Riders react to win against Patriots

Leicester Riders secured their first win of the season, beating the Plymouth City Patriots 88-81. 

Here’s what Head Coach Rob Paternostro and game MVP TJ Lall had to say postgame.

Coach Rob- “It wasn’t perfect, but we showed a lot of character.”

The Riders found themselves down nine going into halftime, having given up 35 points in the second quarter to their opponents. 

They responded in the second half, and were able to overcome the deficit. 

“We had to play better defence in the second half and be a little tougher,” said Paternostro. 

“The challenge I set at halftime was for the guys to give it their all on the defensive side of the ball, and we held them to 29 in the second half.

“We did a really good job defensively, and that was important. When we’re getting stops, we can run in transition, which is where we’re strong.”

The return of rookie guard Caleb Asberry from injury lit a spark in the Riders backcourt. His gritty performance led to six points and four rebounds in 13 minutes of action. 

“I thought Asberry gave us some really good minutes. He hasn’t played in a while, and defensively he was really solid.

“Caleb adds a lot. He’s quick, and he wins the ball. When the ball is loose, he has a talent for finding it. He can really shoot and make plays on the other end. He was in the lineup that turned the game around.”

It was a gutsy win for the Riders, bouncing back from their defeat to the Cheshire Phoenix on opening night. It was important, in a lot of ways, to get a win on the board.

“It wasn’t perfect, but we certainly showed a lot of character to be able to come back and get the win. We have to understand that we’ve only been together a few weeks. We have to have patience. We have a lot of bodies, and we need to get as healthy as we can.

“A game like tonight will give the team some confidence that they can win a game in the fourth quarter.”

“That’s what was impressive for me. It was a tough loss last week, and no one felt good going into practice. We had a good week of practice, but then we went into halftime down nine. 

It was a challenge at halftime to come out and show some mental toughness to get the job done. We have a lot of work to do, but hopefully, we can keep getting better and better.”

TJ Lall- “It was good to get our first win.”

Canadian wing TJ Lall was named MVP after putting up 14 points, four rebounds and two blocks in a well rounded performance. 

Lall showed to the Riders faithful his ability to do what is needed to secure a victory. He battled on the glass, contested shots and put the ball in the basket when it counted.

“It was a hard-fought game,” said Lall. “We struggled on defence early, but in the second half, we turned it up, and good things happened for us. It was good to get our first win.”

He got most of his points in the first half to keep the Riders in it, but made clutch free throws down the stretch with the game in the balance. 

Lall was bright throughout, but the team’s intensity left room for improvement following the first half. 

“Our energy wasn’t where we wanted it to be. We needed to communicate better and rebound to close out possessions. It really helped us once we improved our standard in those areas.”

“We really picked up the ball pressure near the end of the third quarter and forced some turnovers. That got us some easy transition points and we could see the game out from there.”

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home fixture!

DF Precision Machinery Ltd sponsor LRF Academy Kit

A massive thank you to DF Precision Machinery Ltd for sponsoring our new playing kit and warm up tops for our Academy teams this season.

DF Precision Machinery Ltd’s sponsorship has meant that we have been able to provide new kit for all 13 of our teams ahead of the season getting underway this weekend, this would not have been possible without their generosity. The kit will be worn in all Academy fixtures up and down the county in both the National League and YBL competitions.

DF Precision Machinery Ltd’s provide specialist support High precision grinding machines in Sales, Applications and Customer Care. In addition to ensuring they build long term mutually rewarding partnerships with customers and suppliers they also want to give back to the community and the environment. 5% of profits are given to charities and good causes each year. CLICK HERE to visit DF Precision Machinery Ltd’s website. Mike Duignan from DF Precision Machinery Ltd is a parent of one of our Academy players who has been in our Academy for a number of seasons.

“It’s fantastic that we have been able to provide new kit for all 13 teams ahead of the new season. The kits look amazing and it’s great that we have been able to unify the kit across all of our teams. A massive thank you to DF Precision Machinery Ltd, without their sponsorship it wouldn’t have been possible.” – Natalie Narrainen, Academy Lead.

“We are delighted that DF have supported us over the past 2 seasons. We’re so excited to showcase the new kits this season. As our Academy has grown it’s brilliant to provide fresh new kits for all the teams in our Academy that will be showcased across the country” – Laura Shephard, LRF General Manager.

Our first fixture of the season takes place this weekend with our U16 Boys Premier team on the road against Frankley Falcons in the National Cup.

Preview: Riders vs Patriots

This Friday sees the Riders host the Plymouth City Patriots in the second round of the British Basketball League Championship.

Rob Paternostro’s players will be looking to bounce back after falling 110-86 to the Cheshire Phoenix in their season opener.

Here is all you need to know ahead of the fixture.

Fixture Information

Leicester Riders vs. Plymouth City Patriots

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Friday, September 22, 7:45pm

Get your tickets here!

Riders Look to Rebound

Last Friday’s contest with Cheshire tipped off to the sound of anticipation around the Morningside Arena, as the Riders’ fans saw a new-look squad in competitive action for the first time. 

The game proved to be a source of valuable lessons for a unit looking to build cohesion over a long British Basketball League campaign.

While the Riders fell to the Phoenix, Coach Rob’s teams take pride in improvement throughout the long British Basketball League season. The first focus after the season opener: offensive rebounding. 

Cheshire only secured five more rebounds than the Riders, but 17 of their 38 total came on the offensive glass. Comparing that to the Riders’ five offensive rebounds paints a clear picture of how the visitors were able to secure the win.

There were positives to be taken from the fixture. Versatile guard Jaren Holmes led the Riders’ scoring charts, dropping 16 points in 32 minutes of play. Many of the rookie’s points came from the free throw line – Holmes the only player to make double digits from the charity stripe.

The Riders shot efficiently (54.9% from the field), helped by the impressive bench duo of Samuel Idowu and Xavier Pinson. 

Front-court bruiser Idowu looked excellent from deep, draining three of his four three-point attempts, while Pinson reached his 12 points through a mix of difficult finishes and accurate shooting.

Checking into the tie midway through the third quarter, Pinson led a charge back into the game, which saw the Riders trail by just three with one to play. 

A major goal for the Riders this Friday is to gain parity on the boards and play turnover-free basketball. 

If they can clean up those areas, the sky is the limit for this quick and athletic unit. 

Plymouth’s 2022/2023 in Review

Last season proved to be a tough one for the Patriots who, despite a solid start to the year, finished ninth in the championship standings with a record of 11 wins and 25 losses.

A run of difficult results down the stretch dropped Plymouth level with the Newcastle Eagles and out of the playoffs on head-to-head.

Individually, the Patriots’ brightest spark came in the form of Rashad Hassan, who netted 15.6 points per game and seven rebounds per game. Hassan has departed Plymouth, but donning the colours again this season is lead distributor Elvisi Dusha. 

Dusha provided 6.1 assists per outing a season ago, enjoying the best statistical season of his career last year. 

Led by Dusha, the Patriots will be hoping 2023/2024 brings with it a playoff place come the end of the season. 

Significant Retool for the Patriots

After losing the services of influential players like Hassan and Anontio Williams, the latter leaving midway through last year, the Patriots’ front office has worked hard to rebuild the spine of the team.

Joining Dusha (who has returned as club captain) are no fewer than seven new signings to help Plymouth push for a return to the playoffs. 

Perhaps the most notable addition of the South Westerner’s summer comes in the form of recent National Basketball League joint-MVP, Taylor Johnson. 

The playmaking guard, who is as dangerous as he is unselfish with the ball in his hands, brings a winning mentality to Plymouth, having led the Hemel Storm to an undefeated season in the NBL Division One last year.

Johnson will be accompanied by second-year pro, TJ Atwood. The 6’6″ wing player, who originates from Texas, comes over from Slovakia, where he spent a season playing for BK Iskra Svit. Atwood got big minutes in Europe, leading the Slovakian Extraliga in time on court. 

A Tricky Start

Like the Riders, Plymouth sits a 0-1 after a difficult trip to Bristol last Friday. 

The Patriots were downed 82-65 in a low-scoring game plagued with turnovers. Plymouth gave up possession 26 times, giving the Flyers impetus on the fast break and the ability to force trips to the line. 

T. Johnson and Atwood joint top scored with 17 apiece, assisted by Dusha, who dished eight assists on the night. 

Expect the Patriots to be much tighter in possession this Friday, especially against a Riders team that possesses an abundance of pace.

Played for Both

Plymouth Head Coach Paul James will be no stranger to his surroundings in this matchup. The Leicester native is one of the longest-serving Head Coaches in British Basketball and suited up in Riders Red during his playing career. 

The 59-year-old began coaching in 1996, enjoying long spells with the Thames Valley Tigers, Guildford Heat, Worcester Wolves and the English National Team, most notably earning BBL Coach of the Year in 2007 after guiding the Heat to a league and cup double.

James has also previously played for Leicester, starting as a 17-year-old with the Leicester All-Stars in 1982 until the 1987/88 season that saw the point guard score 6.9 points per game.

The veteran’s battles against Rob Paternostro have spanned over a decade, as they get set to write another chapter in their storied history in this one. 

Get tickets to the game!

Rob Paternostro: “We have to be able to bounce back after a tough defeat”

The Riders started 0-1 for the 2023-24 season, falling to the visiting Cheshire Phoenix 110-86. 

Following his second opening night loss in 16 seasons as Leicester Riders head coach, Rob Paternostro made clear the areas for improvement. 

“They beat us up on the glass. That was the main issue we had. They got every second chance point. For me, that and the points-off turnovers were the most disappointing stats. Those are free points in a lot of ways,” said Paternostro postgame. 

The Phoenix grabbed 21 offensive rebounds to the Riders’ seven, leading to 18 second-chance points. Leicester’s 20 turnovers led to 24 points for the visitors too. 

Cheshire were also lights out from behind the arc all night long. They made 18 on 46% shooting, with big man Skyler White going 7-14 from three, not attempting a two all game. 

“Their three ball was going in like crazy. We really struggled to defend them on the three-point line: they were unconscious from out there. We knew they were a three-point shooting team going in, and when they’re shooting the ball like they did, it will be a long night.”

The Riders’ roster featured six rookies playing in their first professional game. Despite their youth, Paternostro made no excuses for them. 

“It’s not about your age, it’s about making the right plays. We’re still a new group that has to learn different things, but when you give the ball away, it has nothing to do with how old you are.”

Leicester cast their attention to the Plymouth City Patriots, who they face on Friday. They’ll need to iron out the creases quickly to avoid an 0-2 start. 

“We have to challenge ourselves to come out on Friday and play way better. We ran into a team that played great tonight, so I tip my hat to them, but we have to find a way to improve in these areas. If we don’t, no matter who you’re playing, you’ll face a similar result.

“We have to get out on the practice floor and keep our heads up. We’ll figure it out. We have to be able to bounce back after a tough defeat, so we’ll see what they can do this Friday.”

Get tickets to the Riders’ Friday night fixture against Plymouth City Patriots!

Riders fall in season opener

The Riders fell in their season opener against the Cheshire Phoenix. 

It was an uncharacteristic performance from Leicester, who suffered from turnovers and rebounding throughout. This marks only the second loss in an opening game for the club during the 16-year-long Rob Paternostro era. 

Iowa State guard Jaren Holmes led the team with 16 points, in a game where 20 Riders turnovers proved costly. The Phoenix had three 20-point scorers, led by Aaryn Rai’s 23 in his first British Basketball League game. 

Cheshire settled into the new season quickly, taking an early lead after a number of turnovers from the home side. 

The Riders quickly quashed any Phoenix momentum in the opening stages, and a monster Miryne Thomas jam assisted by a no-look assist from Kimbal Mackenzie tied it up at 15 five minutes in. 

It rained threes for the Riders at the back end of the first half, with big man Sam Idowu hitting three in the quarter, but the Riders trailed by four after one after Cam Christon’s nine-point first period. 

The game stayed in the balance until halftime. Mackenzie took over the opening of the second period with six, followed by back-to-back buckets from Blake Bowman, but the Riders struggled to keep Cheshire off the boards. 

Cheshire had 11 offensive rebounds by halftime, and new man Skyler White had success in the first half, putting up 13 by the break. Maceo Jack ended the half with an offensive board off a missed White three, making it 51-44 in their favour. 

The Phoenix momentum carried into the third quarter, stretching their lead to 12 a minute in. They maintained their double-digit advantage through the third, until the insertion of Xavier Pinson back into the game.

With Pinson in, the Riders hit back-to-back threes, the second by the Chicago-born guard to light a fire into the team. Bowman continued the run with a triple of his own which cut it to five. 

To end the third, Pinson went coast to coast, laying it up for two and making it a one-possession game with one to play. It was a 14-4 finish to the quarter for the Riders. 

The Phoenix rebuilt their lead in the final period of play, as second-year Phoenix Maceo Jack’s two three-pointers stole back momentum. From there, they ran away with the game, stretching their advantage to by the final buzzer after a flurry of threes. 

The Riders are back in action next Friday, looking to bounce back as they host the Plymouth City Patriots. 

Want to see the Riders in action? Get tickets to Friday’s game here.

Preview: Riders vs Phoenix

The Riders get their season underway on Friday, hosting the Cheshire Phoenix.

Here is all you need to know ahead of the fixture.

Fixture information

Leicester Riders vs Cheshire Phoenix

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Friday, September 15, 7:45 pm

Get your tickets here!

Riders’ early style

The Riders enter the 2023-24 season with a revamped and revitalised roster, with seven new additions entering the fray. Early signs in pre-season show a deep, athletic team, which looks to be gelling quickly ahead of a long, demanding British Basketball League season. 

The Riders have had contributions all the way down the roster throughout pre-season, and their ability to get out in transition following suffocating defensive possessions makes them a threat to any team in the League. 

Leicester outscored their opponents 82-17 in transition in pre-season and will look to utilise their speed throughout the year. 

Coach’s thoughts

Head Coach Rob Paternostro looked back on a positive pre-season campaign. 

“Looking back on the pre-season, while the results don’t matter in the long run, ultimately, you want a team that will play hard and try and win every possession.

“Those games were important for getting a feel for the rotation and understanding how to play different lineups. The more pre-season games, the better in that sense, and I think it was a successful run of fixtures for us. 

“We don’t look too far ahead at this stage of the season, other than wanting to be in great condition. We want to be in great shape to deal with the season, and we want to be a group that loves playing basketball. 

“We always want to grow through the season and be better at the end. We have a great track record of playing our best basketball in the second half of the year. But what jumped out to me straight away is how much speed and athleticism we have out there.”

Cheshire’s 2022/23 in review

The Phoenix enter this year off the back of what they’ll consider a successful 2022/23. Finishing fifth in the standings with a 19-17 record, they made it to the Playoff semi-final, losing to the eventual champions in the London Lions. 

The first round saw them take revenge over the Caledonia Gladiators, whose game-winning shot at the hands of David Sloan saw the Phoenix fall a game short of silverware in the Trophy final. 

But making a domestic final showed progress for the North Westerners, who will look to make the final leap this year. 

Cheshire’s off-season overhaul

Like the Riders, Cheshire has faced the task of bringing in a new core of players after their five top leading scorers left the club in the offseason. Their most notable departure, leading scorer Larry Austin Jr., signed with the Newcastle Eagles as they look to rebuild after an eight-placed finish last year. 

Hoping to compensate for the loss of Austin Jr. at the point guard position, the Phoenix have invested in a number of young American guards. Among them are EJ Stephens from Lafayette College and Laquincy Rideau, who signed from the Slovenian first division. 

Time will tell who can step into the shoes of Austin Jr. Early pre-season signs are that one of their few returners, Maceo Jack, may look to step into that role. 

Jack went off for a 31-point explosion against last season’s third-placed finishers, the Bristol Flyers. The American guard averaged 10.5 points per game last year, and the performance suggests further improvement in his second professional season. 


The Phoenix faced up against British opposition in their pre-season fixtures. In their only game against British Basketball League opposition, Jack’s 31 points still saw them fall 91-83 to the Bristol Flyers. 

They did take wins against Loughborough University and the Derby Trailblazers, concluding their pre-season against Derby, beating the NBL opposition 106-83. 

The Trailblazers have pulled off upsets against British Basketball League opposition in the Trophy, and put on a good showing in the Trophy semi-final last season against the Phoenix, so the matchup was a good test for the newly formed Cheshire roster. 

Played for both

Riders legend and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Jamell Anderson suited up for the Phoneix last season, following eight seasons in Riders’ red.

The 6’8” British forward amassed over 2000 British Basketball League points for the Riders and won eight pieces of silverware for the club. His prowess on the defensive end earned him a spot on the Molten BBL Defensive Team of the Year on three occasions. 

Anderson put up his best statistical performances for the Phoenix last season, putting up 13.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, helping the team to the BBL Trophy Final. 

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets here!

Morning Madness

The Leicester Riders Foundation is thrilled to offer an energising morning basketball session “Morning Madness” begining on Wednesday 20th September, 7-8:30am.

Open to all adults aged 18 and older, this initiative invites you to harness the power of sport and camaraderie before heading to work. Our expert coaches will guide participants through skill-building drills and friendly games, fostering teamwork and physical fitness in a fun and supportive environment.

Whether you’re a seasoned player or just looking to try something new, our morning basketball session provides an ideal opportunity to improve your game, meet new people, and kickstart your day with a burst of energy. Join us at the Leicester Riders Foundation for an exciting way to start your mornings and elevate your overall well-being through the love of basketball.

CLICK HERE to book your ticket!

Curran joins Loughborough Basketball

Loughborough Basketball can announce the addition of combo guard Megan Curran.

The 18-year-old played for Charnwood College in both the WEABL and U18s competitions last season, alongside the WNBL D1 side.

Curran will compete for the WNBL D1 side and in BUCS competition this season. 

She will accompany her playtime with her studies, as she completes her course in Sports Management at Loughborough College. 

Curran commented: “I’ve always said the first thing in my mind for continuing my journey is that I want coaches to have a step-by-step plan in mind for me to be able to develop to my full potential, and Loughborough is definitely the place for me to do that. 

“I look forward to all the future challenges that come my way whilst knowing my teammates, friends, and family have my back.”

Nick Moodey, Head of Girls Academy at Charnwood College, commented: “Working with Megan during her two years at Charnwood has been super enjoyable, she’s battled through adversity and developed as a person both on and off court.

“I’m excited to see Megan continue her growth within the Riders programme whilst completing her studies at Loughborough College, I know she is ready to work and bring the energy to any team she is a part of.”

Pre-season report: Riders take win against USA Select

The Leicester Riders welcomed a near-sellout crowd to the Morningside Arena tonight as they hosted a USA Select squad in their final game of the pre-season.

The Riders put on an entertaining display of offence to win 105-62 against a battling USA Select defence that competed well until the final minute, with 34 of the home side’s points coming on the fast break. It is clear that speed will be a major strength for the Riders this season.

Jaren Holmes put in another impressive performance, knocking down 17 points on 58% shooting as well as dishing four eye-catching assists. The 6’4 guard played solid team basketball as he looked to develop chemistry with fan favourite Kimbal Mackenzie and the exciting Xavier Pinson. 

Pinson showed some lovely touches, flashing high-level handling skills on multiple occasions on his way to 12 points. 

Second-year forward Blake Bowman also impressed, hitting 15 points at a 100% clip to demonstrate the strides he has made during the off-season.

USA Select benefited from good performances by Vaughn McCall and Braden Young, who scored 17 points each.

Tale of the Game

The Riders’ first possession set the tone of the game as all-action guard Mackenzie sliced his way to the rim for an early layup. Mackenzie was joined in the points column by Miryne Thomas, Holmes and Bowman as Leicester built a 16-point lead. 

USA Select defended with endeavour but new Riders’ guards Holmes and Pinson looked too sharp – especially from 3-point range.

Leicester took a 30-4 lead into the second quarter but found scoring a much tougher task in the second as the visitors improved their play. USA Select’s captain McCall led the way, showing hustle on both ends of the court and was rewarded with 12 first-half points.

Despite the stiffer challenge, the Riders found a way to make their class show. Pinson repeatedly caught the eye and drew a rapturous cheer from the home crowd as he hit a devastating spin to shake his defender before calmly hitting the layup. 

The half came to an end but not before Samuel Idowu stamped some authority on the game. 

Retreating on defence, the 6’8 forward dismissed a layup into the front-row seats before muscling his way into the offensive paint to earn a couple of free throws. 

The Riders ended the half with a 51 – 23 lead.

The Riders carried their positive offensive play into the second half, Holmes and Pinson unrelenting in their ability to impress the home faithful. 

Idowu once more showed why he could be a wall in the paint this season and athletic forward Thomas was quietly building an efficient stat sheet of 19 points and 7 rebounds.

Passing looked slick, especially on the fast break. One surge down the court saw Thomas receive the ball at speed before slamming a huge two-handed dunk. 

The USA Select did still have their moments. Braden Young played a nice second half, hitting 50% of his shots from deep, and Xavier Johnson was active on the boards, pulling down an impressive 9 rebounds.

After a cohesive performance on both ends of the court, the Riders’ Coach Rob Paternostro, will feel happy that his squad are ready for the Cheshire Phoenix in next Friday’s British Basketball League opener. 

Community Sessions Are Back!

Our Leicester Riders Community Sessions are returning from our summer break from Monday 11th September.

We have sessions for all ages and abilities both at the Morningside Arena and across Leicestershire.

CLICK HERE for more information or to book your session!

Annual Report 2022/23

Leicester Riders Foundation are delighted to launch our Annual Report for the 2022/23 season. We’re really proud of all of the work we have done in the Community over the past year and our Annual Report is a fantastic representation of the impact we have had.

CLICK HERE to read our Annual Report!

Gamble back for final year

Loughborough basketball are delighted to confirm the retention of Harrison Gamble for his fourth and final year. 

The 6’10” Brit spent his seven-year professional career for the Leicester Riders, winning, three BBL Championships, three BBL Playoff titles, three BBL Trophies and a BBL Cup. 

Gamble is also an NBL Patrons Cup winner with Loughborough and averaged 11.2 points per game in the NBL D1 last season. 

Gamble commented: “I’m very excited to be back playing in Loughborough for my final year. It’s great to be back working with the core group of guys from last year and then seeing the new faces that will no doubt be a big part of the programme going forward.”

Head Coach Will Maynard added: “It’s great to have Harrison back for another year. His leadership on the court is excellent for our younger guys, and he has really brought into a veteran role. 

“The rest of the guys love having him on the team, and he is definitely someone the players will lean on an awful lot through the season.”

Recap: Riders beat Donar

The Riders beat seven-time Dutch champions Donar Groningen 104-75, to start their pre-season campaign 2-0. 

It was an impressive win against established European opponents, as this newly formed Riders outfit appears to have gelled quickly. 

Kimbal Mackenzie led the team with 17 points, backed up by his backcourt teammate Jaren Holmes’ 16.

It was a confident display throughout. Donar’s only led the game for 15 seconds early in the first quarter, as the Riders took control of the tie. They won all four quarters, and after a Groningen surge to make it 52-51 to get the second half underway, the Riders blew the game wide open. 

Their points total, surpassing a century, came from only five three-point makes. The Riders play style leant into their youth and athleticism, outscoring Donar on the fast break 27-4. 

An eight-point quarter from Mackenzie got them over the line, the newly named captain continuing his hot form from last season which saw him named to the BBL British Team of the Year. 

Following up a 15 point game in the Riders’ pre-season opener, American rookie Jaren Holmes caught the eye once again with another impressive scoring display. 

As was the case in Leicester’s pre-season opener against Loughborough University, forward Myrine Thomas led them out the gate with his infectious energy. His seven-point first quarter set the tone from the jump. 

Meanwhile, after a 13 point showing against Loughborough, young forward Blake Bowman continued to show the promise of his potential. The East Midlands native had 12 points and five rebounds, leading the game with a +/- of 22.

“I thought we did a really good job,” commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro.

“Our depth has been impressive. We played 10 guys, and all of them made a great impact. We know we have a long way to go, but I like where we’re going.

“These are the types of trips where you learn a lot about your team, and because we have so many new players this season, it’s a great opportunity for them to bond on and off the court.”

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our season opener against the Cheshire Phoenix!

Get tickets to our preseason home opener against USA Select here!

Teacher Meet & Greet

The Leicester Riders Foundation are hosting a Teacher Meet & Greet at the Morningside Arena on Wednesday 27th September, 12:30-15:00.

The Meet & Greet provides a great to explore all the great education packages and opportunities we can deliver in your school, an opportunity to meet our Community & Education Team, the chance to meet the Riders professional players, exclusive offers on our schools packages & much more!

CLICK HERE to book onto our Teacher Meet & Greet or email [email protected] for more information.

Riders sign Hamilton

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of American rookie Marissa Hamilton for the 2023/24 season.

The 6’0” forward played her final college season at Merrimack College, where she put up 13.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game and was named to the NEC Third Team.   

Prior to that, Hamilton spent three years at the University of Buffalo, playing all 31 games as a junior and leading the Bulls in blocks. 

Hamilton will play for the Riders while studying at Loughborough University. The club would like to thank the University for their continued support.

Hamilton commented: “I feel blessed to be able to continue my professional career with the Leicester Riders! I’m super excited to get to work and create some fun memories with the new staff and teammates in places I’ve never been!”

Preview: Riders at Donar

The Riders head to the Netherlands to take on Donar Groningen over two games.

Here’s all you need to know:

Fixture information

Leicester Riders at Donar Groningen

Sporthal Wildervanckhal, Wildervank, Netherlands

Friday, September 1, 6:30 pm GMT

Familiar opponents

The sides face off in their annual pre-season meeting, providing a stern test for both outfits ahead of their respective seasons. 

Like Leicester, Donar enters this year after falling just short in the BNXT playoffs, losing game five of a best-of-five series to ZZ Leiden in the Finals. 

The prestigious organisation has won seven Dutch Championships, seven Dutch Cups and three Dutch Supercups in their history, most recently winning the Cup in 2022. 

Last pre-season, the Riders took back-to-back victories against their Dutch opponents, winning 80-75, then 69-61 two days later. 

There were two tightly contested games, with a late surge seeing the Riders take a win in the second fixture. 

Positive strides in pre-season opener

The Riders enter this game after a win in their first pre-season outing against Loughborough University. 

It was a 99-64 win in the annual pre-season “Red vs Purple” fixture. Miryne Thomas led the Riders with 17 points, in a game, backed up by 15 from Jaren Holmes. 

Thomas impressed throughout, making highlight plays and showing early aggression to build his points tally in the opening stages. 

Another positive was the return of Mo Walker and Conner Washington following their injuries last season. Both put on good showings in positive minutes. 

“It was great to have them back,” said Head Coach Rob Paternostro post-game. 

“Conner missed a lot of time with a back injury last season. I gave him a lot of minutes tonight, and he was the same old Conner. Mo also missed almost all the season, and he played really well today.”

Played for both: Carrington Love

Former Riders guard Carrington Love joined the team mid-season, after playing the 2019/20 season for Donar. 

There, he averaged 13.4 points and 5.8 assists and 2.3 steals, helping Donar to a 17-5 record in his 22 games. 

Love played another season in the Netherlands and spent a year in Germany before coming to the Riders in January 2023. 

Love went on to drop the second most points in the BBL Playoff Final vs London Lions with 17, behind teammate Zach Jackson’s 20.

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our season opener against the Cheshire Phoenix!

Get tickets to our preseason home opener against USA Select here!

Donar Groningen: Through the years

Leicester Riders will hed to the Netherlands to take on Donar Groningen during their pre-season. The game will take place on Friday, September 1.

Riders face Donar annually, providing a stern test during the Riders’ season preparations.

Donar, seven-time Dutch champions, enter this campaign after finishing second in the playoffs last season.

The game will provide key minutes for the newly formed Riders roster, looking to build on-court chemistry for a packed Britsh Basketball League schedule.

Donar has a storied history in Dutch basketball. We take a look back into the prestigious organisation’s past. 


Founded in 1951, Donar is one of the original Dutch first-division clubs, entering the league in 1970. 12 years on, they won their first championship with an emphatic 158–58 win against BOB Oud-Beijerland. 

The 100-point win has never been repeated in the Netherlands, as Donar wrote themselves into the history books. 

Following relegation just one year later, Donar returned to the first division in 1986, where they remained ever since.

Winning ways

The 2009–10 season kick-started Donar’s modern trophy-winning run. They won their third national championship, beating West-Brabant Giants 4–1 in the Finals. 

The title-winning squad returned for the next season, and they became the first Dutch basketball team to take part in the qualifying rounds of the new Euroleague.

Star man Jason Dourisseau was named the Dutch League MVP, and the team won a second NBB Cup in 2011, beating WCAA Giants. 

They fell just short in the playoffs Finals to Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden, in a historic game seven featuring three overtimes.

The 2013/14 season saw a reshuffled roster, which won the 2014 NBB Cup by beating Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden 79–71. They went on to win their fourth national title, this time emerging victors of a seven-game series against SPM Shoeters Den Bosch. 

Dynastic run 

In the 2015 offseason, Erik Braal took the role of Head Coach, and became the most successful coach in club history, winning five trophies in six seasons. The first: Donar’s fifth DBL title. 

In the 2016–17 season, Donar reached the second round of the FIBA Europe Cup, their best European performance in club history. That season, they won the treble for the first time, winning the Supercup, the NBB Cup and the playoff title. 

In 2017, Donar again qualified for the FIBA Europe Cup. They made strides in Europe, progressing all the way to the semi-finals of the playoffs before falling to the defending Italian champion Reyer Venezia, despite winning the second leg at home.

Domestically, the club had success behind star man Brandyn Curry, who was named league MVP. Donar won its third consecutive Dutch title after sweeping ZZ Leiden in the finals.

The following season, Donar reached the round of 16 in the FIBA Europe Cup for the second time in their history.


In 2020, Braal departed the club. A year later, Donar joined the newly formed BNXT League, which merged the national leagues of Belgium and the Netherlands. They immediately added more silverware to their packed cabinet, winning their seventh Cup, and making the playoff finals.  

In 2022/23, under Head Coach Andrej Štimac, Donar reached the finals of the Dutch League for the 13th time. In the series, Donar played ZZ Leiden once again and narrowly lost a decisive Game 5, therefore finishing second in last season’s playoffs.

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our season opener against the Cheshire Phoenix!

Get tickets to our preseason home opener against USA Select here!

LRF Expand Positive Futures Project

In late 2022, we partnered with Leicestershire Police to launch our Positive Futures project, funded by Street Games. Positive Futures is our latest project aimed at reaching young people who are at risk of involvement with antisocial behaviour, crime, and violence. Since January, more than 30 youngsters from St Andrews Play Association (SAPA) (a youth club based at Walnut Street, Leicester) have been taking part in the programme led by local neighbourhood officer’s PC Millie Barton and PC Carley Johnson, Leicester Riders player Mo Walker and staff from the Leicester Riders Foundation.  

Before the launch of this programme, the core group of individuals were committing offences and causing antisocial behaviour in Leicester City Centre and the St Andrews Centre of the City. One individual had been involved with 10 incidents that had been reported to the police, including offences of assault, public disorder, arson, and possession of an imitation firearm. In the 7 months since the implementation of the diversionary activities, this group of individuals have now only been involved in 3 low level incidents, this is a drop of 77%.  

By engaging with the young people at SAPA through our Positive Futures initiative, we have also encouraged them to participate in a variety of our other events, such as our community sessions and camps, where they have been recognised with awards such as Camper of the Week.  

“We are proud to be working with the Leicester Riders Foundation on the Positive Futures programme, a project set up to work with young people who have been involved in antisocial behaviour, criminal behaviour or at risk of committing crime and ASB. The Leicester Riders Foundation have been instrumental in providing a support network alongside engagement, interventions, and educational inputs to assist in reducing criminal activity in the Leicester area.” – PC Mille Barton, Leicestershire Police.

The Leicester Riders Foundation was awarded the Problem Management Award from Leicestershire Police in April this year, in recognition of our efforts on the Positive Futures Programme. Winning this award is a testament to our ongoing efforts to better our community and provide positive role models for young people. This is an incredible achievement for our Foundation as we have witnessed the progression and growth of the young people across a number of our provisions, particularly Positive Futures.  

In July we launched our Positive Futures project in South Wigston in partnership with Oadby and Wigston Council allowing us to work with a new group of young people and continue to expand the programme across Leicester and Leicestershire.

“The programme has enabled us to build strong relationships with young people from the Oadby and Wigston area throughout the summer holidays, seeing a group of regular attendees. Here at LRF we are excited to take the next steps in our delivery and build on these initial foundations and take the programme to the next level over the next eight weeks, where the young people will take part in a variety of workshops around hygiene, mental health and Respect. Partnership working is key, and we thank the team at Oadby and Wiston council for developing this partnership with us here at LRF.” – Laura Shephard, General Manager.

To refer a young person onto the programme email please email [email protected] for more information.

Leicester Riders renew partnership with Everything Branded

Leicester Riders are excited to renew our relationship with our merchandise partner, Everything Branded.

Everything Branded is the UK’s number one for promotional products, merchandise and gifts. Their staff and management team have over 12 years of experience and insight into the worldwide promotional products industry. 

Our partnership last season included sponsoring the Leicester Riders pop-up shop in John Lewis.

James Kyte, Commercial Director of Everything Branded, commented: “Here at Everything Branded, we’re delighted to have renewed our partnership with Leicester Riders for a second season. 

“As the UK’s leading supplier of branded products, it’s hugely important to us that we partner with organisations who share our passion for innovation and excellence, and it was clear after our inaugural season with Riders that we’ve sponsored a team who clearly embrace these values both on and off the court.

“The hospitality, game night experience and quality of matches have all been fantastic highlights for our team and customers, and we look forward to continuing to supply game night giveaways and an extended range of retail products throughout the 2023/24 season. 

“Also – be sure to keep an eye out for some exciting surprises during the mid-game entertainment!”

For more information on partnering with the Riders, please contact [email protected], or read more about our sponsorship opportunities here!

Report: Riders take Red vs Purple win

Leicester Riders took a 99-64 win in the annual pre-season “Red vs Purple” fixture against Loughborough University.

Miryne Thomas led the Riders with 17 points, in a game, backed up by 15 from Jaren Holmes. 

After a tightly contested opening exchange, with Loughbroough’s Justin Hedley’s five quick points making it 10-8 to the hosts after five minutes, the Riders seized control of the game. 

Miryne Thomas made an immediate impression on the Riders faithful with eight first-quarter points, and a highlight throw down from Jaren Holmes’ lob pass. 

Leicester leapt out to a double-digit advantage early, with Mo Walker’s five-point burst ending the period 26-14 in the Riders’ favour. 

Thomas continued to dominate in the second, rising high to swat away Hedley’s layup attempt. He was backed by Kimbal Mackenzie, who came alive in the quarter for eight points. 

Loughborough kept within touching distance for stages, and Elija Bailey entered halftime the game’s leading scorer with 11 points and five rebounds. 

But Riders big man Sam Idowu stretched the lead to close the half with a three, followed up with a layup and a block of the next possessions. The teams entered the half with Leicester up 49-32. 

Mackenzie and Idowu saw the Riders build on their advantage in the third, finishing as the Riders’ two leading scorers by the end of the period. On the other end, Bailey found the hoop consistently to rack up 16 with a quarter to play. 

Leicester won the third quarter 28-16, taking a 77-48 lead into the final period. 

The fourth was a case of seeing the game out, which the Riders did professionally. They kept their 30-point lead until the final buzzer, taking home a win from their first preseason game. 

Hadley joins Loughborough Basketball

Loughborough Basketball is delighted to welcome 6’3” guard Dan Hadley ahead of the 2023/24 season.

Hadley committed to Loughborough from the Charnwood Academy, where he’s suited up since 2020. The 19-year-old has been a part of the Riders pathway system since 2014, averaging 12.5 points per game in the EABL, and 12.7 points per game in NBL DII last season. 

“I’m really looking forward to studying at Loughborough University, and getting on the court with the team this season,” said Hadley. 

“I’m hoping to take my skills to the next level with the help of this elite programme.” 

Head Coach Will Maynard added: “It’s great to see Dan’s progression over the years with the club. We are proud to keep Dan on our Riders pathway. It will be an inspiring story for all junior players within Leicester. 

“When I first saw him at the Riders all-star camp, he definitely had something about himself, and he brings that same grit and same tenacity to the court now. 

“I loved coaching Dan over our time at Charnwood together, and if there is one player who is trying to outwork everyone else in practice, it’s Dan. I’m excited to see what he can bring to the group, but from what I’ve already seen over the summer, he will bring competitiveness to the team, which will help us in the long run. 

“He joins us for four years at the University, and hopefully, he will continue to prove himself like he has done throughout his time with the programme.”

Riders partner with Champions (UK)

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce Champions (UK) plc as an official partner. 

Champions is a strategy-led growth and implementation partner for businesses with market-leading expertise across strategy, digital, communications, creative and talent.

With a team of over 75 dedicated specialists, they provide market-leading expertise to drive businesses forward. 

After more than 20 years of adding capability and driving innovation, Champions are one of the UK’s leading full-service business consultancies. 

Champions CEO John Hayes commented: “I’m truly proud and excited to begin this partnership with Leicester Riders. 

“The Midland has been the home of our business for the last 20 years, and I’m always keen to support the winners in the region which bring more attention to this fantastic area. 

“I’ve been following the incredible success of the team closely for the last 10 years. After watching the Riders secure back-to-back championship glory after lifting the trophy in 2022, I knew it was time to get involved with them 

“Like Champions, Leicester Riders are winners, which is everything we embody here. This is the perfect fit, and I’m eager to see the continued success of the Riders.”

For more information on partnering with the Riders, please contact [email protected], or read more about our sponsorship opportunities here!

Wylie joins Loughborough Basketball

Loughborough Basketball are delighted to welcome Seth Wylie ahead of the 2023/24 season.

The 19-year-old 6’2” guard, arrives at Loughborough after spending the last three seasons with Oaklands Wolves EABL and NBL sides, competing in Division One last season. In 2022, he helped Oaklands to the EABL Southern Conference title and was named Student-Athlete of the Year.

Wylie will combine playing with his studies at Loughborough University, starting a foundation year in Sport. 

He will suit up for Loughborough’s NBL D1 and BUCS teams. 

Wylie commented: “I’m really looking forward to a new challenge. I can already tell that the experience is going to push me! I’m ready to work, and everything I get during my time here will be a blessing.” 

Head Coach Will Maynard commented: “Seth joins us from Oakland, where he had 3 good years within their academy set-up. Speaking with Seth’s previous coaches was a no-brainer that we wanted him to be part of the Loughborough programme. 

“His attitude to the game is what really stood out for us. He has a great mindset to the game so really looking forward to having him with the group and looking forward to his progression over the next four years.”

Riders partner with 1284

Leicester Riders are thrilled to partner with 1284 for the 2023/24 season. 

1284 is a chartered PR agency providing agile corporate communications to innovative public and private organisations in the East Midlands.

The B2B PR agency has deepened its relationship with the Riders and will assist with our business-to-business communications for 2023/24.

In addition, 1284 will sponsor Riders forward Victor Ndoukou for the upcoming season.

George Oliver, founder and director of 1284, commented: “We first went along to the Riders’ hospitality towards the end of the 2021-22 season as guests of one of the other businesses.

“We loved the gameday experience and what the club is about – both on the court and off it through the work being done in our communities through the Leicester Riders Foundation.

“1284 works a lot with social entrepreneurs and innovators we could see those characteristics running through the club.

“The success on the court is used to feed the work done by the Foundation and vice versa. It doesn’t stand still.

“In the middle, there’s this tremendous asset, in the shape of the Arena, which is increasingly being used for world-class events including top-flight snooker and darts.

“We think there’s still much potential for growth here – and that there’s real ambition at the club to push forward and deliver it.

“That’s why we are expanding our investment in sponsorship year-on-year – and why we are also so pleased to now be working with the Riders on their B2B comms for 2023-24.”

For more information on partnering with the Riders, please contact [email protected], or read more about our sponsorship opportunities here!

Former Rider JR Blount on Riders signing Jaren Holmes

Jaren Holmes signed to the team this season, but already has Riders connections. He played his final college season at Iowa State University, under assistant coach and former Rider JR Blount. 

Blount played for Leicester in the 2010/11 season and made an immediate impact. His 20.6 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.9 left an impression on the Riders faithful, and he has since established himself as one of the top college coaching prospects in the NCAA. 

The 36-year-old helped Holmes through the recruitment process following his college career but left a message for him before he departed for Leicester: 

“I told him he won’t top the scoring numbers I had, but he already knows that!” 

It would take a special season for anybody to better those numbers, but a talent like Holmes is capable of it.  He was named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team and received an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, playing in the toughest conference the NCAA has to offer. 

Blount has nothing but praise for his game. 

“He can play multiple positions, and he’s strong with deceptively good athleticism. He can get to the free throw line and play through physicality, which is something that’s really important in the pros. 

“Jaren can defend the perimeter, and he’ll bring toughness. He was the personality of our team at Iowa State. He brings the energy, brings the fight: he’s a throw-the-first-punch kind of guy.”

However, what leaves the biggest impression on those who have known Jaren is his persona off the court. 

“He’s a great man, very outgoing, and the fans will love him. He’s the ultimate teammate, and he’ll do anything to win. Jaren isn’t looking for stats and accolades, even though those things come to him. 

“He’s someone my wife and kids like and ask about. He’s a genuine person, and a lot of that comes from his mother. I’m sure she’ll be in Leicester in Riders gear because she didn’t miss many games at Iowa State!”

Blount credits Holmes’ work ethic for getting him where he is today. He worked his way from Ranger Junior College to the Big 12 conference through grit and determination. 

“Jaren was one of our hardest workers. We started practice at seven in the morning every day, but he was always there at 5 am to get a workout in before and stayed afterwards too.

“He was in the gym all day, and you saw that come to fruition with us. The way he works on his craft, you saw him develop throughout the year until he’s hitting big shots in the NCAA tournament. He was huge in the biggest games.”

Holmes worked with a professional mentality as an amateur, so Blount says he is well-prepared for life in the pros. 

“The transition will be easy for him. I told him just to do what he does. He has the mindset and mentality to come in and work hard. His transition will be seamless. He’s going to set the tone based on his work ethic, and he’s a big-time talker and communicator on the floor. He’s someone the guys want to work with and be around.”

Holmes and Blount grew close during their time together at Iowa State. Helping him through the process of finding a pro team, Blount knew where would be the best fit for him—his time with the Riders told him everything he needed to know. 

“I told him it was a great experience for me. The fanbase was great, I still have great memories of playing in Loughborough. Rob’s commitment to development and making it a great experience, and having the Leicester community around you is something that’s really exciting. He’s going somewhere where he’ll be set up for success.

“It’s a great platform. The Riders’ goal is to get to the top, so Jaren’s goal has not changed from college. He’s trying to win trophies, and the individual accolades will come with it. It’s a great place for him to start. There’s a tradition of success, and he wanted to go to a winning programme, so this is the perfect place for him.

In addition to the organisation, Blount believes Rob Paternostro is the best coach for his development. 

“Rob’s going to instil confidence in you and allow you to play through your mistakes. Jaren will grow through that, and Rob can coach point guard mechanisms that he knows from his playing days. 

“Rob will help him with decision-making: learning when to get teammates involved and when to be aggressive. He is going to allow you to play with freedom, and you don’t really get that in college with how the defence is played, and scouting reports and schemes. Rob will have a major impact on how his game transforms.”

From their initial conversation, Holmes and Coach Paternostro are already on the same page.  

“I was able to connect Jaren and Rob, and it seemed like they hit off right away! After a few days, he was a Rider!”

All that’s left now is for Holmes to hit the court. 

“I just told him to embrace it,” said Blount, speaking about his conversation with Holmes before his departure to Leicester. 

“It’s an opportunity he’s worked his whole life for. I know who he is. He’s not going to take this for granted. He’s ready to go, itching to get there, and the Riders won’t be disappointed!”

Photo credit: Iowa State Cyclones

Want to see Jaren in action?

Get tickets to our season opener against the Cheshire Phoenix!

Get tickets to our preseason opener against Loughborough University here!

Get tickets to our preseason home opener against USA Select here!

Academy Return for pre-season

This week the Leicester Riders Foundation Academy returned for pre-season as our teams begin to prepare for the 2023/34 season. Over the course of the week we’ve welcomed over 100 players from our 13 teams to the Morningside Arena as the teams come together for the first time since squads were selected.

“It’s been great to have over 100 of our players come together at the Morningside Arena for pre-season this week. It has been the first opportunity for our teams to practice together since our trials so it has been a fantastic opportunity for the players to get to know each other and work with the coaches ahead of the new season” – Ricardo Silva, Academy Lead.

This summer we have added Sports Rehabilitation to the programme for our premier teams, this week the players have gone through pre-season testing alongside their on court workouts.

“This week we’ve been putting the players through some pre-season testing, they’ve done vertical jumps tests, full court sprints and T tests. I’m going to analyse the results over the next week and put together some performance enhancement programmes and hopefully we can continue to push the players and improve their performance.” – Neve Considine, Sports Therapist.

The teams will continue their preparations over the coming weeks with pre-season fixtures getting underway in September before the National League season begins in October.

Riders sign O’Brien

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of Taylor O’Brien. 

The American guard signs from Flordia State, having averaged 6.7 points for the Seminoles last season. 

She spent four years prior at Bucknell University, leading the team in scoring for two straight seasons and earning a place on the All-Patriot League First team for 2021 and 2022. The Pennsylvania native averaged 16.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in her final season with the Bison. 

O’Brien also owns Bucknell’s record in the outdoor high jump and was named to the second Team All-Patriot League with a runner-up finish in the 2019 Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

“I am so excited to be a part of this organisation, and have the experience of playing professionally for the first time,” said O’Brien. 

“I am grateful to be on the Riders, and I’m looking forward to seeing what our team can do this year. I can’t wait to get back on the court!”

Head Coach Ben Stanley added: “We’re thrilled to have Taylor in Riders Red this season. 

“We were extremely impressed by her scoring ability both at Bucknell and Floria State, and we’re excited that there is a lot that she continues to add to her game. I’m anticipating her developing a lot with us this year.”

Washington returns for 2023/24

Leicester Riders are thrilled to welcome the return of Conner Washington to their 2023/24 roster. 

The Riders veteran holds 10 years of experience in the East Midlands and has 14 pieces of silverware to his name. Washington has been an integral part of the Riders’ successes over the past decade.

Conner has been featured on the British Basketball League all-British team on four occasions and the all-defensive team three times. He is a dangerous perimeter threat, averaging over 40% from three in three separate seasons. 

Washington is respected around the League as an intelligent veteran, playing to an elite standard on both ends. 

Playing in his entering his 13th year as a pro, Conner brings a wealth of experience to the Riders roster. His championship pedigree is a vital component of Rob Paternostro’s side.

“I’m excited to be back on the court, and feeling free,” commented Washington. 

“It feels great to be back out there again. This season is going to be a memorable one!”

Want to see Conner in action?

Get tickets to our season opener against the Cheshire Phoenix!

Get tickets to our preseason opener against Loughborough University here!

Get tickets to our preseason home opener against USA Select here!

Development Days are back!

Last Season the Leicester Riders Foundation hosted 7 Development Days welcoming 287 children to the Morningside Arena prior to a Riders’ BBL home games. The 2023/24 BBL season gets underway in mid September and we are looking for groups, schools and parties to join us for our Development Day experience.

Development Days are an opportunity for large groups within the community, including schools to join our team of coaches for a 90-minute coaching clinic on court to enhance their skills, focusing on three different areas: passing, shooting, and dribbling. 

Food is provided to the participants following the coaching session, all enjoyed whilst watching the Leicester Riders Professional Team warm up. Finally, as part of the Development Day, participants receive a ticket to watch the Riders in action against another BBL team.   

If you would like to book your group onto one of our 2023/24 season Development Days CLICK HERE to express your interest.

Bowman’s back!

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the retention of Blake Bowman for the 2023/24 season. 

The high-flying Brit returns for a second season after making his pro debut last year. Bowman, a Derby native, lit up the league with electric dunks and highlight plays, quickly becoming a favourite among the Riders faithful. 

He is touted as one of British basketball’s exciting young talents, taking significant leaps every single year. 

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

Bowman continues his Riders family legacy while completing his studies at Loughborough University. 

The club would like to thank the university for their support. 

“I’m super excited to get back out there,” said Bowman. “I’m ready to compete with a group of new guys, and a few returners.”

“I’m hungry to win, after making two finals last season. That lit a fire in me to compete at the highest level.

“With this new young group, I’m ready to fly up and down the court. I’m excited to enter this new era with the team.”

Want to see Blake in action?

Get tickets to our preseason opener against Loughborough University here!

Get tickets to our preseason home opener against USA Select here!

Sponsor Spotlight: Red Monkey Play

Leicester Riders are thrilled to continue their relationship with Red Monkey Play for the 2023/24 season. 

Red Monkey Play are one of the UK’s leading wooden outdoor play equipment and playground designers for primary schools and nurseries.

The bespoke school playground equipment service offers its expertise with free design and consultancy.

The Leicester-based business creates unique playgrounds for schools and nurseries with excellent design, perfect for any play and learning areas, and children of all ages and abilities.

Red Monkey Play will sponsor Riders forward TJ Lall for the upcoming year.

Simon Winfield, managing director of Red Monkey Play and chairman of the Leicester Riders Foundation, commented: “As proud sponsors of the Leicester Riders Basketball team, Red Monkey Play is thrilled to extend our support for yet another year.

“Our enduring partnership with the Riders family has proven to be immensely rewarding, fuelling our growth and success over the years of collaboration.

“Beyond the courts, what truly inspires us is the remarkable impact that the Riders Basketball and Foundation have on the local community and young people.

“Being able to contribute to such meaningful initiatives aligns with our core values, as we firmly believe in the significance of giving back to the community. 

“As we eagerly anticipate the upcoming 23/24 season, we wish the team the very best of luck in their endeavours. Together, we will continue to make a positive difference and build a brighter future for the local community.” 

For more information on partnering with the Riders, please contact [email protected], or read more about our sponsorship opportunities here!

Jaren Holmes: Road to the Riders

Sport is in Jaren Holmes’ blood. He and his brother were raised with it, and now, they make careers from it. His brother, William, was drafted to the Los Angeles Angels in the MLB, and Jaren has signed his first professional contract with the Leicester Riders. 

“I was raised by a single mother, and she always put sports in our hearts,” said Holmes, reflecting on his journey. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve always had a ball in my hand.

“I played baseball too until my freshman year in high school. But when I had to choose, I couldn’t live down the fact my little brother was better than me at baseball! So basketball was my choice.

“I’ve always had a great IQ, my grandfather taught me how to play the right way: making the right play, not being selfish, it’s all about winning. That’s how I was raised.

“Now, when I step on the basketball court, it always feels like home. It feels like I’m supposed to be there. It’s peaceful.”

It wasn’t a straight road to the best conference in college basketball, where Holmes completed his final college year. It all started at Ranger Junior College, under legendary coach Billy Gillispie. 

There, he helped them to a berth in the NJCAA Division I championship game, starting all 33 games as a freshman, averaging 12.0 points and winning 31 games. 

“Coach G brings a lot out of you as a player. He has a mentality of everyone leaning on each other to get through all his ways of coaching. Playing for him was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. 

“I believe that my body changed in JUCO playing Coach G. The workouts he had us doing were second to none, and prepared my body for D1. I give all the credit to him.

“He moulded me into the player I am today, and I take my body very seriously now.”

And at Ranger, Jaren made lifelong friends. Most notably with Caleb Asberry, who will suit up with him on the Riders roster this season. 

“Caleb and I have been really good friends for about five to six years. We started from the bottom at Ranger, and we had to endure a lot of trials and tribulations to get where we are today. 

“I hold Caleb and his family close to my heart, and we’ve stayed in close contact. Even our mums are close! It’s come full circle now we can play together again, and I’m super excited about that.

“There was nothing to do at Ranger; the town is literally a petrol station and a Subway. We only had each other, and we became brothers. It’s good to be back with my brother again.”

His work at Junior College brought him to the big leagues. St Bonaventure gave him a shot in the NCAA D1, and he took it, proving he belonged at the top level of collegiate sport. 

He scored over 1000 points for the Bonnies, putting up 13.5 points, five rebounds and 3.6 assists in the 2021/22 season. He was named to the Atlantic 10 Second Team All-Conference in 2021. 

Holmes transferred to Iowa State in the Big 12 conference for his final year of college and continued to impress. He was named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team and received an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention, playing under Assistant Coach and former Rider JR Blount. 

 “It was amazing to get to D1—a breath of fresh air. I worked so hard to get to that level: through every no, the doubts and people saying I couldn’t play at that level. After all of the hard work, faith, prayer and sacrifice, it was something I could never imagine. I couldn’t believe it.

“I always thought I was supposed to be at that level. I just had to change my body, become more athletic and become a better ball player. I proved that this year. 

“I was able to play in the best conference in the country and not miss a step. I’m tremendously thankful to St Bonaventure and Iowa State for the opportunities they gave me. They both gave me a shot when a whole lot of other teams didn’t.” 

But even after all the rejection and upset that led him to this point, Holmes wouldn’t change a thing. 

“I’d go through every situation, every heartbreak that I had to endure on this journey to make it here to the Riders. It’s made me a better basketball player and a better person. It helped me understand that life is hard, and you’re going to be disappointed throughout it. 

“It doesn’t matter where you want to go, or what you think you deserve. Timing is everything, and I’m a firm believer in waiting for your time and being ready when your name is called. Keep your head down, work and believe in yourself. 

“Keep God first, and no matter the situation, the upset and the heartbreak, I keep my head high and move two feet at a time.”

His assistant coach at Iowa State, Blount, helped recruit Holmes to Leicester. Blount played for the Riders in the 2010/11 season, averaging 20.6 points under Head Coach Rob Paternostro. 

“JR always talked about his time in Leicester and said it was amazing. He said Coach Rob believed in him and trusted him, and let him play his game. When Coach JR brought this opportunity to me, I would never pass it down.

“I had a great conversation with Coach Rob. We talked everything through and I liked what he said: the way he talked about my game, and how he wanted me to play my role. 

“The Riders are the best fit for me because of how they carry their organisation. It’s a well-run club, with a tremendous fanbase.”

Holmes is now ready to build on the success the Riders have had over the last decade. 

“I love basketball, and I love to win. And that’s what the Riders do. They win. 

“I’m excited and happy to be a part of this great organisation. I can’t wait to see the fans go wild. I’ve watched a couple of games already and the fanbase is crazy! I’m super excited.

“I’ll bring a winning attitude and work ethic, and excitement, laughter and intensity. I’m also committed to working hard in the community of Leicester. 

“It’ll be an honour to meet the fans in Leicester. I’m ready to get to work!”

LRF continue to provide “All Girls” opportunities

The Leicester Riders Foundation have continued to provide opportunities for young girls and women to get involved in the game of basketball over the past year.

This summer we have hosted two All Girls Summer Hoops sessions at Broughton Astley Leisure Centre allowing girls aged 8-16 who have both played previously and never before to come along and play. Broughton Astley is also an area we haven’t previously delivered sessions in so it as been fantastic to continue to expand our reach within the Leicestershire Community.

“I’ve enjoyed learning how to play basketball over the last 2 weeks. I haven’t played basketball much before so to be coached properly has been a great experience.” – Orla, All Girls Summer Hoops Participant.

“It’s been great to deliver our All Girls Summer Hoops sessions at Broughton Astley Leisure Centre. It’s been fantastic to welcome around 60 girls over the past 2 weeks and to engage in a new area within Leicestershire” – Neve Considine, Leicester Riders Foundation Community Coach.

We plan on having many more All Girls events and sessions over the coming season, keep and eye on our website and social media channels (@ridersbf) for more information.

Leicester Riders launch rebrand

Leicester Riders are excited to present their rebrand ahead of the 2023/24 season, ushering in a new era of Riders basketball. 

The Riders are proud to have innovatively evolved throughout their 56-year history as Britain’s oldest professional basketball club. This rebrand allows the club to continue modernising, 10 years on from the launch of its previous logo.

This marks a fresh start for the club, with a revitalised roster of young talent ready to take the reins and add to the Riders’ rich history. 

The updated brand incorporates every facet of the club, from its community work with the Leicester Riders Foundation, its player pathways and development through Charnwood College and Loughborough University, to the first teams in the BBL and WBBL.

The club would like to thank its partners at 5or6 for their support during the rebrand.

Leicester Riders managing director Russell Levenston commented: “It’s been 10 years since the previous logo was created, as we thought it was the fitting moment for us to re-evaluate the Riders brand.

“Looking at how branding has changed over the past decade, we thought it was the right time to refresh ours.

“Thank you for all the work 5or6 has put into supporting the club, both with the rebranding and their continued support through the years. We have worked closely with the team there since they designed the last logo in 2013.

“What is especially pleasing is the new brand’s versatility, and how it can incorporate everything we are about, from our pathways and community work through to the pros.

“These are exciting times for the club, and we look forward to seeing how the brand grows over the coming years. We hope everyone loves it as much as we do!”

Xavier Pinson: Top Performances

Riders’ new man Xavier Pinson is entering his first professional season following a five-year college career.

The 6’2” guard from Chicago made a name for himself as an elite scorer, facilitator and teammate during his time in the NCAA D1.

Get to know him with some of his best showings. 

A career high in points wins overtime thriller

In his final year in Missouri, Pinson exploded for 36 points for his career-high in scoring. 

The Tigers needed every one of his points to take a 102-98 win against TCU, as Pinson three point eruption took the game over. 

Missouri was down eight with two minutes left, but he led a comeback with a deep shooting, making a four-point play to cut it to four, then tying the game with a clutch three with four seconds left, sending it to overtime. 

In OT, yet another three-point bomb connected to take the lead with a minute and a half remaining, which the Tigers would see out. 

In the game, Pinson hit a career-high eight threes; the Horned Frogs with no answer to Pinson’s hot hand. 

They attempted to stem the bleeding by sending Pinson to the foul line, but he cooly knocked down eight of his nine free throws, including at the end of OT to seal it. 

The game was one of his five 20-point scoring explosions in his junior year, and his last season at Missouri. 

Winning, whatever it takes

Pinson kicked off his season at LSU on a 12-game winning streak, and winning 14 of his first 15 games. 

During that time, he was recognised as a player who would do anything to contribute to winning, no matter how that manifested on the stat sheet. 

Nothing demonstrates that more than Pinson’s seven-steal game, in a 75-61 win against the undefeated Wake Forest.  

Pinson had nine points on the game, six of them from the free throw line, he remained engaged and intense throughout. His defensive efforts allowed LSU to get out on the run, in a game where buckets were tough for both sides. 

Pinson found a way to impact the proceedings and proved the difference between the sides without lighting up the points column as he so often does. 

Pinson’s play for LSU helped set a new culture, centred around suffocating defence leading to transition points. 

Hot start for New Mexico’s new man

Transferring to New Mexico State for his final year of eligibility, Pisnon went off for two 20-point games in his first three outings. The highest scoring of the pair was a 25-point game, another three-point explosion for the 23 -year-old. 

He drained six threes in a 90-77 win against the University of San Diego. Pinson shot 80% from the field and dished eight assists for the Aggies, dominating all areas of the game. 

His explosiveness and quickness made a quick impression on his new team, as he led the game to take New Mexico State’s second win of the season. 

Pinson went on to put up five 20-point outings on the season, leading the Aggies in points and assists per game.  

Carrying the scoring load

Pinson put Missouri on his back for two straight games in his sophomore year, averaging 30 points to lead his team to consecutive wins. 

He followed up a 28-point outing against Auburn, where he went 10-12 from the field and 6-8 from the free throw line, with a 32-point explosion against Ole Miss. 

Pinson went 4-4 from three and 10-11 from the foul line in a three-point win, where the Tigers needed every point he put up. He went off for 24 in the second half alone. 

He hit six free throws in the final minute, and eight of Missouri’s last 12 points to seal the victory, coming up clutch in just his second college year. 

The outings broke Pinson’s career-highs in back-to-back games, as he demonstrated his ability to take over proceedings and lead a team to wins. 

Freshman’s first 20 point game

Pinson had consistent success against Ole Miss, putting up his first 20-point game against them in his freshman year. 

He had 20 points and six assists, pushing the Rebels all the way in a six-point loss. He led the team with his points tally, going 8-12 from the field in just 29 minutes of play. 

Missouri entered the game as underdogs, against an Ole Miss side with their eyes set firmly on the NCAA Tournament. 

The game was tied with 3:35 to play, but their opponents saw the best of the late momentum to avoid the upset. Pinson impressed on all fronts in the game, setting him up for three successful seasons in Missouri. 

Want to see Xavier in action?

Get tickets to our preseason opener against Loughborough University here!

Get tickets to our preseason home opener against USA Select here!

Image credit: Montreal Alliance

Sponsor Spotlight: 360 Autoleasing

Leicester Riders are thrilled to continue their long-standing relationship with 360 Autoleasing

360 Autoleasing is an independent vehicle finance, contract hire and car leasing broker. 

They specialise in sourcing the best car contract hire and van leasing special offers for both businesses and individuals from a range of automotive funders and dealers. 

360 Autoleasing’s support of the Riders includes the sponsorship of Riders’ guard Caleb Asberry for the 2023/24 season. 

Ian Hallam, regional sales director of 360 Autoleasing, commented: “Being part of the Riders family means so much to us and our team, we are really excited for the forthcoming season.

“Aligning our business with a local sports team helps us to demonstrate our commitment to the wider community.

“What the club offers on a grassroots level through its foundation is inspirational, and we would recommend any businesses to consider their support.”

For more information on how to partner with the Riders, please contact [email protected], or read more about our sponsorship opportunities here!

LRF & Menphys continue to develop their partnership

In 2020, our Foundation were incredibly fortunate to secure funding for 3 years from Children in Need that has enabled us to develop our partnership with Menphys. We currently deliver weekly inclusive sessions at the Menphys hub in Wigston for those children with special educational needs. These sessions are taught by our community coaches in an environment that allows the children to express themselves freely. 

Following the success of these sessions over the last couple of years, this has resulted in Menphys being integrated into 5 of our Community Camps, whereby the Foundation hosts basketball camps throughout school holiday periods, delivering key coaching and mentoring sessions. 

At our Foundation Awards Night in May, we were incredibly pleased to present Menphys with our Community Organisation of the Year award. By including basketball into their programmes, embracing our partnership and using basketball as part of their delivery model, Menphys has positively contributed to the local community and helped to proactively increase opportunities for young people with special educational needs. 

In June 2023, we are expanding our work with Menphys to promote more inclusive sessions across Leicestershire, giving more children the opportunity to get active and participate in basketball sessions. Throughout the summer, Menphys Together will reach children in areas across Leicestershire, including Melton Mowbray, Wigston and Hinckley and offer sessions at our Morningside Arena. We aim to get more children involved in sessions that teach them the fundamental basketball skills, encourage teamwork and most importantly to discover the benefits of basketball and to have fun whilst learning. Partnering with Menphys has given us the opportunity to work towards our goal of increasing the possibilities for young people with disabilities in our communities.  

“The partnership Menphys has built with the Leicester Riders Foundation has gone from strength to strength. More young people with Special  Educational Needs and Disabilities now have access to basketball, positively impacting their engagement with sport. Access to basketball is helping them to grow their confidence, Independence and build lifelong friendships, It is great to see our young people flourish.It is also fantastic to be working with a forward thinking, inclusive and engaged organisation that is working with us to make sport for all.” – Emma Sharpe, Head of Services at Menphys.

Riders sponsored by Better-IT

Leicester Riders are delighted to welcome Better IT as a sponsor for the 2023/24 season!

Better-IT is a premium supplier of IT services and IT Support for businesses that want their technology to be world-class and ultra-secure.

Better IT will sponsor Riders forward Braelen Bridges for the upcoming season.

David Nicholls, Managing Director of Better IT, commented: “We are delighted to join forces with the incredible Leicester Riders, supporting our local community and being a part of something truly special.

“As a local business, we believe in the power of supporting our community and investing in its growth.

“Joining hands and sponsoring the Leicester Riders allows us to give back and celebrate the amazing talents right here in our city.”

For more information on how to partner with the Riders, please contact [email protected], or read more about our sponsorship opportunities here!

Riders through the Decades

Leicester Riders, Britain’s oldest professional basketball club, was founded in 1967. Our rich history spans five arenas, 19 pieces of silverware and three name changes.

As founding members of the National Basketball League in 1972 and the British Basketball League in 1987, we have forever been staples of the sport in the UK.

Take a look back in time at the club through the decades.

1960sLoughborough All-Stars

The club, originally known as the Loughborough All-Stars, was founded by students and lecturers at Loughborough University on 26 April 1967.

Vaughan Thomas, a Wales and GB international, created a team that included the best players the East Midlands had to offer.

Pictured is the squad from the 1968/69 season, following a win against the Edinburgh Hornets.

Peter Shaw (#6), was a founding member who played seven seasons with the team.

Shaw became the club’s coach in 1974, and was a fixture of the sidelines for much of the next 15 years.

1970s- National Basketball League founded

1972 marked the founding of the National League, of which the All-Stars were among six competing teams.

Pictured is the Loughborough squad from the 1972/72 season, the first year of the NBL.

The All-Stars finished with a 5-5 record that season, led by Riders legend Carl Olsson’s (#13) 19 points per game.

After a half-decade of the National League, the All-Stars departed in 1979 to become a non-league club.

1980s- Riders are born

Between 1979 and 1981 the club won the Founders Cup (the top honour for a non-league side) during both their seasons out of the top flight.

1981 marked the year that the club moved from Loughborough to its current home, Leicester, as they reentered the National League in Division Two.

The move was backed by Leicester City Council and Leicester City Bus, hence the change in name to “Riders”.

Coached by Shaw, the Riders played their games at the newly refurbished Granby Halls, until its closure in 2000.

The side made light work of Division Two, winning the league undefeated and collecting the National Trophy.

They also tasted their first major final in the mid-80s, but fell to the dominant Solent Stars.

1990s- National Cup Final

Image credit: Mansoor Ahmed

Near the start of the 90s, the Riders made the second National Cup Final of their then 24-year history.

The competition has run since 1936, and this iteration saw the Riders take on the Sunderland Saints at the London Arena.

The Riders lost 88-81, led by Gene Waldron’s 26-point effort, but returned a decade later to win the Cup against the Greater London Leopards in an 84-82 thriller.  

They would have to wait a decade to return to the big stage.

2000s- Riders’ first BBL silverware

The Riders kicked off the 2000s with a bang.

They celebrated their move back to Loughborough, this time to the Sir David Wallace Centre, by filling the trophy cabinet immediately.

With their 2001 NTL Cup and BBL Playoff win, they took home their first pieces of British Basketball League silverware, led by legendary Head Coach Billy Mims.

It all started in the Cup Final, where the Riders broke their 30-year duck in major competitions. Their 84-82 win against London was led by MVP Ralph Blalock, who scored 26 in the game.

To end the famous 2000/01 season, the Riders came through to win the BBL Playoffs as the 8-seed, beating the Sheffield Sharks at Wembley Arena (pictured).

Blalock, again, led all scorers with 25, capping off a Cinderella story.

“The Riders were written off as no-hopers at the start of the season, but under the stewardship of former London Leopards head coach Billy Mims, the unfashionable Midlands outfit became a revelation.”

Daniel Routledge

2010s- Dynastic decade

It was over a decade-long wait for the Riders to lift their next trophy, but good things come in threes!

Led by Head Coach Rob Paternostro, now the most decorated coach in BBL history, the Riders were crowned treble winners, winning the 2013 BBL Cup, BBL Championship and BBL Playoffs (pictured).

The Playoff Final was a 68-57 win against the Newcastle Eagles, led by Drew Sullivan’s 24-point dominant display.

The historic season kicked off a dominant Riders run, where they won 10 competitions in six years!

In 2016, they moved into their current home, the Morningside Arena, allowing the Riders to bring British basketball dominance into their own arena.

2020s- Completing a trio of trebles

Having followed up their 2013 treble with another in 2017, the Riders made it three in ten years in 2022.

After winning the league a year prior, the Riders returned with a bang to take home the BBL Cup, BBL Championship (pictured), and BBL Playoffs.

With a 25-2 record, they dominated the league, before beating the London Lions in the Playoff final 78-75, led by back-to-back BBL MVP Geno Crandall’s 23 points, to cap off another historic year.

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our home preseason opener against USA Select!

LRF continue to grow Development Days

Throughout the 2022/23 basketball season, we have hosted 7 Development Days at the Morningside Arena prior to a Riders BBL home game. This is an opportunity for large groups within the community, including schools to join our team of coaches for a 90-minute coaching clinic on court to enhance their skills, focusing on three different areas: passing, shooting, and dribbling.

A selection of food is provided to the participants following the coaching session, all enjoyed whilst watching the Leicester Riders Professional Team warm up. Finally, as part of the Development Day, participants receive a ticket to watch the Riders in action against another BBL team.   

Our Development Days have been a great way for us to further develop our partnerships built through in-school coaching and intervention by enabling us to bring the students to our home and experience the energy of a Riders game day.  

“To have the opportunity to work with our coaches, play on court at our arena and watch the pro team in action in such a safe yet fun environment, is such a fantastic experience for the community groups to be involved in. It’s been such a success and a pleasure to be a part of!” – Damon Taylor, Community Camp Officer. 

“I really enjoyed the development day at Leicester Riders, the drills were really fun and the coaches were really positive and supportive. It was a great way to really develop my basketball skills before watching the game. I really enjoyed watching the Riders game and it was a great experience playing on court at the Morningside Arena” – Cameron, Development Day attendee.

This season we have worked with 287 children throughout our Development Days, and this has been a great initiative to get aspiring basketballers and members of the community on court to increase sport participation and facilitate the experience of a night at the Riders. 

We hope to host even more Development Days next season, if you would like to book your group onto one of our 2023/24 season Development Days email [email protected] for more information.

International watch: Katie Januszewska to play in the European Youth Championships

Riders’ guard Katie Januszewska is set to suit up for Great Britain Under-20s in the FIBA European Youth Championships!

“KJ” was named to the 12-player roster by Head Coach Chantelle Handy, as the squad prepares to play in Division “B” on July 28.

GB will head to Craiova, Romania, to take on Germany, Ukraine and Switzerland in Group A.

The top two finishers in the group will progress to the quarter-final stage.

Schedule of play

July 28, 1:30 PM- GB vs Ukraine

July 30, 1:30 PM: GB vs Germany

August 2, 4 PM: GB vs Switzerland

Where to watch

You can watch every game on GB Basketball TV.

Sponsor Spotlight: Vertu Motors

Leicester Riders announce the continuation of their partnership with Vertu Motors and their Leicester dealership – Vertu Toyota Leicester.

The leading automotive retailer’s three-year deal with Leicester Riders, which began last season, involves supplying a fleet of Toyota Hybrid vehicles from their Leicester dealership, branding on the team’s shorts and across the Morningside Arena, plus the provision of match day advertising opportunities. 

As well as their local Vertu Toyota Leicester location, Vertu Motors has several additional dealerships in the surrounding area, including Vertu Toyota Loughborough as well as many more throughout the East Midlands area and UK.

Chris Taylor, Group Operations Director at Vertu Motors, said: “Not only are Leicester Riders the most historic professional basketball team in the UK, they are also one of the most successful. This comes from having a true commitment to providing a great environment for players and fans alike, and most importantly a commitment to community basketball and youth development in the surrounding area.

“The club is a credit to Leicester and Loughborough and has a dedicated fan base. This is something we hope to emulate locally with our recently acquired Toyota retailers in Leicester and Loughborough. 

“We are very proud to continue our partnership with the Club and look forward to another exciting season ahead.” 

Russell Levenston, Managing Director of Leicester Riders, added: “It gives us great pleasure to continue working with Vertu Motors as an Official Partner for the upcoming season. The Riders are committed to working with national brands that have a link to the local community.

“I look forward to growing our relationship on the foundations that we have built. Thank you to all the colleagues at Vertu Motors for all of their support.”

For more information on how to partner with the Riders, please contact [email protected], or read more about our sponsorship opportunities here!

Riders sign Abboud

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of 5’11” guard Shahd Abboud for the 2022/23 season.

The Israeli international joins from Maccabi Ramat Gan in the Israeli Premier Division.

She represented her country in the 2021 European Championships, and has regularly played for Israeli senior team since 2018.

In 2018, the Nazereth-native was named the first-ever Arab-Israeli captain of an Israeli Premier League team by Hapoel Petah Tikva.

In college, Abboud suited up for Northwestern State University, averaging 8.4 points per game as a junior while starting 28 games.

“I’m really thankful for the opportunity and excited to be joining the Riders,” said Abboud.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to work with Coach Stanley, getting to know my teammates and building chemistry in order to achieve our goals this season.”

“Shahd is going to be a huge credit to the programme,” said Head Coach Ben Stanley. 

“She brings a wealth of experience and determination, and she really knows how to play the right way. She’ll be a fantastic role model for our community with all she’s accomplished so far, and we’re excited to have her here.”

5 things you may not know about TJ Lall

Canadian/British forward TJ Lall has become the sixth member of our 2022/23 roster.

To help you get to know more, here are some things you may not know about our new man:

He ended a 30-year championship drought 

In his final college season, Lall led Brock University to their first OUA title since 1992. 

In front of a sold-out crowd, Lall put up a game-high 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists on the Badgers’ way to a 95-75 blowout against Queens University.

He dominated, going 11-16 from the field 4-7 from three, getting it done in all aspects of the game to bring long-awaited silverware back to his university. 

He was named MVP in college 

Lall dominated the OUA in his final college year. His 22 points and 7.9 rebounds per game earned him the honours of First Team All-Canadian, OUA West MVP and OUA West First Team All-Star. 

Not only did he lead the Badgers to their first title in three decades, Brock University also made an appearance at the U SPORTS Final 8 Tournament. 

They posted a regular-season record of 14-1 in the OUA West and won three straight playoff games to make their first appearance at the national championships since 2017-18.

He was the number one pick in the 2020 CEBL Draft

As a 23-year-old, following his college career at Carleton University, Lall was selected number one overall by the newly established Ottawa BlackJacks in the 2020 CEBL draft. 

The three-round draft saw 21 players selected from 10 universities across Canada, and Lall was deemed the best prospect of all for a bran new franchise. 

Ottawa Head Coach Taffe Charles told the Waterloo Region Record described him as “athletic”, “a really good two-way player” and ,” a very good rebounder” after their selection. 

He was a national champion boxer

Sport runs in the Lall family, as TJ’s dad was a kickboxer.

Lall took up the sport competitively until the age of 15, even winning a national championship!

Lall ultimately settled on hoops over the ring, but remains a huge boxing fan.

His favourite player was Allen Iverson

During the early 2000s, Allen Iverson made waves across the basketball landscape.

His flashy handles and elite scoring captured the imagination of Lall, who greatly admired “AI”.

Along with Tracey MacGrady and Kevin Garnett, he was one of the first to get him into the sport, kickstarting what would become his professional career.

Want to see Lall in action? Buy tickets to the Riders’ preseason home opener against USA Select!

Freeman appointed D1 women’s Head Coach

Loughborough Riders are thrilled to announce the appointment of Tor Freeman as women’s Division 1 Head Coach.

Freeman will also take the reins of the BUCS 2 programme at Loughborough University and the role of assistant to Ben Stanley for the Leicester Riders’ WBBL outfit.

He joins from the WBBL’s Oakland Wolves, where he served as Head Coach for the 2022/23 season.

The 24-year-old is one of the country’s best young coaching prospects, winning Young Coach of the Year at UK Coaching Awards in 2021. 

“The opportunity to be involved with a club as successful as the Riders is something I’m really excited about,” said Freeman. 

“I can’t wait to get started and contribute to the team at both Loughborough and Leicester. Speaking with the club, the vision they have for the women’s pathway is something that really impressed me.”

“The chance for players to progress from WEABL to D1 and finally the WBBL is something that nobody else offers.”

Managing Director Russell Levenston added: “Tor is a fantastic young coach that we’re really excited to work with. He will prove a key asset to the development of our already successful Loughborough and WBBL programmes.”

“We would like to thank Loughborough University for their ongoing support!” 

Sponsor spotlight: Torr Waterfield

Leicester Riders and Morningside Arena announce the continuation of their partnership with long-standing sponsor, Torr Waterfield.

Torr Waterfield has been a sponsor for eight seasons and have been providing the Riders and the associated companies with general financial advice, as well as their accounting and payroll services, over recent years. 

The Leicester accountants’ corporate hospitality and branding arrangements include access to a wide range of sporting and entertainment events at the Arena, and sponsorship of one our the large stands.

Mark Torr, Director and Senior Partner at Torr Waterfield, is delighted to continue working with the Riders and the Arena. 

“I first got involved with the Leicester Arena and Leicester Riders through my youngest son’s love of basketball in 2015. As a local business owner, I quickly realised the unique offering of the Leicester Riders’ hospitality being something completely different from competing sports.

“In the last few years, we have bought hundreds of guests and multiple businesses to the corporate hospitality offering at the arena. 

“The hospitality experience has significantly widened to incorporate a vast array of sporting events and entertainment, and we have been delighted to not only attend the hospitality offerings but have now entered into a long-term sponsorship agreement. 

“We as a business receive numerous positive comments about our involvement and will continue to support both Leicester Riders and the Arena in its activities. In fact, many of our guests are now sponsors and supporters. 

“More businesses and individuals need to experience what it has to offer. I’m still amazed when I ask clients to join me that they have never heard of this gem.”

For more information on how to sponsor the Riders, please contact [email protected]

Riders sign Lall

The Leicester Riders are excited to sign 6’7” forward TJ Lall to their 2023/24 roster. 

The Canadian, who holds a British passport, has played four seasons in the Canadian CEBL, most recently alongside Riders’ guard Kimbal Mackenzie for the Niagara River Lions. 

Lall played last season in the Japanese first division for Kyoto Hannaryz, putting up 6.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game.

He was selected by the Ottawa BlackJacks as the first overall pick during the 2020 CEBL Draft, where he had his first taste of professional basketball.

In college, the Ontario native won four national titles with the Carleton Ravens before transferring to Brock University for his fifth college season.

He averaged 22 points and 7.9 rebounds per game and was named First Team All-Canadian, OUA West First Team All-Star and Brock Men’s Basketball Team MVP. 

“I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to play for the Riders,” said Lall.

“I can’t wait to experience basketball in the UK and get on court to battle with the team!”

“We are thrilled to have TJ for next season,” commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro. 

“TJ is a versatile player who can make an impact on both ends of the floor and a guy who plays with the type of energy that can really impact a game. 

“He can do a variety of things: defend multiple positions, score in different ways and as shown the ability to play make for others. 

“He has been teammates with guys we know very well, and they’ve all said great things about him as a player and a teammate.” 

Want to see TJ in action?

Buy tickets to our preseason home opener against USA Select!

Photo credit: Niagara River Lions

Interested in sponsoring one of our players? Please contact [email protected]

KitKing Trophy returns

The KitKing Trophy for teams in Basketball England’s NBL Men’s Division One is set to return in September.

The competition will again be organised by NBL Division One Men’s clubs in partnership with naming rights holder Kitking.co.uk and Basketball England

It will see all 14 NBL Division One clubs, plus a pair of invited Division Two sides, competing in four regional groups of four.  

The additional Division two teams for 2023/24 are last season’s NBL Division Three playoff champions Milton Keynes Breakers, who topped a number of NBL Division One sides as part of a lengthy National Cup run a year ago, and former NBL D1 winners Manchester Magic, who were relegated from the top flight at the end of last season.

Holders Hemel Storm will defend their title. KitKing have supplied winning team wear to NGBs, professional and grassroots clubs throughout the UK, Ireland, Europe and beyond since 1992.

They are the UK’s leading teamwear specialist with 30 years’ experience across more than 25 sports, including basketball. 

KitKing.co.uk CEO Dips Patel said: “We are excited to continue our partnership with Basketball England’s NBL Division One clubs. 

“Last season’s competition was a big success and our sponsorship will further extend our help and support of the Trophy in 2022/23. 

“It’s an exciting time for the sport in the UK as basketball continues to grow. We’re pleased to be a part of that, and to be able to support Basketball England’s D1 clubs through this partnership.”

Tim Brown, former Basketball England Board member and chair of the Men’s Division One group, said: “I would like to thank KitKing.co.uk for their ongoing support as we push the competition from strength-to-strength.

“The D1 men’s clubs are continuing to grow and move the league forward as a group with Basketball England’s support, making this an exciting time for both the sport and the Trophy itself.” 

The group stages of the competition will be played from 16 September through to 24 September, with the 16 contenders split into four groups of four teams.

The games will provide a curtain raiser to the Men’s NBL Division One season, which gets under way in October.  

Playing each other once, the top two sides in each group will progress to the quarter-finals then semi-finals, with the final set to take place later in the year.

HAF Places available on LRF Summer Camps

As part of our on-going partnership with Leicester City Council we’re offering a number of free places on our Christmas Camp.

In order to be eligible children must live in Leicester, be aged between 8 to 16 and in full-time education are receiving benefits related free school meals.

Melton Camp – August 1st-3rd

John Fernley School, Scalford Road, LE13 1LH

Hinckley Camp – August 7th-9th

Hinckley Leisure Centre, Argents Mead, LE10 1BZ

Coalville Camp – August 15th-17th

King Edward VII Science & Sports College, Warren Hills Road, LE67 4UW

Email [email protected] to book your place.

Rider watch: Young Riders help GB past group stage

Young Riders have been in international action in the FIBA European Youth Championships! 

Victor Ndoukou and Charnwood’s Lane Campbell have represented GB Under-20s in Skopje, North Macedonia. 

Ndoukou averaged 9.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in the group stage, going off for 14 and 11 in the tournament-opening win against Austria.

Campbell also went off in the game, becoming just the fourth GB player to record at least 10 assists in a single game at the Under-20s European Championships. 

He had eight points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the game and put up six points, five rebounds and 5.5 assists throughout the group stage. 

GB went 2-2 in Group B, with wins against Austria and Hungary, seeing them through to the Division B quarter-finals. 

They take on North Macedonia in the opening round of the knockout stage, the game tipping off at 7:45 on Friday, July 14.

Photo credit: FIBA

Riders Newsletter

Get all your latest Riders, Foundation and Arena news with the Leicester Riders newsletter!

Subscribe for:

  • Breaking news straight to your inbox
  • Instant access to tickets and offers
  • The latest merchandise and kit releases
  • Catch up on anything you missed with our monthly roundups

From player signings, arena events and all the latest community work, keep up to date with everything from around the club.

Sign up here!

Click below to download the PDF format!

We’d value your feedback! Please contact charlie@leicesterarena with any queries or concerns.

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates back for 2023/24!

Leicester Riders are delighted to confirm that Jessica Eadsforth-Yates has been retained for the 2023/24 roster. 

The Manchester-born guard signed a two-year deal last summer, joining from the Newcastle Eagles.

Eadsforth-Yates, a Charnwood graduate, averaged 7.7 points per game in the WBBL Championship for the Riders last year, putting up a season-high 25 points against the Oaklands Wolves. 

The deal includes Jessica’s studies at Loughborough University, where she won the BUCS championship last season.

The club would like to thank Loughborough University for their support.

“I’m very happy to be back with Riders following an overall successful season for the team last year!” commented Eadsforth-Yates. 

“I’m looking forward to getting to know Coach Stanley more and improving personal development, along with new team goals! I can’t wait to get back to work and start building towards what should be an exciting year for the team!”

“We’re really happy to have Jess back,” said Head Coach Ben Stanley.

“I’ve watched her for many years, and I know she’s passionate, team-oriented and ready to work. I’m looking forward to having her with us for another year.”

Riders retain Ndoukou

Leicester Riders can confirm the retention of Victor Ndoukou for the 2023/24 season.

The 6’8″ forward signed his first professional contract with the Riders in January to accompany his studies at Loughborough University, committing him to Leicester for four years.

Ndoukou won the 2021/22 EABL MVP award and averaged 11.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in NBL D1, shooting 46% from three that season.

“It’s an honour to play for the Riders,” said Ndoukou.

“Only the good players play for them, so I’m really grateful to be a part of that, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to sign here.

“Having the trust from all my coaching staff is a big thing for me, and hopefully, coming into this year, I can make strides with my career.”

Head coach Rob Paternostro commented: “Victor is a guy who has been with our programme for years, and we have really enjoyed working with him and watching his game develop.

“He is a skilled player with a high basketball IQ, who makes good decisions out on the floor and possesses good size and strength.”

Ndoukou is in action for GB Under-20s this week for the FIBA European Youth Championships.

Ben Stanley: A message to the fans

Hello to all the Riders fans! 

First, let me say that it’s a privilege to be a head coach in this historic club, and I can’t wait to get started.

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind process. I was expecting to stay with Solent for another season, but this was too good of an opportunity to pass up and something I’m thrilled to be doing.

Watching from a distance, this club looked like a great environment where everyone got on. I spoke to Ashley Arlen, who I’ve known since her Nottingham days, and she said this was a great group. 

I’ve heard similar things from everyone I speak to. That’s really exciting, and of course, this was a very competitive team last year. 

This year, we’re going to be trying to figure out who we are and what our goals are. In the short term we’re going to be focussing on our character and culture. 

We still want to win, that’s massively important to me and the club, but we also want to establish who we are as a team.

In the long term we want to be highly competitive in the WBBL. We want to continue to make finals and win things.

It’s essential to me to build a strong culture within this team. Culture is led by the coach, but ultimately it comes from the players. I can guarantee we’ll play hard and play together. 

In my role as women’s coach it’s very important to me that the players get the respect that the men get. 

They work as hard and they are just as knowledgeable, so it’s very important to me that we grow the women’s game.

I would love to be in a position where we are close to selling out the arena every game. That would be huge for us. That comes from having the right character of players throughout the programme, from juniors to pros. 

That includes everything on the court and everything we do in the community as well. I’ll be out there doing everything I can, and the players will support that too. 

I’m also delighted to begin my role as Loughborough BUCS head coach! 

I played for Brunel just as our rivalry with Loughborough was coming to a close, so it’ll be a little weird having the purple on me for the first couple of games! 

But I’m extremely excited about it, and to be a part of that programme with a storied history is something I’m looking forward to.

I can’t wait to get to know the fans! Please come out and support the girls, we’ll have a great on-court product for you next year and I know we’re going to have great people that will be great examples for the youth of Leicester and Loughborough. 

I’m looking forward to meeting you all!

Ben Stanley

Braelen Bridges: Top performances

Riders’ new man Braelen Bridges is entering his first professional season following a five-year college career.

The 6’10” Georgia native made a name for himself as an elite rebounder and scorer during his time in the NCAA D1.

Get to know him with some of his top performances!

Career high in points vs Ole Miss

In Febuary, Bridges dropped his career high in points against Ole Miss. The Bulldogs fell short in the game, but his 26 points in 29 minutes kept the game close, with their opponents winning by just four. 

Bridges shot 76.9% in the game and dominated the glass to grab 11 rebounds, recording one of his four double-doubles on the season. 

It was his second double-double against Ole Miss that season. His opponents had no answer for Bridges’ size and physicality. 

Early dominance in Georgia vs Cincinnati 

During his first season at Georgia, Bridges led the team with 25 double-digit scoring performances. None topped his showing in his second game as a Bulldog against the Cincinnati Bearcats. 

He put up 24 points and eight rebounds, four of which came on the offensive glass. He went 11-15 from the field, finding success with his back to the basket to score in close. 

With this performance, Bridges showed off his scoring ability to the Bulldogs. He went on to be their second-leading scorer and leading rebounder for the 2021-22 season. 

Catching fire for the Flames vs Youngstown State

After sitting out for the 2019-20 season, Bridges came back with a bang for his sophomore year at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

His best statistical performance of the season: 20 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocks to lead UIC to a win against Youngstown State. 

He went 9-13 from the floor in the 90-83 win, and his team needed every one of his points as he dominated the paint. 

That season, Bridges started all 34 games and helped lead UIC to the championship game of the 2020 Horizon League Tournament, a first for the Flames since 2004.

Dominant display vs Hampton 

In his fifth-colle year, Bridge’s Georgia Bulldogs went 16-15 on the season, helped by dominant performances in the paint from Bridges. 

Perhaps the most eye-catching was his 21 points and 13 rebounds against the Hampton Pirates, where he led the game in both categories on the way to a 73-54 blowout win. 

He added a block and a steal to the box score on the defensive end, contributing in all areas. Hampton had no response to Bridges, who shot 69.2% from the field. 

He achieved this in only 25 minutes of play, making the most of his minutes with a clinic on the boards. 

Four of his 13 rebounds came on the offensive end, as Bridges generated multiple second-chance points to lead Georgia to a significant win. 

Career high in rebounds vs DePaul

In a local rivalry for UIC, Bridges showed up on the glass to grab his career-high rebounding total. 

He went off for 14 points and 14 boards, shooting 55.6% from the field and recording a steal and a block on the defensive end. 

While his efforts were not enough to secure a win, his heart and physicality in just his 10th game for UIC endeared him immediately to the Flames’ faithful. 

Photo credit: Georgia Bulldogs

An update from Head Coach Rob Paternostro

Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody for your continued support. The offseason is an exciting time for us, but we can’t wait to see you back in the stands for our first game!

Looking back, we’re coming off a really good season. We improved from the beginning to the end, and I thought we were a better team at the O2 Arena in May than we were throughout the course of the year. That’s satisfying as a coach.

We just couldn’t get over the hump against London. We had opportunities, but we just weren’t able to convert them. But when you look at how we competed against the rest of the league, we had an exceptional record. 

This time of year is exciting for coaches. We’re looking at prospective players and putting the pieces together. 

We anticipate having to sign a lot of players so we’re trying to see who is the right fit. It’s a change from last season where almost everyone came back. This year is going to be totally different.

It’s a huge task going into the offseason after we’ve had the core of our team together for so long, but we have to do our due diligence looking at the players that are out there and trying to figure out the best way to rebuild. 

We haven’t ruled out re-signing guys from last season, but we have to understand that our players have put in really good seasons and will be marketable around the world.

Having Kimbal back is a blessing for us. On the court, he’s a really dangerous player to deal with for opponents. His ability to score and get in the lane to make key plays at key moments is really valuable to our team. 

Off the court, his leadership and commitment to practice and gameplan are second to none. He’s going to help immensely with the transition with new guys.

READ MORE: Return of the Mack!

And speaking of new players, we’re delighted to have Sam Idowu on board! 

He is versatile, which I really like about him. You can put him in different positions on the floor, so he’s not just a traditional big. His versatility will be really beneficial. 

He’s a good rebounder and he’s always been a high-field goal percentage scorer, so we have an efficient player with energy and versatility. I’m really looking forward to working with Sam.

He has great size and strength, and I think it’s important in basketball to have that. Ultimately, you have to protect and finish around the basket.

It’s an exciting time, and when you evaluate and sign a player, you certainly look forward to working with them.

READ MORE: Riders sign Idowu

It’s almost like unwrapping a gift! So when we get to August, we can’t wait to look at some of these players. It’s one of the parts of the job I look forward to. It’s a challenge, and it’s not a science by any means, but I’m looking forward to it. 

We know there’s plenty of games in the BBL, so there are lots of opportunities to compete, and we’re excited about the challenge ahead.

Thank you all for your patience this offseason, and we have some exciting news down the line for you all! 

Rob Paternostro

International watch: Riders suit up for GB Under-20s

There was Riders’ representation on the international stage this week in preparation for the FIBA European Youth Championships in July. 

Victor Ndoukou and Lane Campbell were joined by Charnwood product Ceejay Hanson to represent Great Britain Under-20s, taking on last year’s fourth-placed finishers, Finland, in Helsinki over two games.

“It was a great environment in Finland,” said Riders women’s head coach Krumesh Patel, who was appointed head coach of GB U20’s in March.

“They are a competitive team that got a lot right! The Riders guys did really well over the two games, and we hope that’s something they can use to build towards the Euros!”

The European Youth Championships take place in Skopje, North Macedonia, from July 7-16, featuring 19 national teams from across Europe.

Great Britain competes in Division B, and have been drawn against Luxembourg, Portugal, Austria and Hungary in their group. 

Photo credit: Ville Vuorinen

Darien Nelson-Henry looks back on Riders career

In his four seasons with the club, Darien Nelson-Henry helped to create ever-lasting memories not only for Riders fans but himself. 

As captain, Darien led the team to four pieces of silverware, including back-to-back league titles and a treble. He was also named to the BBL Team of the Year in consecutive seasons. 

He took some time to reflect on his tenure at the Morningside Arena. 

After joining, what made you want to stay?

Darien’s first season in Leicester was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the initial months at the club left an impression. 

They were all he needed to re-sign, committing to the Riders long-term. According to Darien, coach Rob Paternostro had a lot to do with it. 

“Rob is a reason why a lot of us wanted to stay. He’s been through it, in terms of playing around Europe, so he knows what it’s like in other places.

“He knows how to get along with players to where you feel comfortable with him, but is great at keeping his boundaries as a coach to where you’ll always do what he asks.”

Rob Paternostro with the 2021/22 BBL Championship trophy

“I respect that about him a lot because it’s a really hard line to walk.”

But as well as choosing coach Rob, Darien chose Leicester. 

“Of course, it was great because of all the similarities to the US. I knew it was a place I could thrive, and I loved enjoying the countryside, the culture, the food and other cities in the UK.”

“In Leicester, I knew my life outside of basketball was going to be quality, and I’m a huge believer that peace of mind will translate to performance on the court.”

How do you reflect on the season played without fans in the arena?

“Any basketball player would tell you it’s weird without fans. They are where we draw our energy from. They’re the backbone and the lifeblood of why you play basketball- for the fans. To not have them there was very strange.” 

“On the other hand, the basketball was pure. Our COVID season is so special to me because we were the best. With no momentum boost from the crowd and no real home-court advantage, it was all about who the better team was.”

Darien Nelson-Henry lifting the 2020/21 BBL Championship trophy

“It came down to who was prepared better, who was in better shape, who was running better plays and who was executing better. While we didn’t win any of the tournament competitions, we won the one that. to me, matters most in the league. 

“We proved we were the most consistent team in a pure setting, which was pretty awesome looking back on it.”

What was it like to play on the treble-winning team? 

Winning the league title was not enough for Darien. He and the rest of the team wanted to do it all again (and more) in front of the Riders faithful. 

“Winning the treble on the big stage, in front of all the fans in the arena, was really special. But that type of season is typical for this franchise in recent years when the majority of the team returns for another season.” 

“When that happens, the club usually accomplishes something special. A lot of the plays we ran and our defensive strategy, while Rob does call plays here and there, he leaves the responsibility to us during the game. Once he laid the game plan, it was up to us to execute.”

“Having spent a year together, we found ourselves all on the same page. It really helped us, having spent all that time together. The stars really aligned that season.”

How would you describe playing with Geno Crandall?

For two straight seasons, Darien and two-time BBL MVP Geno Crandall shared the floor to a devastating effect.

Their relationship on-court seemed near-telepathic at times, leading to the pair winning four pieces of silverware in their time together. 

“He’s a special player. And the main thing for our relationship was that we were both very vocal and very trusting of one another. 

“If something went a little differently to the way we saw it, maybe he’d lead me a little too far with a pass, or he’d want me to reset a screen, and I’d roll instead, we would get together and talk it out.”

“We had a very open dialogue which helped us. But he’s so talented I think he could have done it with any big man”, said Darien modestly. 

“We both had the desire to win, and his competitiveness gave me the desire to play my heart out, knowing he’s going to do the same.”

When did you know it was time to retire?

Towards the end of last season, Darien revealed the news to the home fans that he would retire. 

“I had a feeling I was going to retire going into my final season, I could see the writing on the wall a little bit. My body was starting to ache, I had some nagging injuries that were tough to overcome, and all my attempts at recovery weren’t helping as much as they used to.”

“I’d finished my masters, and I’m getting married. It just seemed like my life was pointing me in a different direction.”

How do you reflect on your career, having had some time to look back on it?

“I was able to win multiple titles in multiple countries, achieve personal accolades everywhere I went and meet amazing people who I would otherwise never had the opportunity to meet.”

“I can honestly say I got so much out of basketball, and it was worth every second I put into it.”

“I’m taking a break from the game for now and taking some well-earned rest, but I’ll be back one way or another and cheering the Riders on from wherever I may be!”

Return of the Mack

The club is excited to announce the return of point guard Kimbal Mackenzie for the 2023/24 season. 

Mackenzie has proved a fan-favourite in his two seasons in Leicester, earning the Supporters Club Player of the Year last season – voted for by the Riders faithful. 

His 12.7 points and 3.8 assists also saw him named on the Molten BBL British Team of the Year alongside teammate Patrick Whelan. 

“Kimbal has been excellent for us and we are thrilled to have him back at the club. We have enjoyed working with him these past two seasons, he is a player who comes ready to play every day,” reflected Head Coach Rob Paternostro.

“He is a versatile guard who can be effective in many different spots on the floor and has shown the ability to make winning plays in important moments of the game.”

“His ability to fill different roles last seasons was very impressive.”

Mackenzie put in countless team-leading performances throughout the 2022/23 season, perhaps none better than his 31 point explosion against the Cheshire Phoenix in February. He went 11-15 from the field and 7-7 from the free-throw line in the Riders’ 105-91 win. 

“My family and I are thrilled to be returning to Leicester for my third season,” commented Kimbal. “The experience that we have had within the city and with the fans has been amazing. I look forward to continuing the winning ways of the Riders. Since day one, Leicester has felt like home, and in the business of being a professional athlete, it can be rare to be with the same team for multiple years, so I’m thankful for that.” 

“I’m happy to still be playing in front of the best fans in the league! A fanbase that makes Morningside one of the best home court advantages in the league, and fans that frequently travel across the country to support us.” 

“In deciding to come back, it’s the culture that Coach Rob has built for years that played a big part. Rob is a players’ coach, and the ultimate competitor, someone who I love going to battle with. I look forward to playing with a great group of guys, and to winning a lot of basketball games!”

Mackenzie’s form earned him his first call-up to the Great Britain Senior squad, making his debut in a FIBA World Cup Qualifier against Serbia in Belgrade.

Welcome back Kimbal! 

Thank you Pukka Pies!

Last week we hosted our Leicester Riders Foundation end of season awards night at the Morningside Arena and welcomed 500 of our academy players, parents, project groups, schools and partners which made it our biggest awards night to date. 

This year we redesigned our awards night to represent all of the work that we have done in the community over the past year in our 3 departments; Education, Community & Academy. In addition to our usual Academy awards we also added 11 awards from the work we have done in the community and schools recognising individuals and groups who have excelled over the past year. These awards went from our Champion School award right through to our Community Organisation of the year award and there were multiple nominations for each award from across our programmes. 

The night was made possible by an extremely generous donation from Pukka Pies who have enabled us to grow our awards night into a true representation of all the work we do in the community. As well as sponsoring our awards night Pukka Pies donation will also go towards allowing us to continue to run our Positive Futures diversionary project. 

“At Pukka, we are thrilled to not only be involved with Leicester Riders but also supporting the Foundation and children in the local community.” Said Nik Jones, Pukka Pies National Account Manager. “As a Leicester business with such strong historic ties to sports we are keen to work with local sport clubs and foundations to invest back into our great city and people. It was great to see such huge support on the night and really see the scale of what the foundation does and people it reaches. A huge thank you should be given to the foundation team and volunteer coaches who make all of this possible.”

Laura Shephard, General Manager of the Leicester Riders Foundation added “We’re extremely grateful for the generous donation from Pukka Pies that has gone towards hosting our end of season awards and also continuing our Positive Futures programme at St Andrews Play Association. The awards night was our biggest yet and it was amazing to be able to fully showcase  all of our work in the community alongside, from celebrating our inclusive work with Menphys & Vista through to our Young Official of the year award, our awards night was a representation of the breadth of our delivery across Leicestershire.” 

For updates on who won all of our individual awards check out @RidersBF on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. 

LRF deliver first United Leicester Resilience Day

Last Wednesday Leicester Riders Foundation delivered our first United Leicester Resilience day at Taylor Road Primary School in Leicester City Centre.

United Leicester is a partnership delivered by the community foundation of each Leicester sports club, Leicester Riders Foundation, Leicester City in the Community, Leicester Tigers Foundation, Leicestershire CCC in the Community, and Leicester Hockey Club.

The morning began with an ambassador assembly delivered by professional players Mo Walker and Kirsty Brown. Mo and Kirsty spoke to the students about their path to professional basketball as well as key characteristics such as respect, resilience and teamwork that can be related to life both on and off the court.

Following the assembly the years 3 and 4 students were split with one year group heading to the classroom for a resilience workshop and the other group heading outside for a basketball session. The resilience workshop involved a presentation, examples of resilience in professional sport and a group task on healthy eating and physical activity. We then focused on passing, shooting and dribbling in our basketball session which also put the resilience of the students to the test as they learnt new skills.

Neal Ruparelia from Taylor Road Primary believes that the resilience day left a positive impression on all of the students. “A fantastic day with inspirational, dedicated, and enthusiastic staff who truly care to make a difference to young people in the city. Thank you for leaving smiles on the faces of all children at Taylor Road Primary School.”

Darren Kay, Leicester Riders Foundation’s Head of Education and Schools Sport was delighted to see the students so engaged. “On behalf of The Leicester Riders Foundation – We was delighted to host our first United Leicester session at Taylor Road Primary School. The students was really engaged and provided much learning for our staff too with their good answers around their physical health and how to overcome challenges in their personal and school life. They showed the key skill taught of resilience in abundance. We are super proud of them!”

“I felt that both sessions were well thought out and appropriate to the ages of the pupils. I know there was much interest from the children about what you all do and this was particularly reflected in the children’s questions, particularly in the Key Stage 2 assembly.” Said Anna Grant-Thomas, Headteacher at Taylor Road “I was also very impressed by the answers from both Mo and Kirsty and felt that they did a fabulous job around the bullying question; it was answered so thoroughly and clearly, I don’t think any of the staff in school could have answered it better!”

Taylor Road Primary was the first of three resilience days, this week we visited Whitehall Primary school and in May we are at Stokeswood Primary.

BBL Championship Preview: Riders vs Sharks

The Riders will begin the final weekend of the BBL regular season on Friday when they host the B. Braun Sheffield Sharks.

Victory for Leicester should wrap up a second-place finish in the championship standings and will taste even sweeter after the 72-64 loss to Sheffield on March 24.

Riders’ Season So Far

The Riders currently sit in second place in the BBL standings on 48 points, just two points ahead of a Bristol Flyers squad they have battled with all season.

The narrow lead over Bristol came after Leicester willed their way to an 83-82 triumph in Manchester last Sunday.

The enthralling contest boiled down to one last play for Manchester, but Rahmon Fletcher’s drive to the basket was thwarted by a number of tireless Riders defenders, and he missed his shot.

Defeat to the Giants seemed entirely possible at half-time, Rob Paternostro’s men staring down a 12-point deficit, having only scored 31 in the first 20 minutes.

But with their coach’s impassioned words ringing in their ears, the Riders turned things around to claim a famous road win.

Point guard Carrington Love was ever-present (as he has been so often in recent weeks) dropping 17 points, snagging six rebounds and dishing out just as many assists.

His do-it-all display was backed up by the starting trio of Patrick Whelan, Zach Jackson and Darien Nelson-Henry, scoring 15, 13 and 10 points respectively.

Nelson-Henry, the Riders’ captain, bagged himself a double-double, matching his points haul with 10 rebounds.

The clutch victory was Leicester’s 24th on the season, taking their winning record to an impressive 24-10.

Sharks’ Season So Far

Much like the Riders’ last opponents, the Sharks are embroiled in a tight mid-table battle, tussling for playoff seedings with a 17-17 record.

Their form, however, has been good since the short winter break as they have manufactured an 11-6 record in all competitions.

One of the wins came against the runaway leaders in London and two came against the Riders, including a BBL Trophy quarter-final win at the Morningside Arena.

Sheffield pride themselves on a formidable defence that concedes 74.73 PPG, second only to the London Lions.

The Sharks’ smart defensive play sees them rarely get into foul trouble, and players like Devearl Ramsey pressure the opposition into mistakes. Since his arrival in Sheffield, Ramsey has been one of the most tenacious on-ball defenders in the league.

The Riders will need to keep things clean on offense if they are to defeat a team that has gotten the best of them more than once this season.

Key Players

Sheffield are a team that likes to play slowly and methodically on offense, backed up by their stifling play on the opposite end of the court.

One player that has broken that mould this season, especially when facing off against the Riders, is forward, Kipper Nichols.

The American has dropped double-digits on Leicester every time they have played this season, including 19 points in the BBL Trophy QF back in February.

The Ohio native is somewhat of a fan favourite up in Sheffield, having plied his trade there for three seasons.

Nichols is averaging 12.1 PPG, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists. His ability to score inside will likely keep Zach Jackson and Marc Loving busy all night.

Sheffield’s defensive hustle makes it tough to see any clean looks at the basket, but they do slip to middle of the pack when it comes to giving up the deep ball.

Enter Patrick Whelan.

Whelan’s abilities from beyond the arc are well known, so look for them to be on show again come Friday night.

The Warrington-born guard is currently second in three-pointers made with 72. The Sharks only need to give him a glimpse of the basket and Whelan is likely to take the shot.

Whelan is averaging 13.7 PPG and shooting nearly 44% from deep.

There aren’t many chinks in Sheffield’s armour, but it’s a strong possibility that Patrick Whelan will find them.

Where to watch

Tip-off is at 7:45 pm at the Morningside Arena Leicester.

Get your tickets here!

The game will also be shown live on Sky Sports and streamed live on Sky Sports youtube, starting at 7:30 pm.

Retro night preview: Riders vs Eagles

Today sees the Riders return to Morningside Arena after their southern road trip to tip off against the Newcastle Eagles.

Leicester have the chance to go equal on points with Bristol in the BBL championship, after both teams suffered defeat on Friday night.

Sunday’s contest will carry added flavour for fans as it is one of this season’s ‘Retro Nights’. Old school tunes will be playing, BBL legends will be making an appearance and the Riders will be donning their 1987 jersey’s worn during the first ever BBL Championship.

It promises to be a fantastic celebration of the club’s history.

Riders’ Season So Far

Friday proved to be an exhilarating yet ultimately frustrating night for the Riders, who came back from a 20-point deficit to push the London Lions to the final shot in an 83-81 loss.

Leicester’s players proved their resilience and had the chance to send the game to overtime in the final seconds, but Carrington Love’s shot bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

The starting point guard led the team in scoring on the night, racking up 17 points and six assists in an all-action, attacking display.

With Marc Loving sidelined through injury, Blake Bowman answered the call to start at forward. The young Brit performed well, dropping five late points after a solid defensive display in which he pulled down six rebounds, snagged one steal and rose for a block.

Strong bench performances came from Kimbal Mackenzie and Evan Walshe, both notching double-digit point totals.

Despite sustaining their 10th loss of the season, the Riders will feel confident that they can go toe-to-toe with the best the BBL has to offer during the final stretch of the season.

Eagles’ Season So Far

Newcastle’s record sits at 8-23 after Friday’s 82-71 loss in Sheffield to the in-form Sharks. The Eagles allowed Sheffield to build a double-digit lead early and were simply unable to claw their way back into the game.

Kyle Johnson had a great day ball-in-hand, putting up 26 points at a 64% clip, but the Eagles lacked much support from their bench.

Lack of offensive firepower that performs consistently has affected the Eagles for most of the season.

They have the players on court to trouble any team in the BBL – they just need to put it all together more often, especially now the chance is there to catch Plymouth in the last playoff position.

The recent two-game series between the Eagles and the Riders was split one apiece.

Leicester know that a full 40-minute performance is needed to see off Newcastle’s challenge.

Key Players

Currently, no player is catching the eye on the Eagles’ roster as much as the aforementioned Kyle Johnson.

The guard has dropped over 15 points in his last four outings including the 26 he posted against the Sharks.

Standing at 6’5”, the Brit brings power and athleticism to the guard position, as well as a tenacity that has seen him snag over 10 rebounds in a game when playing at small forward.

A player with the size, strength and attitude to match up against Johnson is the Riders’ action man, Zach Jackson.

Jackson has the tools to go basket-for-basket with Johnson, something he has demonstrated over the last three games where he is averaging over 20 PPG.

The 6’7” American combines speed with a soft touch and – at his best – is possibly the most devastating scorer in the BBL.

Fans attending the Morningside arena on Sunday can’t predict the result. What they can predict is that Jackson and Johnson could have an almighty battle of buckets.

Where to watch

The game will be streamed live on the British Basketball League youtube channel, starting at 3:45 pm.

Academy Trials 2023

Following the conclusion of the 2022/23 NBL season we’re now focusing our attending on preparation for the new season. We’re hosting trials for new players on both our boys and girls teams on the last 2 weeks of June at the Morningside Arena.

U12 & 14s – Saturday 17th June, 10am-3pm @ Morningside Arena

Successful players will be invited to attend the next stage of trials on Sunday 18th June 10am-3pm at Morningside Arena.

U16s & 18s – Saturday 24th June, 10am-3pm @ Morningside Arena

Successful players will be invited to attend the next stage of trials on Sunday 25th June 10-3 at Morningside Arena.

If you are looking to trial CLICK HERE to book your place.

Riders pick up road win

The Riders beat the Plymouth City Patriots 99-85 on the road. They took a double-digit lead in the first quarter and never surrendered their advantage to improve to 21-9. 

Zach Jackson led the team for the second straight game, scoring 24 points after putting up 28 on Friday. He was followed up by Marc Loving’s 22 points and eight rebounds, but the Ohio-born forward played just 25 minutes after picking up a wrist injury in the third period. 

It was an efficient display from the visitors, who shot 50% from the field and went 25-27 from the free-throw line. Loving went 4-6 from three to stretch the lead, which the Riders saw home professionally.

The win sees them claim second place in the BBL Championship standings in the final month of the regular season. 

The Patriots’ Elvisi Dusha’s 19 points were not enough to win the tie, as the hosts missed 10  foul shots in the game. That proved the difference, as Plymouth now sit just two wins ahead of the Newcastle Eagles in the final playoff spot after their win this afternoon. 

The Riders jumped out to a lead early through a hot offensive start. They looked to get out in transition, running the fastbreak often to score plenty of points in the first. Leicester ended the quarter up 25-16, led by Patrick Whelan and Jackson who had six points each. 

Kimbal Mackenzie took over the scoring load to start the second with back-to-back threes.

Little separated the sides through the period. Former Rider Rashad Hassan found success finishing at the rim to keep his side in it, but the Riders were up going into the locker rooms after Loving’s 12-point half. 

The Patriots had the better start to the second half, cutting it to a one-possession game after a fastbreak slam from James Hawthorne Jr. The Leicester response was immediate, and Jackson’s drive to the rim capped off a 5-0 run from the visitors to rebuild their lead. 

The three ball started to fall for Leicester, as Loving and Whelan hit in to make it a 14-point advantage. Meanwhile, Jackson got himself to the free throw line consistently to keep the scoreboard ticking over. 

The Patriots also got to the foul stripe, shooting eight free throws in the third quarter to stay in it. Blake Bowman drove to the hoop for Leicester to put them up 11 with one to play. 

Jubril Adekoya took over the game with his playmaking ability to start the fourth. He dished a pair of no-look assists to get the Riders’ offence hot. 

After Adekoya got them going, the Riders comfortably saw the game out to secure their third win on the bounce. He went for six points, two assists and two rebounds in the fourth to see it home. 

The Riders remain on the road for their next fixture, taking on the London Lions on April 7.

LRF host Inclusive Basketball Tournament

On Tuesday 4th April we hosted our first inclusive schools basketball tournament of the season at the Morningside Arena. We welcomed the students from Westgate, Quorn Hall, Sketchley and Birchwood that we have been coaching at our in school sessions for the past year.

The tournament was a success with Quorn Hall coming out on top winning all three of their fixtures however, all 4 of the teams gave a great effort and had a lot of fun.

Adam Wheatcroft from Quorn Hall School thought the tournament was a fantastic experience for his students.

“This is the first tournament our students have experienced and they thoroughly enjoyed the experience of playing on the professional court and are eager to experience this again. The staff at Leicester Riders Foundation were helpful, supportive, and engaged our students in friendly competition. I was to thank each member of staff involved for their hard work in getting the day organised and the running of the day. ”

Darren Kay our Head of Education & Schools Sport was delighted to be able to host an inclusive tournament at Morningside Arena and to continue to support the students in their basketball development.

“The Leicester Riders Foundation is delighted to have hosted our inclusion tournament. Supporting young people to take their first steps in sport but also to participate using the values that make basketball such a inclusive sporting activity. Teamwork and Equality regardless of ability. All participants upholding these values with commitment and support. A massive thank you to all our schools who participated today and my staff who supported the tournament throughout the course of the day. 

If you would like the Leicester Riders Foundation to get involved with your school contact [email protected] for more information!

BBL Championship preview: Riders vs Flyers

Friday will see the Riders finish March with a crucial clash against the second-place Bristol Flyers.

The Morningside Arena will host the second of a two-game home stand as the Riders look to build on Tuesday’s victory over the Plymouth City Patriots.

Riders’ Season So Far

The win was the Riders’ 19th of the season in the BBL Championship, keeping them fixed in third place in the standings and now within reaching distance of Friday’s visitors.

Leicester consigned Plymouth to a fifth straight loss, but the game was never a foregone conclusion.

The Patriots mounted a spirited fourth-quarter comeback and the 92-89 scoreline perfectly reflects the competitiveness of the contest.

Marc Loving and Kimbal Mackenzie typically topped the Riders’ scoring output, dropping 24 and 23 points respectively. Loving especially had his stroke going, hitting 61% from the field including six from downtown.

Zach Jackson also had a nice night with an energetic 18 points, but it was two late plays on the defensive side of the ball that clinched victory for the Riders.

Holding a tenuous one-point lead with less than a minute to go, the Riders needed a stop. Up stepped Jubril Adekoya, one of Leicester’s most tenacious stealers of the ball.

The strong forward shot out a quick hand and pilfered possession away from the Patriots’ guard, forcing the away team to foul.

A couple of clutch Mackenzie free throws and a last-second block by Loving put the seal on an entertaining game.

No doubt more of the same will be needed to stop a high-flying Bristol team.

Flyers’ Season So Far

The Bristol Flyers have been one of the best teams in the BBL this season and travel to Leicester boasting a 21-9 record.

They sit a narrow four points above the Riders in the table, the proximity between the two teams adding extra spice to Friday’s contest.

Mixed results in recent weeks have seen the Flyers go 3-2 in their last five meetings, both losses coming against a Manchester Giants squad that fell 104-84 to the Riders in February.

Bristol’s latest game ended in a 39-point win however, the Flyers prevailing over Leicester’s Tuesday night opponents riding a strong 23-point show by guard, Tevin Olison.

A dangerous three-point threat when on the left side of the court, Olison is averaging 9.58 PPG and shoots a respectable 82% when he gets to the free-throw line.

Despite the single-digit PPG average, Olison can rack up buckets, as shown by his dominance over Plymouth.

Leicester will want to keep him in check as they did when the teams met on January 6.

Key Players

The Flyers are the least accurate team in the BBL when shooting, currently hitting 43.58% of their shots.

What they lack in efficiency, they make up in scoring chances.

Bristol attempt 69.82 field goals per game, second in the BBL. The key to this plethora of shots is their ability on the offensive glass – the Flyers are the only team to have snagged over 400 offensive rebounds this season.

The driving forces behind Bristol’s thirst for second chances are forward Thomas Bell and Flyers veteran, Malcolm Delpeche.

Both Bell and 6’8” center, Delpeche, sit in the league’s top 10 in offensive rebounds per game, pulling down 2.34 and 3.03 respectively.

This front-court hustle gives extra opportunities to players like top-scorer, VJ King, who is a force when driving to the basket.

Tasked with boxing out Bell and Delpeche will be the interchanging Darien Nelson-Henry and Aaron Menzies.

As a result of swapping in and out at the center position, the two big men don’t trouble the BBL’s top 10 in defensive rebounds per game.

However, they rise up the statistics table when the criteria is changed to DREBs per 40 minutes.

Nelson-Henry and Menzies grab 7.87 and 9.78 DREBs per 40, the 7’3 Brit placing second in the championship in that metric.

While players like Jackson, Mackenzie and King may grab the post-game headlines for their ability to sink the rock, the battle of the frontcourt may be the true area where this game is won and lost.

Where to watch

The game tips off at 7:45 pm on Friday 31 March. Get your tickets here!

Alternatively, it will be streamed on the BBL Official youtube channel from 7:30 pm.

Hiring: Community Coach

The Leicester Riders Foundation is continuing to grow in stature and workforce. We are seeking a new community basketball coach to join their Community team. LRF are looking for someone who is enthusiastic about coaching and wanting to learn more about basketball and the many pathways that Riders can offer them.

Main Duties and Responsibility

  • To deliver effective sessions with relevant skills, tactics and techniques for the age group or ability of the players involved
  • To deliver a variety of basketball and physical activity-based programmes and sessions across a variety of settings including schools, and the community
  • Deliver curriculum and non – curriculum sessions
  • Working with people from the community using basketball as a tool of delivery on programmes such as NCS, PL kicks, Street Games, Carry A ball not a blade
  • Planning and delivering sessions for SEN schools and targeted SEN / inclusion groups including Memphys and Vista.
  • Co-ordinating participants’ attendance at meetings and other sports events
  • Planning and running programmes of activities for groups and/or individuals
  • Assist with the running of festival, tournaments and leagues
  • Opportunities to be involved in BBL/WBBL Game days and events
  • Complete all necessary reports and evidencing of the sessions and projects delivered
  • Assist with the delivery of projects and satellite clubs.
  • Coaching on Holiday Camps and Development days
  • Opportunity to Coach within University Programmes and Junior National League Teams
  • Continuous Personal Development opportunities.
  • Promotion of sports events to increase participation at sessions
  • Completion of Health and safety and risk assessments when applicable.
  • Deliver with in school and education settings working with children of all ages and abilities
  • Working across a wide variety of programmes focusing on health and wellbeing
  • Delivering on programmes such as Hoops for health, Ambassadors programmes delivering assemblies within schools
  • Being a leading light working with the community and developing key relationships for programmes within the community
  • Travel is necessary to fulfil the role.


  • Clean Driving Licence and access to own vehicle
  • Applicants must live with in a commutable distance of Morningside Arena, LE1 3UL, Leicester
  • Level 2 Basketball Coach award
  • Fully enhanced DBS check
  • Ability to work with players from Grass Roots to Elite
  • Excellent communication levels and Administration skills
  • Good organisational skills
  • Ability to encourage and motivate people
  • Ability to be flexible and work unsociable hours & weekends
  • Display a professional approach at all times, setting an example to others
  • Good leadership skills
  • Experience of working in a school setting or professional environment
  • Ability to engage with people from all backgrounds
  • Be professionally approachable
  • Teaching experience within sport
  • Ability to work with partner organisations such as United Leicester to design and deliver programmes.
  • Be dynamic and a hard-working individual
  • Up to date safeguarding / child protection certificates
  • Up to date emergency first aid certificate

Job Title

Community Coach (Full Time Contract 38 hours per week)

Responsible to

LRF General Manager – Laura Shephard


Leicester City, Leicestershire & Rutland


£18,525-£19,500 (depending on experience)

Closing Date


Interview Date


How to apply:

Please complete the enclosed application form with your CV and covering letter and email to [email protected] no later than 5pm on 3/04/23.

BBL Championship Preview: Riders vs Gladiators

Friday sees the Riders play the second of a two-game home stand as they tip off against the Caledonia Gladiators. Leicester will hope to make it two-for-two at home after a hard-fought 89-79 victory over the Newcastle Eagles last Sunday.

Riders’ season so far

After sharing the spoils in last weekend’s series with Newcastle, the Riders head into Friday night with a 17-8 record, six points behind the second-placed Bristol Flyers.

Leicester had to wait until the fourth quarter to create some breathing room between them and the Eagles. Marc Loving, who led the scoring with 20 points, dropped 11 in the final stretch to inspire the Riders to their ninth home win.

Read our full report here.

Loving was ably supported by captain Darien Nelson-Henry who contributed 16 points in an efficient shooting display.

Nelson-Henry is currently scoring 8.5 PPG and shooting at a 56.41% clip, good for third on the team. The 6’11” center is also the Riders’ most prolific rebounder, snagging 6.4 per contest.

If he has another dominant day on the boards this Friday, the 29-year-old could be the first Rider to pass 200 rebounds this season.

Gladiators’ season so far

Much like the Riders, Caledonia notched another mark in the win column after a well-fought victory against the Manchester Giants. The 92-83 triumph pushed the Gladiators to a 14-13 record and boosted their league position to fourth, leapfrogging their Manchester opponents.

The most significant difference between the two teams came on the boards – the Scottish outfit outrebounding Manchester 51 to 34. Centers Patrick Tapé and Fahro Alihodzic were excellent on the offensive glass, hauling in four OREBs each to help the Gladiators to 13 second-chance points.

Caledonia’s top scorer is guard David Sloan.

Sloan is averaging a cool 16.97 PPG while dishing nearly five assists per game. The 6’0” Tennessee State Buccaneer possesses wicked ball-handling skills and has a habit of scoring points in bunches, racking up 36 against the Riders earlier in the season.

A win over Leicester would give the Gladiators a firmer hold over the fourth spot in the league.

Key Matchup

Expect guards David Sloan, Patrick Whelan and Kimbal Mackenzie to light up the scoreboard, but of more importance may be the number of chances they get.

As he did against Manchester, Patrick Tapé will want to pose as a problem for the Riders on both end of the court. The athletic big man was Caledonia’s ‘Player of the Game’ on Sunday, after a fine showing where he earned a double-double, scoring 13 points and reeling in 12 rebounds.

The Ivory Coast international is averaging 10.5 PPG in four games against the Riders this season, but rebounds haven’t been as plentiful. Leicester have restricted Tapé to just four RPG, some way off his season average of 6.55.

Continuing the keep the 6’10” center off the glass will be key for the home team if they want to lead the season series against Caledonia, which currently stands at 2-2.

On the front line to achieve the task will be the previously mentioned Nelson-Henry and Sunday’s hero, Marc Loving.

The free-scoring forward has been dependable on defence all season, pulling down over five defensive rebounds per game. Couple that with the Ohio native’s talent for scoring, and you have a two-way forward who can match up with any front-court player in the BBL.

The fan favourite is putting up 16 PPG versus Caledonia this season, hitting over 55% of his shots in three of the four games.

Loving has not dropped below double-digit points in the league since January 29.

Another big night from the American may be crucial as the Riders look to further the gap between third and fourth in the BBL.

Where to watch

The game tips off at 7:45 pm at the Morningside Arena. Get your tickets here!

Alternatively, it will be shown live on Sky Sports Arena and the Sky Sports youtube channel, starting at 7:30 pm.

Good For The Sole – Applications now open

We are delighted to announce that the launch of our Good For The Sole programme has been a huge success. We have already had an amazing 68 pairs of shoes donated and as a result are now ready to give our shoes out to young people in the community in order to help support their basketball journey.

If you would like to apply for a pair of shoes or wish to refer another person CLICK HERE.

We are also still looking for donations and are actively seeking smaller sizes. If you wish to make a donation CLICK HERE to donate via our JustGiving page.

BBL Championship Preview: Riders vs Eagles

The Riders are back in action with the second game against the Newcastle Eagles in three days. It is a chance to bounce back for Leicester, who fell to the Eagles on Friday 92-85 on the road. 

Riders’ season so far

Leicester enters this game off back-to-back losses, losing to the London Lions before the Newcastle Eagles. They possess a 16-8 record, sitting third in the league standings, six points from second place. 

They held a 20-point lead against the Eagles, but a second-half comeback saw the North Easterners take the win. Zach Jackson led a late effort to take the result, but the Riders fell short in the final seconds. 

Read our full report here. 

Marc Loving leads the Riders this season with 15.9 points and 6,1 per game, playing at an elite standard on both ends. Leicester is the league’s most efficient team in field goal, three-point and free-throw shooting, making the most of their offensive opportunities.  

The Morningside Arena has proved a fortress for the Riders this season, going 9-2 in their building. A win in this one would snatch back momentum for Leicester, as they start a two-game home stand. 

Eagles’ season so far

The win against the Riders was massive for Newcastle, as they fight for the final playoff spot in the BBL Championship. They improved to 7-17, three wins from the eighth-placed Sheffield Sharks. 

They shot the lights out from deep last time out, going 41% from deep led by three off the bench from Jermel Kennedy, Their second-half comeback was led by an explosion from Kyle Johnson, who led the game with 21 points. 

But it’s Javion Hamlet who leads them on the season with 20.2 points per game, the former G-Leaguer ranks second in the BBL’s scoring charts in his second pro season. 

Hamlet attacked the rim relentlessly in his previous game, shooting 10 free throws in the contest. Newcastle ranks second in free-throw percentage this season behind the Riders, making the most of their charity shots.  

Back-to-back wins against the Riders would be a monumental momentum shift in the Eagles’ season. 

Key matchup 

The battle between Zach Jackson and Kyle Johnson proved pivotal in the previous fixture between the sides and is likely to play a key role in this one. 

Johnson’s 21 points were his sixth 20-point performance of the season, and enter this one on a run of hot form, putting up 19.3 points per game in his last four. 

The 6’6” wing is a 14-year veteran and has played across Europe and Canada in his professional career. Johnson spent three seasons in Iceland before landing in Newcastle and scored 12 points per game last year. 

In 2017, Johnson’s scoring prowess was on full display as he dropped a 51-point performance in the Canadian NBL, the most points scored in a game in league history. 

This season, Johnson is scoring 14.9 points per game on 47.4% shooting and grabbing 5.2 rebounds per game. 

Facing Johnson on the wing is Kansas-born Jackson, who led the attempted charge back into Friday night’s fixture with seven points in the final period. 

He’s the Riders’ second-highest scorer on the season, putting up 15.8 points per game on 55.8% shooting. Jackson is red-hot from deep, hitting 43.1% of his three-point attempts while playing elite defense on the other end. 

Jackson is a third-year Rider and has made improvements each season. This has shown up in the box score, as the fourth-year pro is scoring six more points per game than in his first BBL season. 

The 6’6” small forward is one of the BBL’s best scorers, able to get it done on all three levels. He shows up in the biggest moments for Leicester, so expect a good showing in this get-back game for Leicester. 

Where to watch

Tickets for this fixture are available here

The game tips off at 4 pm and will be streamed on the BBL Official Youtube channel, starting at 3:45 pm.

Kimbal named Player of the Month!

Kimbal Mackenzie has been named Molten BBL Player of the Month!

The point guard averaged 19.5 points per game in Febuary, including a 31-point outing against the Cheshire Phoenix in the highest-scoring game of his Riders tenure.

His play earned Mackenzie his first GB call up, and helped the Riders to a 3-1 record over the month as the Riders climbed the BBL Championship standings.

Congratulations Kimbal!

Coach Patel named Molten Coach of the Month!

Head coach Krumesh Patel has been named Molten WBBL Coach of the Month for Febuary! 

The Riders went 3-0 during the month, including convincing 30-point victories in the WBBL Championship against the Oakland Wolves and the Cardiff Met Archers. They currently top the WBBL Championship table with an 11-1 record. 

“The award is nothing without the staff and players. They deserve all the credit,” commented Patel.

“I am happy that their success over the month has been rewarded, and I’m lucky to have this group of people around me!”

Congratulations coach!

Mo completes first Mo-mentum programme

This week Mo Walker completed his first Mo-mentum programme after completing a 5 week block at Wigston Academy, Manor High School, Gartree and Beauchamp College.

Throughout the Mo-mentum programme Mo uses his experiences playing professional basketball to offer help and support and inspire students.

Each session involved a presentation on a different chapter of Mo’s life, activities focused on the life skills Mo learnt and some time on court playing different basketball games.

Mr Carton from Wigston Academy believes the programme offered his students a valuable insight into the life of a professional athlete and the life skills you need to develop in order to be successful. “Mo’s 6 week programme offered a real personal insight into his life and the life of a professional athlete, where he discussed many important life skills such as confidence, resilience and much more. Thank you Mo!”

Mo is pleased with how his first programme has gone and hopes the students were able to take plenty away from it. “I think the first run of the program went very well. The kids at each school were all very engaged in every session by participating and asking good questions. Hopefully all the kids walked away with some valuable life lessons by listening to the trials and tribulations that basketball has put me through. They also had fun playing basketball games and having some competitions mixed in throughout the weeks. I’m looking forward to working with the next group of schools.”

If you would like Mo to run the Mo-mentum programme with either your school or youth group email [email protected] for more information.

Riders record big win at home

The Riders improved to 15-6 in the BBL Championship, beating the Manchester Giants 104-84 at home. Marc Loving led an explosive offensive performance with 25 points, following up his 32 points last time out against Manchester.

He was backed by 18 from Zach Jackson and 16 from Kimabl Mackenzie, as the Riders’ offence shot 58% from the field and 45% from three in an explosive performance. 

The Giants could not contain the Riders’ offence and now have given up over 100 to them in the second-straight game. Offensively, they crashed the boards to grab 21 rebounds but shot just 21% from three in their loss. 

They had five scorers in double digits, led by 16 points and 3 assists from two-time BBL MVP Rahmon Fletcher. Nick Lewis also scored 16 off the bench, going 4-8 from deep. 

The opening stages were defined by high flying plays from the Riders, as Jackson and Loving threw down monster jams to help the Riders to a quick lead. Mackenzies’s three from the corner made it 15-6 with five minutes gone. 

The Riders attacked the rim all quarter, throwing down four jams. But the story of the first was Evan Walshe, who in his first Riders start ran the show from the point. He has five assists five minutes in, lighting up the arena with his flashy passing. 

Fueled by the momentum of the dunk party, the Riders burst out to a 27-13 opening period led by 10 points from Loving. 

The Giants found the bottom of the basket to start the second, stalling the Riders’ progress with 11 points in three minutes led by five from Lewis. Lewis scored nine in the period, helping the visitors cut the Riders’ lead to five.  

But Loving beat the buzzer to have the last say in the first half, draining a stepback three to make it 54-46. He had 21 points in the first, leading the game going into the locker rooms. 

Mackenzie kick-started the action in the second half, taking it coast-to-coast to make it a 10-point Riders lead. He had six in the first three minutes of the third, as the Riders extended their advantage. 

The Riders outscored the Giants 17-7 to start the third quarter, making it an 18-point lead. The period took the form of the first, as the Giants’ defence could not contain Leicester, who scored 30 points, led by nine from Jackson. 

Leicester saw the game out comfortably, keeping the Giants at arm’s length. Blake Bowman put up nine in the fourth to tally a career-high 12 points off the bench, sealing the win. 

The Riders play the second of a weekend doubleheader on Sunday, heading to Cheshire to take on the Phoenix. The game tips off at 5:30 pm, and a Riders win would see them continue to chase down second place in the BBL Championship standings. 

7 Academy players make it through to Aspire Super Camp

We are delighted to confirm that 7 of our Academy players have made it through to the Aspire Super Camp for the central region.

Kyra Johnson, Grace Nzeakor and Hanya Correria from our Under 16s Girls, Louie Marchesi, Finley Tuck and James Hardy from our Under 16s Boys and Ike Davids from our Under 14s boys will attend four groups of sessions in Birmingham for a place on the Central team in the All Star National Tournament at the National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester from Friday 7 July to Sunday 9 July.  

We’d like to wish all of our players the best of luck at their upcoming camps.

Riders see off Scorchers

The Riders improve to 14-6 in the BBL Championship after a 99-77 win against the Surrey Scorchers. 

Marc Loving led the game with 21 to steer the Riders to the win, in a game where five Leicester players scored double-digit points. His efforts were backed by 20 points from his wing partner Zach Jackson, who went off for 20. 

It was a one-point affair midway through the second period before the Riders blew the game open with a 13-2 run. They shot a red-hot 42% from three and 50% from the field, after entering the game leading the BBL in both categories.

It was the first appearance in Leicester for point guard Carrington Love, who impressed with eight points and five assists off the bench. His three-point shooting and playmaking added a different dimension to the Riders’ offence, as he looks to settle into the second half of the season.

The win makes it 38 games undefeated in all competitions against the Scorchers for the Riders. Padiet Wang and Jalen Ray combined for 13 each for the visitors, who cut the game to nine early in the fourth.

But the Scorchers could not contain the Riders’ offence, who bounced back to seal the win. 

After scoring 18 points in the first half of the previous meeting between the sides, Surrey’s leading scorer on the season Wang went off to start the game, scoring the first seven Scorchers points. 

The Riders fought back, taking the lead midway through the first with back-to-back threes from Jackson and Loving. The dynamic duo led the team with seven points each in the first quarter. 

The Riders held a narrow lead until the end of the period, as new man Love drained a three on the buzzer to make it 23-17 to the hosts. 

Love carried the momentum into the second period, hitting from midrange to get another two on the board. But the Scorchers had the best of the early stages of the quarter, bringing their deficit to one point after a jam from Wang. 

Whelan hit back, finding his from deep to make two threes, making it a nine-point game four minutes from halftime. The Riders commenced a 13-2 run following Whelan’s first three to jump out to their first significant lead of the game. 

Love concluded the quarter yet again, drawing a foul on a three before making two shots at the line. He finished the half with eight points in six minutes off the bench in his first Riders home game, as the hosts entered the locker rooms up 51-41. 

Leicester continued their hot deep shooting form to start the second half, as Whelan and Loving knocked down their first attempts to stretch the lead. The Riders controlled the game with their advantage, getting to the rim to win the third 28-21 to make it a 17-point game. 

The Scorchers came out hot in the final period, starting 8-0 after two Kyle Carey threes to cut the game to nine. 

But the Riders seized back control, as Kimbal Mackenzie scored five straight to rebuild the lead, hitting his second three of the game. 

Leicester responded to Surrey’s surge with a 10-3 run, to leave the result in little doubt. 

Next up, the Riders host BBL Trophy action, taking on the Sheffield Sharks in the quarter-final. The game takes place on Febuary 10th, tipping off at 7:45 pm. 

WBBL Cup Final preview: Riders vs Lions

The Riders are set to take on the London Lions on the big stage, as they fight for the BBL Cup in the Utilita Arena Birmingham. 

Riders look to beat the undefeated

This game features the top two sides in the WBBL this season, as the 8-1 Riders face the 9-0 Lions. The Riders’ only defeat this season came against London, but they look to tie the season series on their way to much-desired silverware. 

Leicester are fighting to reclaim their BBL Cup title from two seasons ago against last season’s quadruple winners. The winner of this one will become the first WBBL side to lift multiple BBL Cups. 

This will be no small task for the Riders, as they attempt to be the first side to beat the Lions domestically since they got the better of them on April 24 2021. 

Bossing the boards

The Riders’ success this season has come on the glass, as they pull down the second most rebounds in the WBBL and the most defensive rebounds. Not allowing second possessions has been key to the eight-game winning streak they take into this one. 

They’re led in this department by former Cup Final MVP Ashley Arlen, who is averaging 8.6 rebounds per game. The Riders have four players grabbing at least six rebounds per game, as gang rebounding has dominated the paint for this physical Riders side. 

Rebounding’s importance will be emphasised in this one, as the Riders face the league’s most efficient shooters in the Lions, who shoot at a red-hot 47.8% from the field this season. Leicester won’t be able to afford to give the ruthless Lions’ offence extra chances in the game. 

Key matchup

Oliana Squires has been in hot scoring form over recent games, averaging 14.2 points over her last four fixtures. She put up a season-high of 26 against the Caledonia Gladiators earlier in the year and has averaged 15.7 points per game in the league thus far. 

The American guard is a first-year pro, having spent four years of college at Montana State. There, she averaged 11.3 points and 1.7 steals, scoring 20 points four times as a junior. 

Squires is a shifty guard, using her agility and handles to find space at the rim or outside, where she can knock down shots effectively. She is shooting 56% from two and 34.7% from three this season, getting it done at all three levels.

Taking on Squires in the backcourt from London is former Rider Holly Winterburn, the three-time WBBL young player of the year. The British guard is putting up 15 points per game in the league this season in her second Lions year. 

Winterburn is one of Britain’s top prospects and was named to the WBBL British Team of the Year on the last three occasions. She is a GB international and won the WBBL Trophy Final MVP last season after a 16-point effort. 

Winterburn is a professional scorer and is elite at slashing to the basket and getting points in close. Her three-point shots keep defenders honest, and finds her teammates open for buckets often, averaging five assists per game. 

Expect fireworks between these two guards in this one.

Where to watch

The game, taking place at Utilita Arena Birmingham, tips off at 12 pm on Sunday, January 29. It will be televised live on Sky Sports and streamed live on the Sky Sports Youtube channel.

After the game, the BBL Cup Final takes place between the Riders and Lions, tipping off at 3 pm.

Read our preview here!

LRF Staff Visit Leicester City Police

As part of our continued work with Leicester City Police our staff took the short trip to Mansfield House Police Station for a workshop with PC Millie Barton on Child Criminal Exploitation and County Lines.

The workshop helped the team to both gain a better understanding of Child Criminal Exploitation and County Lines, how to spot potentially vulnerable children and how to deal with any issues that rise when working with young people.

“Thank you to the Leicester Riders Foundation for coming to Mansfield House Police Station today to receive an in put on Child Criminal Exploitation and County Lines.” Said PC Millie Barton. “The Riders do a lot of work in the community with young people involved in crime and having knowledge around CCE and CL really shows their commitment to helping young people.”

Laura Shephard, General Manager of the Riders Foundation is delighted that the Foundation’s relationship with Leicester City Police continues to go from strength to strength.

“Working with the PC Barton and the team of offficers at Mansfield house has been greatly beneficial for our team and developing the opportunities that LRF are able to offer in our community, engaging all young people. Relationships are key in working in the community and the power of working together is evident here. It’s been fantastic to learn and gain new perspectives from the officers at Mansfield house to empower our LRF team to continue to work and develop our programmes.”

Keep and eye on our social media channels (@RidersBF) for all updates on our work with Leicester City Police in the coming weeks.

Arena availability – Jan 21st-30th

Unfortunately due to an event being held at the Morningside Arena from January 21st-31st we are able to run any of our Academy or Community sessions at the venue.

Sessions will resume as normal from Monday January 30th.

Although we are unable to offer any Arena sessions during this period we are still running a number satellite sessions.

CLICK HERE to book onto our satellite sessions.

Walking Basketball February Block Booking

Walking Basketball makes a return in February as we launch our first 6 week block booking.

Walking basketball is fun and social session with the chance to look at playing games against other groups around the country. The session is aimed at all levels from beginners to skilled players and is perfect for players who are rehabilitating injuries and looking to get back into playing.

CLICK HERE to book onto our Walking Basketball sessions.

Baby Ballers February Block Booking

Following the success of our first Baby Ballers block booking the session makes a return on Thursday February 2nd as we begin another 6 week block.

The sessions take place 10-11am at the Morningside Arena (LE1 3UL) and our coached by our Leicester Riders Foundation coaches. Baby Ballers is a family session; you are welcome to bring family members/ friends/siblings to watch.

CLICK HERE to book your child onto our next block.

LRF launch Positive Futures Project

The Leicester Riders Foundation are launching the Positive Futures project in collaboration with Leicester City Police funded by Street Games.

The Positive Futures programme aimed at reaching young people at risk of involvement with anti-social behaviour crime & violence is using basketball and life skills as a tool to better their future.

The children on the programme will participate in a number of sessions involving mentoring, life skill classes and basketball sessions led by Leicester Riders Foundation staff & Riders professional player Mo Walker.

PC Millie Barton of Leicester City Police is delighted to be able to continue their work with LRF. “We are proud to be working with the Leicester Riders Foundation on the Positive Futures program, a project set up to work with young people who have been involved in antisocial behaviour, criminal behaviour or are at risk of committing crime and ASB. The Leicester Riders Foundation have been instrumental in providing a support network alongside engagements, interventions and educational inputs to assist in reducing criminal activity in the Leicester area.”

Leicester Riders’s Mo Walker added “Growing up in my community there was a lot of violence and distractions. I was fortunate enough to have positive role models and structure provided by my parents and basketball coaches. I know how important it is for kids to have positive influencers in their lives, as well as some structure or just safe place where they can have fun, interact with others, and stay out of trouble”.

Ricardo Silva the Foundation’s Community Project Officer hopes the programme allows the young people to develop skills for life.”The programme will allow all the participants to gain a variety of skills and experiences. We hope to use our knowledge and experience to help them develop their life skills. I want the Leicester Riders Foundation to be a point of contact for kids at high risk of involvement with anti-social behaviour, crime and violence. We are here to provide opportunities for young people to grow and develop.

Keep and eye on our social media channels (@RidersBF) for all updates on our Positive Futures project in the coming weeks.

If you would like to refer a young person to join the programme please email [email protected].

Development Day: Friday 20th January

Join us at the Morningside Arena on Friday 20th January for our Development Day prior to the Leicester Riders BBL Championship fixture v Cheshire Phoenix.

The Development Day involves a hour and a half coaching clinic, food before the game and a ticket to Leicester Riders v Cheshire Phoenix all for just £15.

CLICK HERE to book your place!

*Minimum booking of 5 places.

Forge Your Career in Sport with SMB College Group and Leicester Riders Foundation!

Leicester Riders Foundation are proud to be working alongside SMB College Group to launch a brand new Sport programme that allows young people to combine basketball with a Level 3 college course in Sport. 

Based at the college’s 850-acre Brooksby Campus in Leicestershire, the programme will give students the opportunity to develop vital career skills through sport whilst gaining their Level 3 qualification in Sports Coaching and Development, benefitting from a specialised timetable encompassing their academic studies, basketball coaching, strength and conditioning sessions, performance analysis and more. 

Open to all students who wish to study Level 3 Sports Coaching, this programme aims to enable students to develop a wealth of transferrable skills to set them up for progression into a career within sport, or within a variety of other industries. 

When speaking about this exciting new programme, Andy Graham, Director of Curriculum at SMB College Group’s Brooksby Campus said ‘Working with such an impressive and well-established organisation enables us to broaden the student experience, increasing the breadth of learning and sports that students can get involved with.

‘Whilst students are now able to play basketball wrapped around a full time programme of study, this partnership has a particularly important focus on careers in elite sport and the transferable skills and advantages that this can give our students, no matter which industry they eventually choose to work in. Through working with Leicester Riders Foundation, we wanted to develop a course that will open the door to a career in sports for anyone, even if they have never picked up a basketball – and this programme does just that. We can’t wait to enrol our first students in September!’ 

Laura Shepherd, General Manager at the Leicester Riders Foundation, added ‘We are delighted that we are able to partner with SMB College Group to provide an alternative pathway for those to wish to excel in a career in sport.

‘It is so important to provide opportunities, and to highlight the importance of all roles and opportunities that are available within sport. The skills and attributes that can be developed by those who work in sport and coaching is a unique set of transferable skills that are valuable in a variety of roles and open the door to a wide variety of careers and opportunities.’

Students will study at the college’s £3.6million Sports Science complex at the Brooksby Campus, which includes a full-size sports hall, a strength and conditioning gym, an outdoor gym and sports science facilities with a range of performance analysis equipment.

The Leicester Riders Education Programme comes as a welcome addition to the SMB College Group’s other sports partnerships, through which they offer rugby and football programmes with Leicester Tigers and Future Elite Sports, respectively.

Applications for September 2023 are now open! To find out more and register for a Brooksby Campus Open Day, visit the college website at www.smbcollegegroup.ac.uk.

For those interested in this programme, accommodation is available on-site at the Brooksby Campus, in addition to a range of college bus routes and great public transport links across the county.

SMB College Group is a Leicestershire-based Further and Higher Education college with three unique campuses – Stephenson, Melton and Brooksby. The college offers a variety of courses for students aged 16 and over, spanning a range of subjects from Sport to Agriculture to Construction to Performing Arts, and many more.

BBL Championship Preview: Riders at Eagles

The Riders are gearing up for BBL Championship action, heading to the North East to take on the Newcastle Eagles! They look to make it nine wins out of their last 10, to improve their league record to 10-4. 

Riders on the road 

This game will be Leicester’s ninth away fixture of the year. They’ve won 50% of these games, positioning them third in the BBL Championship standings after a recent run of good form. 

A win in this one would make it four on the bounce in all competitions, with the Riders’ offence executing with elite efficiency on this winning streak.  

They lead the BBL in field goal, three-point and free-throw percentage, their offence producing the second most points in the league. 

Their shooting form was on full display in their previous game, as they scored 100 points against the Caledonia Gladiators. Leicester shot 57.6% from the field and 42.1% from three, led by Patrick Whelan’s emphatic 25 points and 10 rebounds.

READ MORE: Riders secure big win vs Gladiators 

The Riders last faced the Eagles in the BBL Cup quarter-final, booking their spot in the semis with a 94-75 win. Marc Loving’s 27 points led the team to the next round, where they will take on the Caledonia Gladiators on December 21. 

Get your tickets here! 

Loving went 10-12 from the floor and 5-5 from three, and will hope for another elite performance in this fixture! 

Eagles’ season so far

Facing their historic rivals is a golden opportunity for the Eagles to get their season on track after a 2-9 start. They enter the game on a four-game winless streak but will take encouragement from their previous fixture. 

It was a closely fought encounter against a talented Caledonia Gladiators team, resulting in an 81-77 loss. The Eagles were up double digits with 7:30 on the clock, but the Gladiators finished strong to secure the win. 

Newcastle was led by Darius Defoe, the most decorated player in BBL history with 27 trophies to his name, who scored 20 points in the tie. The 15-year Eagle rolled back the clock in a vintage performance, as the big man dominated inside to make 66% of his shots. 

The Eagles can take confidence from their ball-sharing ability, as they average the third most assists in the BBL this season. They’ll aim to display their best brand of team basketball to secure a win from the reigning league champions. 

Key matchup 

GB international Patrick Whelan is leading the Riders in scoring for the second straight season, putting up 15.9 points per game on a red-hot 49.3% from deep. 

The Warrington-born shooting guard was named to the Molten BBL Team of the Year last season and has continued his form into his second Riders year. His 25 points in his previous game was a season-high points tally, earning him a place in the BBL ALL-Star Five last week. 

“Pat’s a great player. When he lines up a three-point shot I think it’s going down, and more importantly, he thinks it’s going down,” said coach Rob Paternostro after the game.

“He’s a confident player who’s a team-first guy, and he does a lot of little things. His teammates did a great job of finding him tonight.”

Facing up against him in the backcourt is Newcastle’s leading scorer on the season, Javion Hamlet. The American guard is scoring 19.2 points per game for the Eagles this season and is the fourth-highest scorer in the BBL. 

The former North Texas Mean Green was a two-star recruit coming out of high school but proved all doubters wrong in his college career when he put up 15 points per game as a sophomore. He is an automatic scorer at all three levels and will look for a big scoring night against the Riders. 

Hamlet went off for a season-high 31 points against the Plymouth City Patriots in October and has scored over 25 points on three other occasions this season. 

The 24-year-old can go off for huge numbers on any given night, so Whelan and the Riders will have to bring their best defensive effort against him to slow him down. 

Where to watch

Tip-off is at 7:30, and will be streamed live on the British Basketball Youtube channel! Coverage begins 15 minutes before tip-off. 

Good For The Sole

Leicester Riders Foundation are delighted to announce that we are launching the “Good For The Sole” shoe donation programme.

The aim of the programme is to provide basketball shoes for young people in order to help kickstart their basketball journey.

Tracey Hallam a Trustee of the Foundation hopes that the Riders family will get behind the initiative. “With the cost of living putting increasing financial pressure on families, Good For The Sole is allowing children and young people to access suitable footwear to enable them to play basketball. This is such a great initiative from the Leicester Riders Foundation, I hope the community can get behind this campaign and show your support.”

To donate your shoes either come to the Foundation office and dunk them in the Good For The Sole donation bin or CLICK HERE to donate via our just giving page.

All Girls Basketball Event

The Leicester Riders Foundation is hosting an All Girls basketball Event at the Morningside Arena on Saturday 14th January.

The event is open to girls & women of all abilities, ages 8+, providing opportunities for players to develop their game in a fun, sociable and safe environment with Leicester Riders Foundation community coaches.

CLICK HERE to book your place.

Riders advance to BBL Cup Semi-Final

The Riders got the best of the Newcastle Eagles, winning to advance to the semi-finals of the BBL Cup. 

Marc Loving led the team with 27 points, his fourth 20-point performance on the season. He scored 11 in the first quarter to get the Riders rolling, and went 10-12 from the field and 5-5 from three on the game. 

He was one of two 20-point scorers for Leicester, as Derryck Thornton put up 21 in 25 minutes. The California-born point guard attacked the rim relentlessly, going 8-9 from the free-throw line and 6-12 from the field. 

The Riders put up an efficient and clean offensive effort. They shot 49% from the floor, 43% from three and turned the ball over just eight times to blow out their long-standing rivals. 

Kyle Johnson put up big offensive numbers for the visiting Eagles. The Canadian guard put up 24 points, six rebounds and four assists in an effort to swing the scoreboard in his team’s favour. 

Loving caught fire to get the Riders’ offence firing early, scoring 11 of the team’s first 15 points to pull back an early eight-point deficit. After the slow start, the Ohio native’s electric play got the Riders in rhythm to make a quick recovery. 

They finished the first up 24-20, and the sides continued to trade baskets in the early stages of the second. Thornton was the hot hand midway through the period, making back-to-back buckets, including an and-one on the fastbreak.

With two and a half minutes remaining in the half, Jubril Adekoya, returning to the lineup after missing the previous game through injury, hit a corner three to give Leicester a seven-point lead: their biggest of the night. 

The triple saw momentum shift the Riders’ way, and Kimbal Mackenzie dished a flashy pass to a cutting Darien Nelson-Henry to continue to grow the lead. 

The Riders finished the half on a 10-0 run, going into the locker rooms up 49-37. 

Zach Jackson came out into the second half gunning, scoring nine straight points to put the Riders up 20. Leicester started the third on a 17-6 run, making the run 27-6 since late in the second period. 

Thornton got back to work, taking over from Jackson to bag seven points on the bounce. Mackenzie concluded the period with a two at the rim, as the Riders won the third 29-13. 

The Riders saw the game out comfortably, led by Loving’s six points in the fourth to take a 21-point win. 

The Riders return to league action in their next fixture, heading to Surrey to take on the Scorchers. A win would see them improve to 8-4, and bring the season series against the Scorchers to 2-0. 

LRF offering HAF places on Christmas Camp

As part of our on-going partnership with Leicester City Council we’re offering a number of free places on our Christmas Camp.

In order to be eligible children must live in Leicester, be aged between 8 to 16 and in full-time education are receiving benefits related free school meals.

CLICK HERE to register.

Academy Fixtures: November 12th & 13th



U16 Boys II v Milton Keynes – 13:00 Tip at Morningside Arena


U14 Girls v Encon Derbyshire Arrows – 11:00 Tip at Morningside Arena

U14 Boys Premier v Manchester Magic – 13:00 Tip at Morningside Arena

U 16 Girls Premier v Newcastle Eagles – 13:30 Tip at Vertu Motors Arena

U16 Boys Premier v York Eagles – 15:00 Tip at Morningside Arena

U18 Men v Derby Trailblazers II – 14:00 Tip at Derby College

Academy players feature on CITV’s Makeaway Takeaway

A number of our LRF Academy players and coaches have featured in the latest episode of CITV’s children’s arts and crafts show Makeaway Takeaway.

The episode was filmed at the Morningside Arena as the players joined presenter Bec Hill in creating a piece of art using basketballs in an attempt to wow coaches Greg & Damon.

The full episode is available to watch on the ITV Hub, CLICK HERE to see what they got up to.

Academy Fixtures: November 5th & 6th



U16 Boys Premier at Manchester Giants – 11:00 Tip at Hough End, Mauldeth Road

U14 Girls at Nottingham Wildcats – 11:00 Tip at Nottingham Wildcats Arena

U12 Mixed at City of Birmingham Rockets – 12:20 Tip at Nechells Centre


U13 Boys at Daventry Swifts – 10:30 Tip at Parker E ACT Academy

U16 Boys II v Northants Thunder – 11:00 Tip at Morningside Arena

U16 Girls Premier v Manchester Mystics II – 13:00 Tip at Morningside Arena

U14 Boys Premier at Newcastle Eagles – 14:30 Tip at Vertu Motors Arena

U14 Boys II v Mansfield Giants – 15:00 Tip at Morningside Arena

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

LRF host Lancaster Academy aspiration day

40 students from The Lancaster Academy joined us at the Morningside Arena on Wednesday morning for an aspiration day with our Foundation staff.

The morning began with a tour of the Arena followed by 3 talks from our Foundation staff on their journey to their current role within the Leicester Riders Foundation. After their talks, the students took part in an hour on court with our coaches working on dribbling and shooting followed by some game play.

Following their session on court the day was rounded off with a 30 minute Q&A with Mo Walker of the Leicester Riders men’s team. The Q&A provided a fantastic opportunity for the students to learn about his story and what it takes to be successful in your chosen field.

Baby Ballers is back!

Baby Ballers makes a return on Thursday November 17th as we begin another 5 week block.

The sessions take place 10-11am at the Morningside Arena (LE1 3UL) and our coached by our Leicester Riders Foundation coaches. Baby Ballers is a family session; you are welcome to bring family members/ friends/siblings to watch.

CLICK HERE to book your child onto our next block.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Community Sessions Are Back

Our Leicester Riders Foundation Community Sessions are back ahead of the 2022/23 season.

CLICK HERE to book onto our sessions!


Loughborough PL Kicks, Ages 12-17, 19:30-20:30 at Charnwood College, Thorpe hill, Loughborough, LE11 4SQ

Late Night Hoops, 18+, 21:00-22:30 at Morningside Arena


She Got Game, Ages 12-17, 17:30-19:00 at Morningside Arena

He Got Game, Ages 12-17, 17:30-19:00 at Morningside Arena

Inclusive Basketball, 18+, 20:30-22:00 at Morningside Arena


Junior Open Court, 17:00-18:00 at Morningside Arena

Walking Basketball, 18:00-19:30 at Morningside Arena

Adult Basketball, 19:30-21:00, 30+ at Morningside Arena

Late Night Hoops, 21:00-22:30, 18+ at Morningside Arena


Baby Ballers, 10:00-11:00, Ages 1-3 at Morningside Arena

Fundamental Hoops, Ages 8-11, 16:30-17:30 at Morningside Arena

Mini Ballers, 17:00-18:00, Ages 4-7 at Morningside Arena


Beaumont Leys Free Friday Night Hoops, 17:00-19:00, Ages 12-17 at Beaumont Leys School, Anstey Ln, Leicester LE4 0FL

New College PL Kicks, 18:00-19:30, Ages 12-17 at New College Leicester, Glenfield Rd, Leicester LE3 6DN


St Matthews PL Kicks, 10:00-11:30, Ages 12-17 at St Mattews Centre, Malabar Road, Leicester, LE1 2PD

CLICK HERE to book onto our sessions!

LRF hosting Teacher Meet & Greet

Leicester Riders Foundation are hosting a Teacher Meet & Greet at the Morningside Arena on Thursday 13th October.

The Meet & Greet provides a great to explore all the great education packages and opportunities we can deliver in your school.

CLICK HERE to book your place!

JNL Academy Coaching Appointments

We are delighted to announce our JNL Academy Coaching appointments ahead of the 2022/23 season.

Leicester Riders Foundation would still like to appoint more assistant coaches and team managers for the 2022/23 season. Please get in touch with Head of Academy, Steven Mroso via email [email protected].


U12s Boys – Head Coach: Tom Fairey

U12 Girls – Head Coach: Ben Loft

U13s Boys – YBL – Head Coach: Aaran Kahlon

U14s Boys II – Head Coach: Ricardo Silva 

U14s Boys – Head Coach: Damon Taylor

U14s Girls – Head Coach: Matt Barwell

U15s Boys – Head Coach: Jake Burfoot

U16s Boys II – Head Coach: Pietro Tomajer

U16s Boys – Head Coach: Steven Mroso 

Assistant Coaches: Emo Westerby & Paul Hodgkinson

U16s Girls II – Head Coach: Natalie Narrinen

Assistant Coach: Ryan Evans

U16 Girls – Head Coach: Lewis Atkins

U18 Men – Head Coach: Greg Ellis

Team will begin the preparation for the new season with pre season fixtures at the Morningside Arena on September 3rd & 4th.

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

JNL Academy to host Pre-season Fixtures

September 3rd & 4th will be a busy weekend at the Morningside Arena as we host Pre-season fixtures for our JNL Academy Teams ahead of the 2022/23 season. 10 teams from 7 clubs across 3 different age groups will be in attendance as teams begin their preparation for the new season.

Newly appointed Head of Academy Steven Mroso is excited at the prospect of a competitive set of pre season fixtures. “I am looking forward to see the majority of our teams in action for the weekend, We have invited some good quality teams so we should see quality competition and give myself the opportunity to see where we are as a club”

Saturday 3rd September

Under 14 Girls v Bromsgrove Bears, Court 2, 12:00 Tip

Under 16 Girls Premier v COB Rockets, Court 2, 14:00 Tip

Under 16 Boys Premier v Stourport Spartans, Court 2, 16:00 Tip

Under 14 Boys v Northamptonshire Titans, Court 3, 12:00 Tip

Under 16 Girls II v Bromsgrove Bears, Court 3, 14:00 Tip

Under 18s Men II v Gloucester Saxons, Court 3, 16:00 Tip

Sunday 4th September

Under 14 Boys Premier v Manchester Giants, Court 2, 12:00 Tip

Under 16 Girls Premier v Liverpool, Court 2, 14:00 Tip

Under 16 Boys Premier v Cheshire Phoenix, Court 2, 16:00 Tip

Under 16 Boys II v Liverpool, Court 3, 12:00 Tip

Under 18 Men v Liverpool, Court 3, 16:00 Tip

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

Powell To Step Up For Riders

Leicester Riders are pleased to confirm that GB U18 forward Erin Powell will step up and be part of their roster for the upcoming WBBL Season.

Powell is set to start her second year at Charnwood College having averaged 10.3ppg & 13rpg in the WEABL last season where she was voted Northern Conference U17 Player of the Year. She also made 15 appearances for the Loughborough Riders in WNBL D1 last year.

Powell looked set to be part of the GB U18 team playing in the European Championships in Sofia this summer but unfortunately, a late injury saw her replaced in the squad.

Powell is excited at the prospect of playing WBBL:

“I am super excited for the new season and really looking forward to playing for Coach Krumesh. I’m preparing my best both mentally and physically to succeed. I’m looking forward to meeting and bonding with the new team. It will be great to experience a higher level of basketball as I strive to improve myself as much as possible throughout the season”

Coach Krumesh Patel is looking forward to seeing Powell progress:

“It is always important to support the pathway for younger players. Erin has demonstrated great growth and being with the WBBL squad will allow her to continue that. She had a great summer and impressed the GB coaches. We are looking forward to having her with us because she has a great work ethic, and we are excited to see her continue to grow and develop.”

NCS Wave 1 donate Pizzas to the Homeless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LRF present schools Champions partnership plaques

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schools awarded:

Hope Hamilton Church of England

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School

St Mary fields Primary School

All Saints Church of England Primary School

St Clares Roman CAtholic Primary School

Wreake Valley Academy

Ashby Hilltop Primary School

Uplands Junior LEAD Academy

Taylor Road Primary School

Glenhills Primary School

Quorn Hall School

North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College


Vista Children and Young people

Heather Primary School

Birkett House School

Ellesmere College

Foxfields Academy

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

Forest House School

Beaumont Lodge Primary

Wigston Academy

RavenHurst Primary

Fosse Mead Primary School

Bishop Challenor College

Foalville Primary

King Richards

Humberstone junior Academy

LRF host Summer Camp Series

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

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

LRF Beaumont Leys Summer Camp

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

25th – 28th July, 10am – 4pm

8 – 16 years old

£20 per day / £60 all four days

Click here to book!

LRF Beauchamp Summer Camp

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

1st – 5th August, 10am – 4pm

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

Click here to book!

LRF All Saints Mini Camp

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

10th – 12th August, 10am – 1pm

7 – 11 years old
£22 all three days

Click here to book!

LRF Morningside Arena Summer Camp 

15th – 17th August, 10am – 4pm

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

Click here to book!

British Basketball League Launches League Ambassadors programme

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the British Basketball League and BBL Inspires:

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

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

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

The current franchises are:

– Bristol Flyers

– Cheshire Phoenix

– Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks

–  Leicester Riders

– London Lions

– Manchester Giants

–  Newcastle Eagles

–  Plymouth City Patriots

–  B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

–  Surrey Scorchers

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

About Sport England:

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

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


Sunday’s action saw the Riders take on the Nottingham Wildcats in the first round of the WBBL Playoffs in a win or go home thriller. Both teams fought valiantly and it was the Wildcats who prevailed 81-69. The Riders showed tremendous effort throughout. 

Both Oceana Hamilton and Hannah Robb had 19 points. They were a two headed monster for this Riders team as Hamilton owned the paint on both ends and Robb, who poured in jump shot after jump shot. 

From the start, Nottingham came out hot behind a flurry of long range shots and smothering defense. Nottingham continued throughout the first half on this pace, though the Rider’s defense held the Wildcats to 17 second quarter points in comparison to the first quarters’ 27. 

As the Riders headed to the locker room for half time they trailed 44-28. With their season on the line, the Riders came back out as a team on a mission. They won the third quarter 25-11 to bring the lead to 53-55. For a team that trailed by 19 at one point, their ability to rally and re-enter this game was the antithesis of the heart this team plays with. 

Nottingham was able to rally in the fourth and beat the Riders 81-69. Though their season is over it was far from a failure. When asked about the season head coach Marg Jones said this…

“The league has demonstrated a tremendous amount of parity this season and for our young team to finish top 4 in the standings is a testament to the determination, perseverance and hard work of the players” 

Even though the outcome was not what they had wished for there are no heads down in the Rider’s locker room. They are proud of the basketball they played and played down to the last buzzer. 

Personally, I’ve followed this team for a while and they played this season with passion. Their unselfish identity, defensive versatility and intensity accompanied by a never give up mindset. The Riders had a fantastic season and I can’t wait to see them come back with the same heart next season. 

Congratulations to the Nottingham Wildcats for advancing to the next round of the playoffs, and congratulations to the Riders who played a fantastic season. 

Match report written by Rob Field.

Riders defeat Eagles to close in on league title

The Riders are a win away from their second straight league title, after beating the Newcastle Eagles, 103-77. With the win, the Riders sweep the season series against their long-standing rivals 3-0, winning each of the games by over 20 while scoring over 100 points. 

Darien Nelson-Henry led the Riders after a dominant first half, putting up 17 points and five rebounds, not missing a shot as he went 8-8 from the field. Leicester had seven players score in double digits in an emphatic team display. 

In 25 minutes of play, MVP Geno Crandall put up a near triple-double showing with 12 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, GB sharpshooter Patrick Whelan made everyone better, finishing with a +/- of 28. 

Leicester attacked the basket all night long to great effect, as they shot a scorching hot 73% on two-point shots. They got easy buckets on the fastbreak, scoring 37 fastbreak points by snatching 11 steals. 

For the Eagles, Justin Gordan and Rahmon Fletcher scored 21 each in their side’s losing effort. Gordon nearly had a triple-double of his own, with nine rebounds and seven assists, but the Charlotte-born forward’s play still left Newcastle short in a heavy defeat for the hosts. 

The Riders’ got to work on their gameplan from the tip, attacking the hoop to get the action underway. Their first six baskets came in close, and the paint wide open for the Riders to attack, the opposite was true on the other end, as Leicester blocked two shots in the opening five minutes. 

All of Leicester’s starters got on the board in five minutes, their team play seeing them through a tightly fought first quarter. But a monster 16-0 run at the end of the period, led by five points from Geno Crandall, allowed the Riders to establish their first lead of the night, as they ended the first up 28-14. 

After finishing the first quarter with a steal and a basket, Jubril Adekoya came up with another steal and four more points at the start of the second, the Valparaiso graduate capitalising on his side’s momentum. 

Leicester continued their hot streak, as Kimbal Mackenzie caught fire to score 10 points in five minutes and stretch the lead. The Riders found themselves up 23 four minutes into the second. 

Nelson-Henry showed off his passing skills midway through the period, making the play of the first half with a behind the back dish to a cutting Zach Jackson. He got to work on the next possession, the captain getting his back to the basket and laying the ball in for his seventh points of the night. 

The Eagles fought back behind two-time MVP Fletcher towards the end of the half, going on a 13-2 run, with the seven-year Eagle scoring eight. The Newcastle run meant it was a 58-43 Riders lead entering the locker rooms. 

The Riders started the second half with suffocating defence, getting two steals, finished off by two fast-break buckets from Crandall. They put up 12 quick points to re-establish their 20 point lead, as a Patrick Whelan three caused an early Eagles timeout. 

Whelan continued his hot stretch, the Riders’ points leader scoring five points out of the timeout to continue the Leicester run. The William Jewell graduate had ten in the quarter, as Leicester cruised into the final period.

It was Crandall’s turn to show off his flashy playmaking skills, as his behind the back pass to Mo Walker down low gave him his 10th assist of the evening. The Riders won the third 26-13, entering the final quarter up 84-58. 

Walker came out aggressively in the fourth, scoring the Riders’ first seven points of the quarter. Leicester stretched the lead to 30, as they continued to play hard until the final buzzer against their rivals. Loughborough’s Evan Walshe checked into the game, and his bucket put the Riders over the 100 point tally in a blowout win. 

The Riders could be crowned league champions before their next fixture, should the London Lions lose their Sunday night clash against the Sheffield Sharks. Should London win, Leicester will get a shot at back-to-back titles on Tuesday, with a win against the Plymouth City Patriots enough to secure their sixth BBL Championship title. 

Preview: Riders at Eagles

Season So Far – Riders

The Riders are two wins away from retaining their BBL Championship title, sitting top of the table with a 19-2 record.  A blowout win against the Scorchers in their previous game brought them one step closer to the silverware. 

Patrick Whelan led them in the game with 23 points, the GB sharpshooter scored an emphatic 47 points in a back to back over the weekend. These performances have been consistent of Whelan all season long, as he leads the Riders in scoring with 16.1 points per game on 48.7% three-point shooting. 

Whelan’s efforts has helped Leicester to the best offensive record in the BBL, with the team scoring 90.2 points per game. They have dominated on both ends, also possessing the best defensive record in the league, giving up just 70.5 points a contest. 

A win against their long-standing rivals in this one could be enough to secure the league title, should the London Lions lose one of their upcoming fixtures against Newcastle or Bristol. It will certainly bring the league to within touching distance however the results fall. 

Season So Far – Eagles

This season will not go down as one of the more successful years for the esteemed Eagles franchise. They sit third bottom of the league table with an 8-11 record, and have gone trophyless through the season so far. 

Defence has been the area of concern for Newcastle. They give up 90.6 per game, leaving them near the bottom of the BBL’s defensive rankings. Should they resolve their issues on that end, they will feel confident of making a playoff run, as they rank third in the offence charts, scoring 87 per game. 

Justin Gordan has led the Eagles after rejoining the team midseason. Gordon enjoyed a successful stint in Newcastle last year, and took a half-season away in Hungary before returning to Tyneside.  The 6’6” two-guard is the BBL’s third leading scorer, putting up 18.5 points per game. 

A win in this game will snap a three game losing streak for the Eagles, as they look to secure a playoff place. 

One To Watch – Riders

Sealing the deal with eight points in the final quarter against the Scorchers, Conner Washington showcased the value he has brought to the Riders over his 11 years in Leicester. 

The GB guard has won 12 trophies with the Riders, and was named to the BBL All Defensive team and All British First Team in the 2016/17 season. The Bedford born point guard is known as a two way threat, still able to lock up the best guards the BBL has to offer, while draining shots from deep on the other end. 

Washington had 11 points, three rebounds and three assists in his previous game, and will look to put on another solid showing in this one. 

One To Watch – Eagles 

An ever present feature of the Eagles over the last decade, two-time BBL MVP Rahmon Fletcher is continuing to put up big numbers in his seventh season in Newcastle. The 33 year old point guard is leading the BBL in assists with 10.4 per game. 

Fletcher is a graduate of the Green Bay Phoenix, where he graduated averaging 15.6 points in his senior year. After two season’s in the Netherlands with B.A. Limburg, he signed with the Eagles in 2014. Despite taking a year out in 2017 to play in Slovakia, Fletcher has played every other season since 2014 in Newcastle, helping the BBL’s most decorated franchise to yet more success. 

A gritty player on both ends, Fletcher is a team-first guard, able to play elite defence and set his teammates up to great effect on offence. Fletcher hold the record for the most BBL team of the year appearances, with five, and his two MVPs are tied for the most in BBL history. 

Previous Meeting

The teams last met in December, with the Riders taking a convincing 100-72 home win. Geno Crandall led Leicester with 22 points, as the Riders had six players scoring in double digits. 

For Newcatsle, former Rider Corey Johnson put up a team high 15 points, his efforts failing to inspire a comeback for his team. 

Riders defeat Scorchers for second win of the weekend

The Riders are two wins away from a second straight league title, after convincingly beating the Surrey Scorchers on the road. Patrick Whelan led the game with

Whelan wasn’t the only Rider player to reach the 20 point mark, as Mo Walker put up a season high 20 points in as many minutes off the bench. The Uni of Minnesota big man grabbed eight rebounds to pair with his points tally in an impressive effort. 

It was raining threes for Leicester, as they knocked down 16 threes in the game in a red hot scoring effort. Whelan made six, and Washington drained three of his own as Leicester scored over 100 points for the eighth league game this season. 

For Surrey, Stanley Davis Jr put on a show with 23 points. The Morgan State two-guard had nine rebounds and eight assists in a near triple-double effort, while taking just nine shots.  

Despite Davis Jr’s play, it was a convincing win from start to finish, as Leicester won every quarter on the way to a blowout. After falling in a 6-0 hole with a quick Scorchers start, Marc Loving and Patrick Whelan kicked off the Riders’ response with eight points between them in two minutes. 

The pairing’s play clicked Leicester’s BBL-best offence into gear, as they commenced a 15-2 run to take an early advantage. 

Whelan went off in the first, hitting all four of his threes in the opening period of the game. The William Jewell graduate scored 14 of the Riders’ 28 first-quarter points, as Leicester got off to a hot start, entering the second up 10. 

Following up six points in as many minutes in the first, Walker continued his work down low in the second, starting the quarter with two made free-throws. As the Leicester lead grew, the Scorchers made a run back into the game, led by four points from 10-year Scorcher legend Tayo Ogendengbe, cutting a 20 point Riders lead to 13. 

In response, the Riders took back the game’s momentum via a five-point burst from Whelan. Bucknall graduate Kimal Mackenzie ended the period for Leicester how it started, with a pair of free throws to make it 54-39 in the Riders’ favour. 

Geno Crandall started the second half from deep, getting the Riders underway with a quick three. He made two in the quarter as the reigning MVP locked in offensively, scoring nine points in the third. 

The Riders won the period 26-16, extending their lead further to set up a comfortable finish. Walker added four more points to his tally in the closing stages of the quarter to make it 80-58 by the buzzer. 

Walker added another two to start the fourth, working down low to maintain the Riders’ offensive momentum. Leicester saw out the game comfortably, as GB guard Conner Washington scored eight to seal a dominant win.

Loughborough’s Evan Walshe ended the game with a three from the corner, as the Riders improve to 19-2 on the season. 

They head to Newcastle on Tuesday, hoping to better their rivals and take another step towards their sixth league title. 

Preview: Riders at Scorchers

Season So Far – Riders

After a win against Bristol the day previous to this fixture, the Riders are three wins away from retaining their BBL Championship table. They possess an 18-2 record, and the best offence and defence in the BBL. 

A huge clutch win against the Bristol Flyers put them one game closer in their previous fixture. Leicester earned an 87-82 win after Geno Crandall blocked Trejon Jacob’s three-point effort in the dying seconds, before Zach Jackson sealed the deal with a breakaway jam. 

Patrick Whelan led the Riders in the game with 23 points, as he has done all season. he’s putting up 15.7 points and five rebounds a game on 47.3% shooting, a career year for the William Jewell graduate. 

“We had a great reaction when things weren’t going our way. It lit a fire under the team and that’s going to be a key for us going into the playoffs,” said Whelan after the Flyers win. 

“We have one hand on the trophy, but we’re going to take it game by game as we have all season. We’ll go to Surrey tomorrow and try and get the dub.”

Season So Far – Scorchers

The Scorchers prop up the BBL Championship table, possessing a 2-15 record and having won one of their last 11 games. This is the second game of a back to back against the Riders for Surrey, and they will hope for a better result this time around. 

It was an 80-62 Riders win, in a game that was within single digits late until the Riders pulled away. It made the season series between the sides 2-0 in Leicester’s favour, with both games being won convincingly. 

Stanley Davis Jr has led the team through the season with 16.7 points per game, the Morgan State point guard putting up 6.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists to stuff the stat sheet. Davis Jr’s productions will provide little solace for Surrey, however, who rank last in offensive production with just 72.9 points per game. 

Despite their record leaving them out of playoff contention, a win against the league leaders would go a long way towards turning the Scorchers’ season around. 

One To Watch – Riders

Stepping up in the biggest moment of the Riders’ previous game, Geno Crandall’s MVP talents were on full display in the clutch. Picking up the red hot Trejon Jacob one on one with 10 seconds remaining, Crandall forced Jacob into a tough, contested three-point attempt, which Crandall blocked to seal the game.

Crandall has been one of the BBL’s premier playmakers this season, ranking top five in the league in assists, dishing 6.8 per game. He has shown his prowess on both ends, ranking top three in steals with two per game. 

The Gonzaga graduate has led the Riders to their successes all season long, continually putting winning ahead of statistical accolades. He has earned in his fair share of individual success, winning the BBL Cup final MVP to help the Riders to their first silverware of the season. 

‘The General’ will look to lead the Riders to the win in this one, to take a big step towards retaining their BBL Championship title. 

One To Watch – Scorchers

Joining the Scorchers in Febuary, Desmond Ringer has hit the ground running for his new team. He is averaging 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, ranking second on his team in both categories. 

The Mercer graduate, who led Eagles Landing to their first ever state championship in high school, is playing in his second pro season, after competing in France last year. 

Standing at 6’9”, Ringer is a versatile offensive threat, able to take defenders off the dribble and pull up from deep. He is able to run the floor, with his vision and passing ability allowing him to make plays for his team. 

He provides a headache for any defence he goes up against, with his size and strength combined with his shooting creating mismatches with most defenders. The Riders will need to guard Ringer close to prevent him from continuing his hot streak. 

Previous Meeting 

The sides last met last time the Riders went on the road, the game going Leicester way with an 82-60 win. The Riders locked in to hold Surrey to nine points in the final period after the teams entered the fourth with the game in the balance.

Darien Nelson-Henry dominated down low, scoring 21 points in 26 minutes. For Surrey, Desmond Ringer scored 14 in his team’s efforts, as the Riders took a 2-0 advantage in the season series. 

Riders edge Flyers to open the weekend with a win

The Riders won a hard-fought battle against the Bristol Flyers, finishing 87-82 victors. Patrick Whelan led the team with 23 points, going 5-10 from the field and 11-11 from the free-throw line. 

With 11 seconds left and up three, Geno Crandall sealed the win for the Riders with a clutch block on Trejon Jacob. Leicester blocked nine shots on the game, this one the most pivotal as they improve to 18-2. 

In the absence of Flyers’ star Marcus Evans, who served a one-game suspension in this one, Trejon Jacob stepped up in the Bristol backcourt. He had 17 points and six assists in his team’s efforts, hitting two big threes in the clutch to keep it close. 

Three more wins will secure the Riders’ second-straight BBL Championship, as they sit 12 points clear atop the table. They fought back against a hot Flyers start to take a big step towards the silverware. 

It was Josh Rogers who led them out the gate, the sharpshooter put up eight points in three minutes to give Bristol an early edge. 

With the Riders in a 14-5 hole in the opening five minutes, the captain, Darien Nelson-Henry, stepped up to give his side a jolt of momentum. He scored four quick points after a Leicester timeout to bring the game to within five. 

But despite the big man’s efforts, the Flyers’ offence remained in a rhythm through the rest of the first. They shot 65% in the quarter, to take a 32-21 lead into the second. 

Leicester fell back on their league-leading defence to get back into the game. Steals on three straight possessions got the home crowd on their feet, as a Marc Loving off-balance three cut the deficit to single digits. 

The Riders continued their charge back into the game, locking down on defence to go on a 12-0 run. Patrick Whelan’s free-throws gave Leicester their first lead since early in the first, after Loving scored eight on the Riders’ run to give them a 46-43 halftime lead. 

The teams to start the second half, as the score stayed locked within a possession for the entirety of the third. Mo Walker scored four to close out the period, while the Flyers’ Mike Miller dropped eight before going down with a leg injury. 

Zach Simmons closed the third with a pair of three throws, to send the game into the final quarter with the score 64-61 to the visitors. 

The Riders took the game by the horns in the fourth, going on an 8-0 run to start the quarter and take the first two-possession lead of the second half. Running the fastbreak, Jubril Adekoya sent the crowd into a frenzy by finishing hard at the hoop through contact, making an and-one play. 

The Flyers came back, making three contested threes to take a narrow lead with two minutes left. It was time for the MVP to take the reigns, as Crandall drained a running three-pointer early in the shot clock to take an 81-79 lead. 

With 11 seconds left and the score 83-82 to Leicester, Nelson-Henry went to the line and made both, coming up clutch for his team. With the game on the line, Crandall came up with a huge block, and Jackson knocked down two more free throws to seal a hard-earned Riders win. 

“We had a great reaction when things weren’t going our way. It lit a fire under the team and that’s going to be a key for us going into the playoffs,” said Whelan post-game. 

“We have one hand on the trophy, but we’re going to take it game by game as we have all season. We’ll go to Surrey tomorrow and try and get the dub.”

Preview: Riders v Flyers

Season So Far – Riders

With eight games remaining, the Riders are strong favourites to retain their BBL Championship title. They sit 10 points clear atop the table with a 17-2 record, with a game in hand on the Manchester Giants below. 

Leicester possesses the best statistical record on both ends, scoring 89.7 points while giving up just 69.6. Their defensive prowess was on full display in their previous fixture, as they bested the Surrey Scorchers 82-60 on the road. 

It was an 11 point game going into the fourth, but the Riders held the Scorchers to just nine points in the final quarter to secure the win. Riders captain Darien Nelson-Henry led them to the win, scoring his 1000th BBL points with 21 in the game. 

On the season, it is William Jewell sniper Patrick Whelan who is leading Leicester. His 15.3 points per game, on 48% three-point shooting, has been integral to the Riders’ league-leading success thus far. 

“We know there are not many games left. We’re in a great position and we’ve got to keep going,” said coach Rob Paternostro postgame. “One thing I love about these guys is that they are not bothered by any of the noise. They’re not worried about who we’re playing, they come out and play professionally.”

The Riders will need every ounce of that professionalism to come away with the win in this one. 

Season So Far – Flyers

The Flyers have a shot at rising up the ranks of the BBL Championship table, having played five games less than the second-placed Manchester Giants and being eight points behind. Their defensive know-how has been the key to their consistency this season, as they rank third in the BBL by giving up just 77 points per game. 

The Flyers are 8-2 when they hold their opponents to under 80 points this season. Trejon Jacob sets the defensive tone on the perimeter for Bristol, the FIU graduate ranking fourth in the BBL in steals, with two per game. 

On the offensive end, the Flyers have struggled to establish a rhythm, scoring the fewest points per game in the BBL. Marcus Evans leads them in scoring with 15.9 points per game, but he will sit out this game to serve a one-game suspension. 

Without their leading man, the emphasis on slowing down the Riders’ league-leading offence is even greater for the Flyers, should they want to start their potential rise up the table. 

One To Watch – Riders

Returning from injury in the Riders’ previous game, Mo Walker left his mark on the Scorchers down low on limited minutes. The Minnesota graduate scored eight points in the first half, muscling his defender in the paint. 

Coach Rob Paternostro reflected on his center’s efforts: “Mo’s first half set us up and put us in a great position. He was unstoppable for a time, and it really helped us get the lead.”

“We like a lot of his matchups every game, and we knew he could get good position down low, and he’s so skilled down there.”

The Canadian/British big man has been a vital component to Leicester’s success this season. He leads the BBL in winning percentage and also tops the league charts in index rating per 100 possessions. 

Walker brings a wealth of experience to the Riders roster, having played in Italy, France and the NBA summer league with the Orlando Magic after graduating college. At the Uni of Minnesota, Walker led the team in rebounding and blocks, and came second in the scoring charts in his senior year. 

“Big Mo’s” return to light a spark in the Riders in the closing stages of the season, as his contributions to winning are contagious throughout the team. 

One To Watch – Flyers

With his defensive efforts ranking among the best in the BBL, Trejon Jacob has announced himself as an elite talent on both ends in his first professional season. The Louisianna born guard is scoring 15.6 points per game on 39% three-point shooting, and leading the Flyers with 8.3 rebounds a game. 

Jacob enjoyed a successful college career. He scored 451 points as a sophomore at FIU, the second-most in college history. He finished his senior year with 11.6 points per game before graduating and signing with the Flyers. 

Jacob has gone off for 20 on three occasions this season, and in his previous game put up a 17 point, 11 rebound double-double against the Sheffield Sharks. The 6’5” sharpshooter has a quick trigger from deep, and can explode for high volume three-point shooting, as demonstrated by the seven threes he made against the Cheshire Phoenix in Febuary. 

Last time against the Riders, Jacob had 17 points and six rebounds and will be hoping for another big performance in the absence of his backcourt running mate, Evans. 

Previous Meeting

The last time these teams met, the game went down to the final buzzer, with the Riders taking a narrow 78-75 victory. Zach Jackson led Leicester with 28 points and hit a go-ahead step-back three with less than a minute remaining to win the game for the Riders. 

Evans led the fight for Bristol, scoring 18 points. The backcourt pairing of he and Jacob scored 35 points, but Evans’ three at the buzzer was too long as the Riders took home a hard-fought victory. 


The Leicester Riders took on the Durham Palatinates in a tight, back and forth contest which saw the Riders losing 85-70 after they were unable to answer the second half run of the Palatinates. 

The Riders were off to a quick start in the first, behind good efficiency and a balanced scoring effort they managed to gain a quick lead whilst holding the Palatinates at bay with their stellar team defense. 

The Riders shared the ball well as they attacked the rim. Their team coordination gave them an edge and their first quarter efforts put them up 21-14 as they entered the second quarter. 

The Palatinates opened the second with a run of their own. They came back to tie the game up 29-29 with 4 minutes left to play in the second. In those last 4 minutes, Alison Lewis put up 6 points and a three point dagger by Brooklynn Mcalear-Fanus to close the half put the riders up 34-39. 

The third quarter commenced and both teams were looking to make their move to take and maintain a lead. The Palatinates came out quick and tied the game up, both teams took turns going back and forth with the lead. 

If the Palatinates hit a three, the Riders would come down and match it with one of their own. However, the Palatinates pulled ahead in the last 2 minutes of the third to put them up 61-56 behind a flurry of three point shots. 

Going into the fourth a quick Makana Stone layup and Alison Lewis 3 pointer tied the game up with 8 minutes to play in the fourth. Both teams again took turns fighting for the lead and tied the game 3 more times in the fourth. 

Both teams went scoreless from the 5 minutes mark till the 3:30 mark when the Palatinates began a scoring onslaught to take a commanding lead and finish the game strong. They were led by Goretti Hurtado Barbeito who had 25 points and Katie Bennet who had 18 points and 12 assists. 

The final buzzer sounded with a score of 85-70, but don’t let the final score fool you. This game was tied until the final 3 minutes when one team’s shots fell and the others didn’t. The Riders put up a great fight. Alison Lewis had 15 points off the bench and another double double from Oceana Hamilton headlined the Rider’s efforts. 

It was a tough loss, but a good fight. Go get ’em next time Riders!

Match Report written by Rob Field

Riders win on the road in Surrey

The Riders improved their BBL best record to 17-2, beating the Surrey Scorchers 82-60 on the road. 

Darien Nelson-Henry led the team with 21 points and five rebounds, not missing a shot as he went 8-8 from the field. Nelson-Henry’s shooting was consistent throughout the team, as Leicester enjoyed a characteristically efficient shooting night, going 56% from the field. 

Entering the final quarter with a slight advantage, the Riders flexed their league-leading defence to seal the win. They held Surrey to just nine points in the final period, as the Scorchers went 3-11 from the floor and turned it over six times. 

The game marked the return of Mo Walker from injury, who put in a solid effort in limited minutes. The Minnesota graduate scored eight points in the first half, muscling his defender in the paint. 

Coach Rob Paternostro reflected on his center’s efforts: “Mo’s first half set us up and put us in a great position. He was unstoppable for a time, and it really helped us get the lead. 

We liked his matchups today, especially against the second unit. We like a lot of his matchups every game, and we knew he could get good position down low, and he’s so skilled down there.” 

After a tough Riders shooting stint to start the game, Marc Loving took the lid off the basket. He threw down a monster alley-oop slam to send the Leicester bench into a frenzy, before converting an and-one play to keep the early score close. 

Building off his teammate’s play, Walker made his first buckets after returning from injury. The Canadian/British big man scored six in three minutes to give the Riders a 21-17 lead to end the period. 

Loving came out into the second quarter in attack mode, getting to the line twice in three minutes including another and-one play. Spurred on by the Ohio State graduate’s play, the Riders took their first double-digit lead of the night, courtesy of Patrick Whelan’s three. 

On the next play, Loving came up with the play of the game. Following up Whelan’s missed layup, Loving rose high over Sol Rolls-Tyson, and threw the ball down two-handed on the 6’8” forward’s head, silencing the home crowd. 

The Riders rode a wave of momentum from the play, and entered the locker rooms up 45-30. 

After a 6-0 Scorchers start to the second half, the Riders attacked the hoop to put their opponents in early foul trouble and reestablish their lead at the free-throw line. Crandall ran the offence with his elite playmaking, showing off his flashy passing by throwing an assist over his head to Zach Jackson on the perimeter. 

But the Scorchers responded, getting to the line themselves to great effect to take eight free-throws in three minutes, cutting the difference to single digits. Kimbal Mackenzie ended the period with a layup for the Riders, ending the third with the score 62-51 in Leicester’s favour. 

Mackenzie carried his form into the final period, scoring five points in two and a half minutes. But Surrey continued to get to the line, and Stanley Davis Jr’s foul shouts cut the Riders’ lead to nine. 

In response, with five minutes left in the game, Whelan scored five quick points to give Leicester a firmer grip on the game. After Whelan’s burst of offence, the Riders went on a 10-0 run, all but sealing the win. 

The win brings the Riders a step closer to retaining their league title, with just eight games left to play.

“We know there are not many games left. We’re in a great position and we’ve got to keep going. One thing I love about these guys is that they are not bothered by any of the noise,” said coach Rob postgame 

“They’re not worried about who we’re playing, they come out and play professionally. Coming off last week’s game, which was a heartbreaker, and come out here and dominate as we did was excellent.”