory against the Bristol Flyers. A monster 34-point performance from Marc Loving led a dominant second-half display, as Leicester secured a much-needed win. 

Loving’s 34 came in 36 minutes, shooting 13-17 from the field and a red-hot 6-8 from three. The Ohio-born sharpshooter torched the Flyers’ defence all night long, from all over the court in a first-class scoring night. 

On the other end, he had two blocks and steals to round off a complete showing, dominating every area of the game. The Riders shot 54% from the field and 46% from field to support their star forward. 

The Flyers hung around until late, losing the fourth quarter 27-15. They went 10-21 from three to keep it close, led by a 24-point double-double by VJ King.

The Riders hit their stride early, as Zach Jackson fired out the gate with nine points in the opening five minutes. They jumped out to a 20-12 lead, and Jubril Adekoya forced a Flyers timeout after great defence at the rim leading to his bucket in transition. 

The Flyers fought back, as Tevin Olison hit two threes on his way to 10 points in six minutes. The 6’4” guard’s play gave his team the lead two minutes into the second period. 

Blake Bowman sparked life back into the Riders’ offence, which stalled momentarily. The first-year pro ran the fast break before rising high and throwing it down over the contesting Brandon Mayhan. 

The second quarter was a dunk party, as Loving and Derryck Thornton made their own highlights. Thornton picked Corey Samuels’ pockets before raising the roof with a monster jam, before Loving did a spin move to attack the baseline and put one in with two hands. 

Loving tied the game up two minutes later with a three from the wing for his 12th points of the evening. The Ohio State graduate then grabbed a steal on the other end with 24 seconds left, before blocking VJ King at the rim to give the Riders the halftime lead. 

He kept his hot hand to start the third, hitting a three from each corner to make it a seven-point lead. He scored 10 straight at the start of the third, torching the Flyers to build the lead. 

They held the lead going into the fourth, but Bristol clawed back points to make it close with 10 minutes to play. King, who had 24 points at the end of three, made an and-one play to close the third to make it 64-58 to Leicester.

Conner Washington took the reigns to open the fourth, scoring four quick points to snatch momentum back. Loving checked back in and put points on the board on his first possession, making it a 12-point lead. He made a three a minute later to hit the 30-point mark. 

The Riders saw it out professionally, keeping their foot on the pedal to maintain their distance from the Flyers. Evan Walshe concluded the action with a two inside

“Tonight was a really good win for us. Playing at home makes a big difference, and Marc was unbelievable today,” said coach Rob Paternostro after the game. “Any time we needed a bucket, he got it, and he’s been incredible all season. I think he’s one of the most underrated players in the league, and on both ends, he was awesome.”

“I think Jubril Adekoya was very good defensively in the center position. He defended the pick and roll really well, he’s great at that. We love him defensively, he’s one of the best defenders in the league, and he relishes the challenge.”

Playing more minutes in the absence of the injured Mo Walker, Adekoya played tough defence inside all night. 

“Rebounding was the focus against this team,” said Adekoya.”They play aggressively, especially on offence, and we knew that and had to take control of it.”

“We needed to get back on track. The way they beat us last time we played left a bad taste in our mouths. We owed them one. It’s still early in the year, but we’ve got to figure out how to start winning these back-to-back games. We’ve got to try and find a rhythm and keep it rolling.”

The Riders are back in action on Sunday, heading to Sheffield to take on the Sharks. A win would put them above .500 for the first time this season. 

BBL Championship preview- Riders vs Flyers

The Riders host the Bristol Flyers, as the sides meet for the second time early in the season. They will look to bounce back after a defeat in their most recent fixture. 

Riders happy to be home

Leicester endured a difficult start to the season, with four of their first five games on the road. They currently possess a 2-3 record, having beaten Surrey and Manchester, the latter their only home game of the year so far. 

“It was great to be home. We were all looking forward to playing in our home arena. We’ve had great success here, and the guys were fired up to play,” said coach Rob Paternostro after the win. 

“Our guys love shooting in here. We obviously practice here, so we’re used to shooting here.”

Patrick Whelan, who had 20 points and four threes in the game, echoed his coach’s sentiments: “It felt nice to be back, especially because we spent the first three games on the road. To be back feels really good.”

They were straight on the road after the victory, heading up to Glasgow to play two days after. They lost a close fixture, which was within six points for the entire tie before the final three minutes. 

Read our report here! 

They will therefore appreciate a week’s rest before this one. The Riders will be in high hopes, hosting a game for the second time this year. A win would see them get back to .500, as they try to build momentum in their season. 

Bristol flying high 

The Flyers enjoyed a red-hot start to the 2022/23 season, winning five of their first six games. They started the season 4-0, holding down their home floor to remain one of the two undefeated teams in the BBL. They fell in their first road game in Newcastle, losing 89-78 against the Eagles, but Bristol bounced back in their most recent game, an 81-74 road win against the Cheshire Phoenix. 

Thomas Bell leads the scoring for the Flyers this season, the American forward is scoring 16 points per game on a red-hot 42.9% three-point shooting. His team’s success has come from the front court, as Bristol has dominated the offensive boards this season, grabbing 16.2 per game. 

The early season success comes off the back of a fourth-placed league finish last season, the highest in franchise history thanks to a 14-13 record. Leicester had success against Bristol last season, winning the season series 4-2 in all competitions. But the Flyers did prove a stern test for the Riders, knocking them out of the BBL Trophy, and the matchup has remained tough this year. 

The sides faced off in the Riders’ third game, and Bristol took the win. It was a tight game wire to wire, but the Flyers found late momentum to win. Leicester will look for payback with a win in this one. 

Key matchup 

When these teams last faced, Jelani Watson-Gayle had himself a night. The 6’1” point guard scored 18 points in the tie, including six in the final three and a half minutes to seal the win. 

Watson-Gayle is playing in his first professional season, after stints in the NCAA DII with Fresno Pacific, Miles and Benedict. Last season Watson-Gayle led Fresno to the PacWest Conference Tournament for the first time in their history, whilst being named PacWest First-Team All-Conference. 

Watson-Gayle is a born scorer, shooting a good percentage from deep in every college year. The Brit played for GB under 20s in 2018, and has grown into a dangerous perimeter threat in pro hoops. 

Lining up against him is the red-hot Patrick Whelan, the Riders’ leading scorer from last season has led the way in the last two games. He scored 22 points against Caledonia, including 11 in the fourth to attempt a Riders comeback. 

The GB sharpshooter came into this season off the back of his first international tournament, representing his country at EuroBasket. He was one of the BBL’s elite last season, being named to the Team of the Year after scoring 15.3 points per game. 

Whelan has come out gunning this year, making 42.9% of his threes on the way to 17 points per game. And Whelan will look to continue to play both ends to his elite level for the Riders to secure back-to-back home wins. 

Where to watch

Tickets are available to purchase here, or on the door before the game, but are expected to sell out quickly. The fixture will also be streamed on the British Basketball League YouTube channel.

Academy Preview: October 29th & 30th



Under 16 Girls II v Derby Trailblazers – 13:00 Tip at Morningside Arena

U16 Boys II v Warwickshire Hawks – 13:15 Tip at Morton Morellos College

U14 Boys Premier v Cheshire Phoenix – 15:00 Tip at Ellesmere Port Sports Village

U15 Boys v Abingdon Eagles – 17:00 Tip at King Alfred Academy


U14 Girls v Sheffield Hatters – 11:00 Tip at Morningside Arena

U18 men v Sheffield Junior Sharks – 12:20 Tip at Ponds Forge

U16 Boys Premier v Trafford Magic – 13:00 at Morningside Arena

U17 Boys v Nuneaton Predators – 13:20 Tip at George Elliot School

Riders fall just short in Glasgow

The Riders fell short in Scotland, losing a battle against the Caledonia Gladiators. Before the closing seconds, the lead was never greater than six for either team. But the Gladiators found late momentum to secure the win. 

The Riders’ wing duo of Patrick Whelan and Marc Loving led the scoring with 22 and 20, respectively, the former scoring 11 points in the final period in an attempted comeback. They shot well from the field, making 50% of their shots, but could not stop the Gladiators’ offence. 

First-year pro David Sloan exploded for a huge night for Caledonia. The 6’0” point guard’s 36-point effort was the best scoring night of any Riders’ opponent this season and his professional-best tally. Sloan made five of ten threes in a scorching hot shooting night. 

It was a tightly fought affair from the jump, as nothing separated the teams through a deadlocked first quarter. The Riders attacked the rim early and often, getting to the free-throw line to generate their offence.

On defence, they held Caledonia to 36% shooting in the first but gave up three offensive rebounds, which kept the score even at 18 each. 

Zach Jackson hit the Riders’ first three of the game five minutes into the second quarter, taking the lid off the basket from deep. They made three straight attempts within the next minute, but the Gladiators continued to crash the glass, with eight offensive rebounds in the first half.

Caledonia big man Jeremiah Bailey had 11 rebounds, five of them offensive, to keep it close by halftime. The score was 42-41 in the Riders’ favour entering the locker rooms.

Marc Loving took over the scoring load in the third quarter, scoring eight points in the period to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Despite his play, the score remained close, with a Patrick Tape slam to close the third making it 59-57 to Leicester entering the final period.

Sloan, who had 17 points going into the fourth, got the action underway in by nailing a three from the wing. The shot set the tone for the start of the quarter, as the Gladiators found their hottest form of the game to go up four. 

The Riders fought back, as Whelan put on an offensive masterclass. He scored 11 points to lead a comeback, his three taking the lead with three minutes on the clock. But the hosts responded with seven straight points, putting themselves in a strong position to see the game out. 

The Riders hauled up threes in an attempt to make it a one-possession game, but they would not drop, and the Gladiators saw out the win. 

The Riders look to bounce back on Friday, as they host the Bristol Flyers. A win would see their record improve to 3-3, as they look to gain some momentum in the season. 

BBL Championship Preview: Riders at Gladiators

The Riders take on the Caledonia Gladiators on the road, for the second game of a doubleheader. They hold a 2-2 record going into the game, as they look to get over .500. 

Riders back on track

After starting the season on a three-game road trip, which they finished with a 1-2 record, the Riders returned home for their season opener on Friday. The result was an emphatic 102-89 win against a tough Manchester Giants team, who fought the Riders wire to wire. 

“It felt great to be home, especially after spending the first three games on the road,” said Patrick Whelan after putting up 20 points in the win. “We needed to get a good, comfortable win under our belt.”

Joining him with 20 points in the scoring column was Zach Jackson, who returned to the team after missing the last two games through injury.

“He’s such a good team player and competitor’” said head coach Rob Paternostro. “He’s not 100%, but he told me yesterday: ‘I’m going to play.’ You never have any doubts about Zach Jackson.”

The Riders shot the lights out in the game, making 48% of their threes. In an efficient scoring night, they blew the tie open in the third quarter and held on until the final buzzer. 

Read our report here!

They will look to replicate their performance in Scotland, building on the momentum found against the Giants. 

A new era in Glasgow

The re-branded Gladiators host their first game of the season, after starting their campaign with three straight road games. They split the results 1-2, as they look to get back to .500 in this one. 

Big news came out of Scotland this offseason, with the retirement of player/coach Gareth Murray, who has taken up full-time coaching responsibilities for the club. The GB sharpshooter’s absence forced Caledonia to move into a new phase of their franchise, without their star man. 

In the early stages of the year, it’s first-year pro David Sloan whose taken up the mantle as the team’s leader. He’s averaged a team-high of 14.7 points, scoring 22 in his debut against the London Lions. 

Despite Sloan’s efforts, they dropped the game against London despite playing the Lions close. They picked up their only win in Sheffield, beating the Sharks 74-70, before losing big to Cheshire in their previous game. They’ll hope to get one over on the reigning champs to build some momentum in their season. 

Key matchup 

Rookie point guard David Sloan has hit the ground running in Caledonia, the 6’0” Kentucky native getting points on the board from the get-go. His 22 points in the season opener came with six rebounds and assists, knocking down four threes. 

Sloan graduated from East Tennessee State, playing his final two college seasons there. He scored 12.6 points and dished five assists per game in his final season, before crossing the Atlantic for the BBL. 

Sloan possesses all the qualities needed to score in the backcourt. He’s a quick, athletic ballhandler with crafty moves and a quick release, keeping defenders alert for all 40 minutes. 

Faced with the task of guarding him is Riders legend Conner Washington, who is playing in his 11th season in Leicester. Washington has won everything there is to win in the BBL, with 14 pieces of silverware to his name after adding three more last season. 

The Bedford-born guard is respected around the BBL as an intelligent veteran, playing to an elite standard on both ends. He has earned Molten BBL Defensive Team of the Year honours on three separate occasions.

He reached deep into his bag of tricks in the Riders Basketball Champions League clash against CSO Voluntari, leading the team with 14 points and injecting energy into the Leicester offence off the bench. 

Washington showed he can still bounce with the best of them and will bring his A-game against Sloan in this one. 

Where to watch

The fixture will be streamed live on the British Basketball League Youtube channel; tipping-off is at 5 pm.

Riders win home opener

The Riders move to 2-2 after winning their home opener. It was a 102-89 against the Manchester Giants, which they blew open in the third quarter. 

The Riders’ wing tandem led them through the game, as GB guard Patrick Whelan and Omaha graduate Zach Jackson scored 20 each. Jackson also grabbed 10 boards, putting up a monster double-double after missing the last two games through injury.

The Riders cooked from deep, scoring 48% of their three-point attempts. They shot 56% from the field in an efficient shooting night. They showed their depth of shooting, as seven players contributed from behind the arc. 

The Giants fought from wire to fire, coming back multiple times to keep the Riders on their toes. By halftime, Rahmon Fletcher, William Lee and Tahj Green scored double-digit points, but the visitors could not keep up with Leicester’s offensive effort. 

After a slow start, falling into an 11-2 hole, two quick threes from Jackson and Conner Washington clicked their offence into gear. Jackson exploded for seven points in five minutes in his return to the lineup. 

Leicester got back into the game from deep, as threes rained for the hosts. They made five in the first, and shot 56% from the field to take the lead with two minutes remaining. The Riders rode the wave of momentum into the second and maintained their shooting form. Back-to-back threes from Jackson and Kimbal Mackenzie stretched the lead to 11. 

The Giants fought back, as their leading scorer, Green, strung together some baskets. His putback, which followed a deep three, cut it to one possession. The teams traded buckets before Whelan hit a shot at the buzzer to make it 53-49 at the half. 

Three minutes into the second half, Whelan kept firing with his hot hand to drain consecutive triples. He scored eight straight points to rebuild the Riders’ lead, as they look to reestablish their foothold in the game. 

They kept their foot on the pedal, continuing to get points on the board to make it a 19-point affair. Three Corey Johson free-throws to close the quarter cut into the Riders’ lead, but they still held a significant advantage after winning the third period 30-18. 

The Giants showed heart in the fourth, crashing the glass on every possession to score second-chance points. With five minutes left in the tie, they’d cut the game to 12 points following a Lee jam. 

They went to their captain to settle the nerves. Darien Nelson-Henry took the ball down low, backed down Lee and hit a smooth fadeaway at the buzzer to regain control of the game. 

After Nelson-Henry’s bucket, the Riders were able to see out the game, going 11-7. Jackson’s midrange jumper rounded off a professional Riders performance. 

“It was great to be home. We were all looking forward to playing in our home arena. We’ve had great success here, and the guys were fired up to play,” said coach Rob Paternostro after the game.

On Jackson’s performance, he said “He’s such a great team player and competitor. He’s not 100%, but he told me yesterday ‘I’m going to play.’ You never have any doubts about Zach Jackson!”

The Riders play the second of a doubleheader, heading to Glasgow on Sunday to take on the Caledonia Gladiators. They look to move to a winning record, before returning home next Friday to host the Flyers. 

Get your tickets here!

BBL Championship Preview- Riders vs Giants

The Riders host their season opener for the 2022/23 season following a three-game road trip to start the season. They take on the Manchester Giants, who have won four of their first five games this year.

Riders back home

After spending their first three games on the road this season, the Riders return to the Morningside Arena to face the Giants. They went 1-2 through the opening three games, and are hoping to get back to .500 in this one. 

Their previous game was a close loss to the undefeated Bristol Flyers, which finished up 91-85. The game was within a possession throughout most of the final period, but the Flyers found late momentum to win the tie. 

Read our report here.

Mo Walker’s 16-point performance was key to the Rider’s successes; the big man made a significant impact down low after a slow Leicester start. Derryck Thornton also enjoyed a 16-point effort, leading the team for the second straight game.

Through three games, the Riders have leant on their offence, scoring the third most points in the BBL. They’ll need to be at the top of their game against Manchester, who have acquired a squad of elite defenders. 

A new era in the North West

The Giants saw significant changes to their franchise over the offseason, as they look to take a leap towards challenging for silverware this season. 

They made moves for two legends of the British game, as esteemed head coach Vince Macaulay took charge at the helm, and two-time MVP Rahmon Fletcher made the move from Newcastle to run the point.

Joining Fletcher in the backcourt is 16-point-per-game scorer Dirk Williams, who made his name as one of the league’s elite last season with the London Lions. 

Some former Riders return to the Morningside Arena, as William Lee and Corey Johnson will suit up in Giants’ colours after winning the league in Leicester in 2021. But it’s American rookie Tahj Green who is setting the tone in Manchester healing into this one, scoring 21.2 points per game and setting the league alight with a monster dunk in his previous game.

Early in the season, the offseason moves have been a rousing success for Manchester, as they won four of their first five games to put them third in the league table. They will hope to continue their red-hot form with a win in Leicester. 

Key matchup 

The two-time MVP comes to Leicester, as new Giants’ acquisition Rahmon Fletcher will run the Manchester point. The Newcastle Eagles legend traded the North East to the North West this offseason, after leading the BBL in assists last year. 

Fletcher spent seven years in Eagles’ colours, winning the MVP back-to-back in 2016 and 2017. In 2017, he put up 20.5 points and 6.6 assists per game, leading Newcastle to the league and playoffs double. 

With a plethora of elite options at his disposal, Fletcher has continued to run the show in new colours, dropping 10 assists per game so far this year. 

Lining up against him is another new signing, Leicester’s Derryck Thornton, who burst onto the scene in his first two BBL games. Thornton has led the team in scoring in both of his Riders appearances, averaging 18 points per game. 

The California native averaged 18.4 points and 5.4 assists per game in the Austrian first division last season, playing for 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. 

The battle in the backcourt may end up as the key to the game, as both point guards are capable of exploding for monster performances any given night. 

Where to watch

Tickets are available to purchase here, or on the door before the game, but are expected to sell out quickly. 

The fixture will also be streamed on the British Basketball League YouTube channel. 

Academy Fixtures: October 22nd

It’s a quiet weekend for our Academy teams with only our U16 Boys Premier & Conference teams with fixtures. Coach Pietro and the U16 Boys Conference are taking the short trip across town to Gateway College to take on Leicester Warriors whilst Coach Mroso and the U16 Boys Premier are on the road at City of Birmingham Rockets.


U16 Boys Conference at Leicester Warriors – 12:00 Tip at Gateway College

U16 Boys Premier at City of Birmingham Rockets – 12:20 Tip at Nechells Sports Centre

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

All you need to know!

With the fantastic expansion of Morningside Arena, and ahead of the first home game of the season this Friday against Manchester Giants – here’s all you need to know…

Tip times
All Friday night home games will now tip-off at 7.45pm. This Friday there is a pre-game event!

Pre-game event
This Friday we open our doors at 6pm – we have a special reveal of the new Mattioli courts with a live band, refreshments and activations. We’d love to see you there!

Our Arena expansion means that access to games will be via the new entrance on Memory Lane. No access via Charter St.

Please use LE1 3UL on your sat nav, car parking is limited but several car parks close by are highlighted on the map below.

Live music, meet the players and refreshments available at the Mattioli courts post-game.

Tickets are still available for the game via this link. We do expect a bumper crowd so please arrive early!

Everymind Performance joins the Leicester Riders family as official partner to take academy programme to the next level.

Leicester Riders academy programme is already one of the most successful academies in the UK with a multitude of national titles and players moving on to professional basketball around the world. Riders have now created a new partnership with performance coaching and education experts, Everymind Performance. The partnership has already been in place for a year with Everymind Performance shaping the academy’s DiSE (Diploma in Sporting Excellence) education programme and integrating a high performance framework into the programme as a whole. 

Everymind Performance helps athletes and sports organisations to optimise their performance and deliver outstanding education. Players are educated on how to optimise their performance and break down the barriers to their potential through high quality performance coaching. 

Everymind Performance supports the players to understand how their mind works and how sustainable high performance must be a holistic perspective that starts within. From tackling self doubt and the anxieties that come with being an elite athlete, to skills needed to keep a level head in big game situations and the true realities of being a high performer in today’s society, the feedback from players has proven that performance coaching is a huge benefit to their development and ability to sustain high performance throughout a whole season. 

Rob Jarram, founder of Everymind Performance,

‘Performance coaching is becoming an integrated part of elite sport. The Golden State Warriors worked with infamous performance coach, Tony Robbins, last year in the playoff finals and Formula 1 teams have performance coaches to help the teams and drivers find those all important winning margins. This programme is just the same, we aim to help the athletes and staff to consider their thinking and behaviours and align them with what creates sustainable high performance, now and in the future’. 

Russell Levenston, Riders’ Managing Director,

‘Our academy programme is first and foremost about creating successful people. Not all academy players will go on to a career in basketball and professional careers are not forever. We have a duty as professional clubs to make sure that we develop successful people and in addition, high performance is a lifestyle. Everymind Performance brings a holistic approach which tackles the highs and lows on and off the court’.

Arlen named in top 3!

Forward, Ashley Arlen has been named in the ‘Top 3 Ballers’ in the WBBL on The BBL Show podcast alongside London Lions, Kiki Herbert-Harrigan and Shanice Beckford-Norton.

Arlen joined the Riders this season after a successful three-year spell at the Nottingham Wildcats and professional experience in Romania, Germany, Spain and Australia. Arlen now leads the Riders’ side as team captain.

After 3 games in the WBBL Championship Arlen has amassed an impressive 18.3 PPG, 2.0 BLKPG, 16 FGM, 7 3PM, 7.7 DRPG – putting her in the league’s top ten across multiple stats.

The Riders will take on the Gladiators on Sunday, 23rd October before hosting the Archers on Saturday, 29th October. You can secure your ticket to home games here:

Academy Results: October 15th & 16th


U14 Boys II 43-44 Leicester Warriors

U13 Boys 57-46 Coventry Tornadoes

U15 Boys 56-58 Birmingham Bears

U16 Boys Premier 76-85 Trafford Magic

U12 Mixed 46-48 Coventry Tornadoes


U16 Girls Premier 44-60 Manchester Mystics

Riders fall short in a close one

The Riders fell just short in a close one in Bristol, concluding a three-game road trip to start the season. 

The game was tightly contested throughout, but the Flyers found late momentum to win the contest. New man Derryck Thornton led the team for the second straight game with 16 points and five rebounds, but the game got away from them late as Bristol scored four straight to see it out. 

Backing up Thornton off the bench was Mo Walker, whose size and strength made a significant impact on the tie. His 16 points and four rebounds proved vital in a tough Riders stretch in the first half.

Leicester shot efficiently in the game, making 49% of their shots and 40% of their threes, but lost the turnover battle by four, costing them valuable possessions. On the other end, Bristol shot a red-hot 45% from deep to get the better of the game. 

Bristol’s Jelani Watson-Gayle went off for 18 points to lead the game off the Flyers’ bench. He led his team’s three-point assault, making three. Thomas Bell also enjoyed a good scoring night, putting up 17. 

The Riders struggled for an early rhythm and quickly found themselves in a 15-4 hole after a plethora of Flyers fastbreak buckets. Bristol knocked down their first three attempts from behind the arc while the Riders looked to find their eye for the hoop, starting 1-9 from the field. 

Walker entered the fray as Rob Paternostro tried to establish some size down low against Flyers’ bruising center Malcolm Delpeche. Walker scored four quick points to keep Leicester in it, but Bristol maintained their lead with a barrage of threes. 

The Riders continued to chip away at the deficit in the second as the lid crept off the basket. Threes dropped for Marc Loving and Patrick Whelan; the latter scored seven points in two minutes to cut it to a four-point game. 

The sides traded buckets as the clock ticked down to halftime. The Flyers made a shot to close the second, making it 50-43 in the host’s favour. 

The Riders bolted out the gate in the second half, scoring six straight to make it a one-point affair. With momentum firmly in their corner, a fired-up Riders team took their first lead of the game three minutes into the third, as Whelan ran the fast break before making a tough layup. 

Despite the Riders’ surge back into the game, the score remained close for the remainder of the third. Back-to-back Flyers threes built them a slight advantage, which they took into the final period, up 71-66. 

In the fourth, the Riders again started the better of the teams. Walker got to work down low to draw a foul for two shots at the line, which he converted to tie the game up. What followed was a tense finish, with neither side able to establish a grip on the game.

The Flyers build a small margin, making key buckets to go up six with two minutes left. In response, Loving hit a huge three to cut it to one possession, but Bristol continued to make shots, keeping the Riders at arm’s length and winning the game. 

The Riders return to Leicester for their first home game of the season on Friday. They take on the Manchester Giants, hoping to bounce back and improve to 2-2. Tickets are available here.

BBL Championship Preview- Riders at Flyers

The Riders conclude their road trip to start the season in Bristol, where they will face the undefeated Flyers. They will hope to secure a win, bringing a 2-1 record back to Leicester. 

First win on the board 

The Riders secured their first win of the season with a dominant road win last time out. They blew out the Surrey Scorchers 86-67, winning the third quarter by 11 to blow the game open. 

Read our report from the win!

The story of the game was the dazzling debut of Derryck Thornton, the American guard going for 20 points in his first time in Riders colours. The California native exploded for 16 points in the first half, having not played since April, exciting Riders fans for his season ahead. 

“I feel like as a team we played well collectively. We obviously have things to work on, but overall it was a good game,” said Thornton postgame. 

“We came out really aggressive on defence, so maintaining will be important against Bristol. I like to push the ball a lot, so I think the more time I spend with the team, the more we can push it and get easy transition points.” 

He was backed up by his backcourt partner Patrick Whelan, who scored 17 points in the game. The Riders shot an efficient 50% from the field and held their opponents to 37% to seal a significant road victory. 

Flyers have lift-off

The Flyers are one of two undefeated teams in the BBL this season, starting their league campaign 3-0. Home wins against the Giants, Sharks and Patriots to begin the year have left the South-Westerners with high hopes for the rest of the year. 

VJ King has been the standout of a talented Flyers roster, the former NBA G-Leager averaging 16 points and eight rebounds through two games this year. However, it was American two-guard Tevin Olison stealing the show off the bench in their previous fixture scoring 18 points in 21 minutes, draining three threes in the process. 

The defence has been the key for the Flyers so far this season, as they boast the best defensive rating in the BBL in the opening stages of the season.

Combine this with their care for the basketball, turning the ball over at the lowest rate in the league, and the Flyers have their template going into the rest of the year.

Key matchup

Facing off against the Flyers’ new man VJ King will be fellow Ohio native Marc Loving, who has enjoyed an electric start to his second Riders season. Loving has averaged 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds through two games, setting up an exciting clash on the wing. 

Like King, Loving arrived to the BBL from the NBA G-League, having played for the Delaware Bluecoats and the Agua Caliente ClippersThe 6’7” forward is a versatile scorer and defender, offering a ranged skillset to Rob Paternostro’s side. 

In his debut season, Loving’s size and length gave him a strong defensive foundation, while his elite shooting ability combined with his 6’7” frame made him a dangerous weapon on offence.

On the other end, King spent his first two pro seasons with the Westchester Knicks, averaging 7.3 points per game last season. The Louisville graduate’s season high came on his Flyers debut, scoring 19 points against the Sheffield Sharks. 

King can score from anywhere and loves to attack the rim with power. He’s an elite rebounder for his position and will give the Riders’ defence a difficult task with his strength and speed. 

Where to watch 

The game takes place on Saturday, tipping off at 7:30 pm. It will be available to watch on the British Basketball League YouTube channel.

Black History Month celebrated at Flyers game

Players of both Leicester Riders and Bristol Flyers will wear warm-up t-shirts to celebrate Black History Month before Saturday’s away game.

Both sides represent multi-cultural cities and have a rich history of welcoming players from all backgrounds. Riders are also offering free advertising space on their big screens to local black-owned businesses for both home games this month. If you are a black-owned business and want to feature then please email details on your business/address and a 16:9 advert to [email protected].

This week Riders’ Jubril Adekoya interviewed Mo Walker on what Black History Month means to him.

Kevin Routledge honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award

We are thrilled to announce Leicester Riders chairman Kevin Routledge has won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 LeicestershireLive Business Awards.

Kevin’s years of contributions to basketball, the community and business were all recognised, with TV presenter & host Ben Hanlin presenting the award at the King Power Stadium.

All at the Riders would like to congratulate Kevin for winning the richly deserved award!

Academy Results: October 8th & 9th


U14 Boys II 27-86 Leicester Dynamite

U16 Girls Prem 67-77 Sheffield Hatters

U18 Men 65-99 Leicester Dynamite

U16 Boys Prem 62-46 City of Leeds

U16 Girls II 40-53 Frankley Falcons

U14 Girls 64-51 Mansfield Giants

U14 Boys Prem 51-58 Manchester Giants

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

Riders bag first win of the season

The Riders took their first win of the season, beating the Surrey Scorchers 86-67 on the road. The Riders took an early lead which they carried through to the final buzzer, blowing the game open in the third quarter. 

New man Derryck Thornton enjoyed a dream debut, leading the game with 20 points after scoring 16 points in the first half. Backing up the American guard was backcourt partner Patrick Whelan, whose three three’s helped him to 17 points in the game. 

Leicester dominated the glass to march to the win, outrebounding the Scorchers by 10 in the game. Combined with efficient 51% shooting from Leicester, and they get points on the board for the first time this year. 

The skipper led the Riders out the gate, as four-year Rider Darien Nelson-Henry scored their first two baskets of a 13-4 start. New man Thornton impressed in his opening three minutes of play, leading the run with five quick points. 

Surrey found their offensive rhythm later in the quarter, and the sides traded buckets to make it 24-16 at the end of the first. 

As the clock ticked down towards halftime in the second, a pair of Scorcher threes dropped to cut it to a four-point game. Led by British big man Boban Jacdomi’s eight-point quarter, Surrey stuck close to the reigning champs. 

The Riders, led by a 16-point half from Thornton, took a seven-point lead into the locker rooms with work to be done in the second half.  

The Riders took the game by the reigns to start the second half, starting with a 10-4 run. They went on to score 17 points in six minutes to build a commanding lead, establishing a platform to see out the game. 

With two minutes remaining in the third, last season’s leading scorer Whelan nailed two threes in as many seconds after a Surrey turnover on the inbound. Whelan’s sharpshooting made it an 18-point Riders lead. 

Whelan carried his hot hand into the fourth quarter, getting the action underway with another three from the wing. 

He and Thornton continued to get points on the board in the period, Thornton’s pull-up midrange making it a 22-point Riders lead with eight minutes on the clock. They saw out the win comfortably, maintaining their lead to the buzzer. 

The win gets the Riders’ on the board in their BBL Championship defence. They finish their three-game road trip to start the season in Bristol next Saturday, where they will take on the Flyers, hoping to improve to 2-1. 

BBL Championship Preview- Riders at Scorchers

For the second of a three-game road trip, the Riders take on the Scorchers at Surrey Sports Park. Leicester look to get their title defence back on track with their first win of the season! 

A hard-fought season opener

The Riders were faced with a tremendous task in their first game of the season, taking on the highly touted league contenders London Lions in the capital. Without their newly signed American point guard Derryck Thornton, they played the Lions close throughout but were unable to stage a late comeback. 

Read our report from the game!

There were positives to take from the game going into the rest of a long season. Last season’s leading scorer, GB sharpshooter Patrick Whelan, proved he hadn’t lost a step in the offseason, putting up 16 points in the game. But leading the fixture for Leicester was Ohio State graduate Marc Loving, the athletic wing scoring 21 points from 10 shots from the field. 

Ahead of their clash with the Scorchers, the Riders hope for an important road win to begin to build momentum for their season ahead. 

Scorchers look to bounce back

Surrey will hope for a rebound season after a 2-25 record left them propping up the BBL Championship table last year. A change at the helm was the foundation for a new beginning in Surrey, with the acquisition of former Manchester Giants head coach Lloyd Gardner representing the hope of a step in the right direction for the franchise. 

Injury struggles provided the backdrop for last season’s struggles, so Surrey will hope to keep their roster healthy through the opening stages. The squad has been revamped for the start of Gardner’s role, with one of the promising acquisitions making his first leap into professional basketball this season. 

Luke Busumbru is a homegrown young talent, who played for NBL D1 side Solent Kestrels for the last three seasons. The 6’3” guard scored 21 points in their season opener against the Cheshire Phoenix, but the team ultimately fell short in an 81-96 loss. 

The Scorchers trailed wire to wire in the game, unable to slow down a potent Phoenix offence that shot 46% from deep. They will look to shore up their perimeter against the Riders as they hope to get one over on the reigning champions. 

Key Matchup

Starting his season with a bang, sharpshooting stretch four Marc Loving’s 21 points against the London Lions will look to kick on from his emphatic performance in this one. Shooting 70% from the field, London struggled to live with the Ohio-born forward as he attacked the rim all night long. 

Loving is a second-year Rider, having signed from the NBA G-League. The 6’7” forward is a versatile scorer and defender, offering a ranged skillset to Rob Paternostro’s side. In his debut season, Loving’s size and length gave him a strong defensive foundation, while his elite shooting ability combined with his 6’7” frame made him a dangerous weapon on offence.

Likely to be a Scorcher who will take on the task of guarding Loving is Kyle Carey, the 6’6” wing who is playing in his third BBL season. Carey played his first two BBL seasons in Cheshire, averaging six points in the North-West last season. 

Carey put up eight points and five rebounds in 22 minutes against his former side in his previous game, making two of his four three-point attempts. London-born Carey played his role to great effect last year, scoring an efficient 47.8% from the field and 38.2% from three. He uses his length to fill passing lanes, and his speed and aggressiveness to punish sleeping defences at the rim. 

Where to watch

The game takes place on Saturday, tipping off at 6 pm. It will be available to watch on the British Basketball League YouTube channel.

Academy Preview: October 8th & 9th

It’s a weekend of away games for our 7 teams in action this week with U14s Boys II, U16 Girls II and U14 girls.

The U16s Boys Premier travel to play City of Leeds in their season opener. Head Coach & Head of Academy, Steven Mroso is looking forward to working with this group. They have so much more to learn but Coach is happy happy with the teams pre season preparations.

After last weekend’s Cup win the U16 Girls are back in action, this time on the road against Sheffield Hatters. The U18s Men & U14 Boys Premier are also back on court after winning their opening games of the season.



U14 II v Leicester Dynamite – 12:15 Tip at WQE College

U16 Girls Premier v Sheffield Hatters – 13:00 Tip at All Saints Sports Centre

U18 Men v Leicester Dynamite – 15:45 Tip at WQE College

U16 Boys Premier v City of Leeds – 16:00 Tip at Leeds Beckett University


U16 Girls II v Frankley Falcons – 11:00 Tip at Bournville College Sports Hall

U14 Girls v Mansfield Giants – 14:00 Tip at Droylsden Academy

U14 Boys v Manchester Giants Blue – 14:00 Tip at National Basketball Performance Centre

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

American talent joins Loughborough University

Loughborough Basketball welcome Emma Fee and Ashley Johnson to Loughborough University where they will be studying and competing in the British University and Colleges Sport competition. 

Fee, originally from Minnesota, has spent the last five years studying and playing at Winona State University. The 6’2 Forward will further her academic studies at Loughborough University this year by balancing a Masters in Sports Management alongside her playing commitments for the University’s 1st team and the Riders professional Women’s programme who compete in the WBBL. 

“Extremely excited for this opportunity to play with the Riders program. The coaches and players have been so welcoming and I know we will do something special this year. Can’t wait to get after it!”

Johnson, joins Loughborough University from the University of Southern Indiana where she lead the team in points (14.1ppg), assists (4.04 apg), steals (2.33 spg), and FT (82%) in her senior year. Johnson was appointed captain twice in her time at USI and was named 1st team All-GLVC and Academic All-GLVC. The 5’7 guard who also has a background in rugby, will continue her academic studies in Clinical Exercise Physiology while joining fellow teammate Emma Fee in purple as part of the Loughborough University 1st team. 

“I am so blessed and grateful to have the opportunity to play again. I can’t wait to see what the UK has to offer, and I look forward to being apart of the Loughborough/Rider family!”

On the recruitment of his newly acquired American talent, Head Coach Krumesh Patel is looking forward to the season ahead:

“Excited to be able to have Emma and Ash join us! They are a great addition for not only the team but for Loughborough University. Both embodied what a Loughborough student-athlete should be! So great to have them join us on the journey this year!”

Both the Loughborough University Men’s and Women’s 1st teams will start their 2022-23 BUCS season at home tomorrow on campus at the Sir David Wallace Sports Hall. Spectators welcome!

4.00pm: Women’s 1st vs Newcastle
6.00pm: Men’s 1st vs Newcastle 

Academy Results: October 1st & 2nd

A successful weekend for our Academy teams as 4 of our 5 teams in action picked up wins. Our U12 Boys & U13 girls both won in their first games of the season whilst the U16 Girls Premier also picked up and impressive win over Manchester Mystics II in the Cup.

Our U14 Premier Boys got off to winning ways and defeating City of Leeds 61-32 at Beauchamp College. Coach Pietro and the U16 IIs were once again in a competitive contest falling to Milton Keynes II by 8 on the road.


U16 II 53-61 Milton Keynes II

U13 Girls 20-28 Northants Lightning

U12 Boys 55-39 Northamptonshire Titans

U13 Girls 49-4 Kettering Phoenix

U14 Boys Premier 62-31 City of Leeds

U16 Girls 57-54 Manchester Mystics II

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