Riders’ home games selected for Sky Sports coverage

Four Riders home games have been selected for live Sky Sports coverage.

The home games selected are:

Thursday, October 26 vs Surrey Scorchers

Friday, November 10 vs London Lions

Friday, December 1 vs London Lions

Friday, December 15 vs Caledonia Gladiators

See the full 2023 British Basketball League Sky Sports schedule below.

The games will be available on Sky Sports and the Sky Sports YouTube channel.

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home fixture!

Abel Alarm sponsor Riders

Leicester Riders are delighted to welcome Abel to the Riders’ family. 

Abel is a leading provider of electronic security systems for homes and business premises.

From intruder and fire alarms, to access control and CCTV systems and the very latest premium home automation products, thousands of people have trusted Abel to protect their families, businesses and their assets since 1965.

Joel Mulloy, Managing Director of Abel, commented: “From one team to another, we are delighted to join hands with a local sports team and support the Leicester Riders.

“After all of their incredible achievements over the past few years, we are proud and excited to support the talent they bring to our city over this next season.”

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

Report: Riders beat Patriots

The Riders claimed their first victory of the 2023/24 British Basketball Championship with an 88-81 defeat of the Plymouth Patriots.

An all-action fourth quarter, that saw Rob Paternostro’s men outscore their opponents 29-16, secured the win over a Plymouth team that led by nine points at halftime. 

TJ Lall dropped a team-high 14 points for the Riders in an efficient display which saw him hit 66% from the field.

The Ontario native was joined in double figures by Xavier Pinson, Jaren Holmes and Braelen Bridges as the Riders’ showed their ability to spread the scoring.

A particularly pleasing aspect of Leicester’s win was their hustle on the boards, limiting the visitors to just eight offensive rebounds.

The Patriots did put up a stern test with some promising performances – TJ Atwood scoring 20 in the first half alone. 

But Leicester responded well in the second half, shutting Atwood’s offense down to help towards a well-earned victory.

An end-to-end first half started well for the Riders, who utilised quick ball movement to create openings in the paint. 

Bridges and Lall benefitted early, both dropping five points in the first quarter which pushed the Riders into an 18-17 lead. 

Supported by a hard-working Samuel Idowu and the debuting Caleb Asberry off the bench, Leicester entered the second quarter looking to build on their narrow lead.

Despite showing a marked improvement on the defensive glass, limiting Plymouth to just a couple of offensive rebounds, an inspired ten-minute spell by the Patriots’ Atwood helped them to build a lead. 

Atwood, who dropped 17 points in round one, finished the first half with six rebounds and four assists to accompany his 20 points. 

A crucial three-pointer by Holmes kept the Riders within touching distance, swiftly followed by a deep three from long ball specialist, Asberry. 

The half ended with the Patriots 52-43 to the good – a buzzer-beater from guard, Mason Faulkner giving Plymouth a nine-point lead.

Starting the second half as he did the first, Bridges dropped the Riders’ first bucket, igniting an 8-2 run after good hustle on both ends of the floor.

A timely three from Miryne Thomas kept the Riders within striking distance before the home team bridged the gap through multiple trips to the foul line. 

The third quarter ended with Leicester facing a 6-point deficit but with their tails up heading into the final ten.

The fourth saw the Riders show the home fans what they can produce in the clutch. 

Buckets from Asberry, Idowu and the agile Pinson pushed Paternostro’s team to a 15-3 surge, wiping out the Patriots’ lead and giving the home side a small cushion.

The game hurtled towards an exciting finish full of back-and-forth action, with the Riders able to keep the lead on the back of fearless play by captain, Kimbal Mackenzie. 

Next Saturday, the Riders take on their first road trip of the season, travelling to Bristol to face the 1-1 Flyers.

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our next home fixture!

A note from Head Coach Rob Paternostro

To our fans,

As the season fast approaches, I wanted to thank you all for your continued tremendous support.

There have been some big changes to our roster, and we’ve worked hard all off-season to make sure we were bringing in the right guys for our club.

This is my 16th season as Head Coach, and while we’re used to having some changes in the roster, you can really feel this season like there’s been a big turnaround.

That said, we’re excited about this group. I loved the team last year, and I really enjoyed being around the guys. But this season, there’s a sense of a fresh start and a blank canvas. 

As we’re starting fresh, while on-the-court play is important, we’re taking the off-court things very seriously, especially because we have such a young roster. We want to make sure the guys feel comfortable.

Our fans and sponsors do such a great job of that. Part of the draw of this club is, of course, the winning tradition, but we also have a club that makes you feel like part of a family. That’s the first thing I noticed when I arrived here. It feels great to be embraced by our loyal supporters.

I’ve really enjoyed the energy of this group. The team have had a good time getting to know each other, and that’s the great thing about playing basketball in Europe: you build bonds with guys that last forever, so it’s great to see the start of it now.

You want to have a group that loves being together. We want them to enjoy the work on the court and being together off the court, which can be easier said than done. If you can find that balance, you’re going to have a great opportunity to have a good team.

On the court, the early stages of the season are about trying to learn about the roster. Once we’ve figured out who the players are and how they like to play, we can figure out the best way for the team to play.

Last season, we came back with pretty much the same group; we knew who we were from the jump. This year is completely different, but we’re ready for the challenge. 

Looking back on the preseason, 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 preseason 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.

There’s a new League format this season, with no Cup and a month dedicated to the Trophy. That will take some time to get used to, but at the end of the day, basketball is basketball. We’re going to try our best to do well early in the competition and improve along the way.

It’s an exciting time to be a Riders fan. Any time you can check out some new players, it’s exciting, and our fans will really like the guys we have here.

We hope you’re looking forward to the season as much as we are, and we can’t wait to see you out there!

Rob Paternostro

Captain’s log: Kimbal Mackenzie’s thoughts ahead of the season

First of all, let me say how much it means to me to represent this club as captain. It’s a huge privilege for me. There’s been a lot of great Riders captains in the past, and I’m honoured to step into this role.

Congratulations to Darien on his well-earned retirement. He will go down as one of the greats to play for this club with all the success he helped bring to the Morningside Arena. 

I have a lot of respect for him as a great friend of mine, and he did an excellent job leading the Riders during my time here. 

I held this role in college, and it’s something I take a lot of pride in. I love competing, and I love winning. With that, I’m a very vocal teammate, so I’m very committed to my role as a leader. 

I want to be a leader that can be here for the younger guys on our team. I hope that I can be there in situations where they may need some guidance, and I hope to help make their transition to the pros easier.

Excelling on the court is great, but part of my role is being there for my teammates as people as well. As professionals, we can often get caught up in confusing our job with our identity, and in sports, those highs and lows can take a toll.

Part of my role as a leader is being a support piece for my teammates and building a bond they know they can trust. 

I want to be an open book to them and share my knowledge as a veteran of the team. We have a lot of talented players who all lead in different ways, so my role becomes leading by example and helping the guys in any way I can.

Ahead of the season, I wanted to extend my thanks to our fans. From day one I noticed how incredible and dedicated you all are, and I appreciate how you embrace us all.

Not only through your support at home and away but how you care about who we are as people, and extend your support to our families. To feel that love (and see someone dressed as me in the crowd!) is incredible. 

We come into this year off the back of a good season. We put ourselves in a position to win against London in both finals, and if a couple of possessions went differently, we could have brought some more silverware home. 

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. We came up against a great team in London, so congratulations to them. 

It’s a compliment to what Rob and the front office have built in our winning culture that we look back at last season and feel like there was more on the table. We expect to win, and that’s exactly what we’re looking to do this season. 

Pre-season was great. It was different to the previous years with a big turnaround of players, but we’re heading in the right direction as a group.

The trip to the Netherlands was really important for us, as we’ll have a lot film to learn from and build on. There’s been an awesome energy to the group, and we have lots of athleticism, speed and talent on the court. I’m really looking forward to growing as a team.

Our depth and energy are going to be our strengths. We have a lot of guys that can run and make great decisions on the fastbreak, and I think we’re going to develop into a really tough defensive team. 

I’m looking forward to a great season, and it’s as important as ever to have our great fanbase behind us. The League is strong, and we all hear that teams are getting better, but I know you all carry the same pride as I do in wanting to fight at the top. 

Morningside Arena is a tough place for opponents to play, and we can’t wait to be back out there in front of you all!

Your captain,

Kimbal Mackenzie 

5 things we learned from pre-season

The Riders wrapped up their pre-season campaign on Friday with a win, as they prepare to get the 2023-24 season underway.

Following games against Loughborough University, Donar Groningen and USA Select, here is what we learned…

Strength in depth

The Riders quickly discovered that their roster goes 12 deep, as they got contributions up and down the roster throughout pre-season.

Take the final fixtures against USA Select, where all 11 players played double-digit minutes, with nine players scoring seven or more points.

It was the same story on their trip to Donar Groningen, where eight Leicester players scored 10 or more, and in their pre-season opener against Loughborough which featured eight scorers with at least eight points.

The depth opens up a number of different rotations to Head Coach Rob Paternostro, as he can expect significant contributions from everyone on the team.

It also allows players to keep fresh and healthy during a long British Basketball League season.

The Bowman Show

The depth comes, in part, thanks to the play of second-year Rider Blake Bowman, who has shown consistently impressive play during pre-season.

He scored double-digit points in every outing, leading the team in the fourth quarter against USA Select with nine points as he capped off a 15-point outing.

After the game, the East Midlands native stated that he has put in work to his deep shooting over the off-season. This showed, as Bowman took his defenders off the dribble and pulled up from range on Friday night.

But the electrifying Brit’s high-flying antics are back for another season, as he got the Morningside Arena on its feet with emphatic slams.

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Bowman looks set for an exciting year.

Flying on the fastbreak

With a young, athletic roster this season, many would assume the Riders would be ready to run. They’d be right.

They dominated the box score in fastbreak scoring this pre-season. Leicester outscored their opponents 82-17 in transition during their campaign, capping off their pre-season by beating USA Select 34-3 on the run.

Running the break stems from defence, and 13.3 steals per game over the three fixtures allowed the Riders to get out and use their youthful athleticism.

With the depth on their roster, Leicester will look to get up and down the court all night long.

Miryne’s monster performances

Rookie forward out of Kent State Myrine Thomas led the team in two of the Riders’ pre-season games, showing explosive energy early in his Riders career.

Playing only 19 minutes in the game against USA Select, Thomas had as many points and added seven rebounds and four steals to the box score in the process.

Thomas also had 17 in his pre-season opener in Loughborough, thriving in front of Riders fans. He was quick out the gate on both occasions, setting the tone as the Riders jumped out to early leads.

In the Riders’ first competitive game of the season on Friday, Thomas will look for another explosive start.

X gon’ give it to ya

Returning to the court for the final pre-season game was Xavier Pinson, who got a run out in front of the Riders faithful.

He made an immediate impression, scoring 12 points and dishing three assists in just 19 minutes of action.

The Chicago-born rookie demonstrated elite point guard skills, using his shifty dribbling ability to get to the rim and finish in close.

Pinson averaged 13.3 points and 4.5 assists in his final college season in New Mexico and looks to carry that form into his first pro year.

Want to see the Riders get their season underway?

Get tickets to our season opener against Cheshire Phoenix!

Pre-season preview: Riders vs USA Select

The Riders host USA Select final pre-season fixture. Here is all you need to know…

Fixture information

Leicester Riders vs USA Select

Morningside Arena, Leicester

Friday, September 8, 7:45 pm

Get your tickets here!

Promising signs

The Riders return from their Netherlands trip, which they can take lots of positives from. They beat seven-time Dutch champions Donar Groningen 104-75 last Friday to move to 2-0 on their pre-season campaign so far. 

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. 

Kimbal Mackenzie led the team with 17 points, backed up by Jaren Holmes’ 16, the pair dominating proceedings from the backcourt. 

“Our depth has been impressive,” said Head Coach Rob Paternostro following the game.

“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.”

Now their attention turns to the Morningside Arena, as the Riders are set to make their first home appearance of the season. They are preparing to face a young team of determined talent, looking to make a name in Europe. 

USA Select- Making professionals 

The Riders’ opponents face them in the midst of a busy European tour, where they play 19 games in 22 days hoping to secure their first professional contracts.  

The tour spans four countries and 18 cities, with a newly formed roster made up of players straight out of college. 

The programme has produced two British Basketball League head coaches in Sheffield’s Atiba Lyons and Machester’s Brian Semonian, and players such as Derby Trailblazers’ Malcolm Smith. 

The Riders are an annual fixture on USA Select’s packed schedule, and the club have built a thriving relationship with the programme over the last four decades. 

“Leicester Riders, like so many other clubs in the UK, has been phenomenal for us over the decades, which is why I never miss the UK out on these tours,” said Head Coach and General Manager Sean Kilmartin ahead of the game. 

“The club, and its vision in a sport that was always under the radar and never truly appreciated in the UK, has changed the way people look at basketball in the country. Their venue is the first of its kind, and it set the bar for the other clubs in the league.

“When my players can see all that, they see what professionalism looks like. They see how professionals put pride in their job, and their humility when they put their jerseys on for the fans.

“The Riders fanbase is amazing. The love and respect we get from those fans is humbling. They really get it.”

Played for both- Russell Jordan

The Riders are one of many organisations that benefitted from USA Select’s tour. 6’6” forward Russell Jordan was a product of the program that played for the club. 

Having played for USA Select in the mid-2000s hoping to secure his first contract, Jordan secured a deal with the Reading Rockets in the EBL with the help of Kilmartin. 

Having impressed at Reading, Jordan made the step up and signed with the Riders in 2007, playing 31 games in the 2007/08 season. He put up 5.6 points in 14 minutes per game, shooting 56% from the field and suiting up against the likes of Paternostro in his final playing season for Birmingham Panthers. 

Jordan went on to play for Worthing Thunder, Surrey Scorchers and London Capitals, averaging 13 points per game in the 2009/10 season. He is one of the true success stories of the USA Select programme in British Basketball. 

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!

Riders partner with Everards

We are delighted to have Everards as the official beer of the Leicester Riders!

Founded in 1849 as an independent family business, Everards’ beers are available in more than 150 pubs across the East Midlands and are served at our home, the Morningside Arena Leicester. 

Erika Hardy, Operations Director at Everards, commented: “Everards of Leicestershire is proud to partner with the Leicester Riders. Connecting with the club has allowed us to deliver fun and enjoyable experiences and corporate hospitality to our business owners and partners.  

“Our iconic Tiger copper ale, which is available throughout the Morningside Arena, is much loved across Leicestershire and is the perfect beer to enjoy whilst cheering on your favourite team.”

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

Riders Business Club relaunched!

The Leicester Riders Business Club relaunches next month – with sponsors invited to take to the court.

The first event of the season takes place on September 13 – two days before the 2023-24 British Basketball League season starts for Riders at home to Cheshire Phoenix.

Sponsors are invited to bring a senior contact along as their business club guest to showcase what Riders sponsorship offers for local organisations.

Guests will join a basketball session led by coaching staff, enter into a prize draw, and network with other business leaders.

They will be welcomed by Leicester Riders chairman, Kevin Routledge, and get an update on the work of the Leicester Riders Foundation from General Manager Laura Shephard.

There has been increased interest this summer in Riders corporate packages. Player sponsorship has increased 50% year-on-year, the vast majority of last season’s corporate sponsors have renewed, and new businesses joining for first time include Better IT, Abel Alarm, 2XL Commercial Finance, and Griffin Fit.

Next month’s business club is the first of several the club is planning for the 2023-24 season. Each will have a different theme and focus, while providing a look behind the scenes at the Riders, Foundation, and Arena.

Kevin Routledge said: “We’ve been building our business offer over the summer following the arrival of Tracey Hallam as our commercial manager and our partnership with 1284.

“The support of our sponsors is crucial, not just for the Riders but also for our community foundation and the arena itself.”

Loughborough-based 1284 provides award-winning B2B corporate communications to innovative public and private organisations in the East Midlands.

George Oliver, Managing Director of 1284, said: “We’ve been involved for a couple of years now and are really excited about getting more involved with the new-look Riders Business Club.”

The second Riders Business Club meeting of the season will take place on November 20.

It has been arranged to coincide with the Morningside Arena hosting the World Snooker Tour, giving guests a behind-the-scenes look at the Arena’s staging of international tournaments.

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

Sponsor Spotlight: Edmonds and Slatter Opticians

Leicester Riders are thrilled to continue their long-standing relationship with Edmonds & Slatter Opticians.

Edmonds & Slatter is an award-winning independent opticians based in Leicestershire, with practices in Blaby, Glenfield, Kibworth, Lutterworth and Rothley.

They provide the highest level of professional eye care in Leicestershire, and have supported the club for over a decade.

Tim Cole, Director of Edmonds & Slatter Opticians, commented: “We have provided eyecare to the Leicester Riders since 2012. As we enter our twelfth season in this partnership, we are delighted to be able to continue this support.

“Elite athletes like the Leicester Riders understand the need to train to keep their body at peak fitness. Vision is the dominant sense in this sport, so we are proud to contribute to helping the Riders maximise their sporting performance.”

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

3 things we learned from Red vs Purple

The Riders got their pre-season underway in Friday’s fixture vs Loughborough University.

They took a 99-64 win, and learned valuable lessons into the rest of the pre-season.

Here are three things we learned from the outing.

Miryne makes his mark 

Miryne Thomas dominated from the jump in his first Riders outing, putting up 17 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes. 

His high-flying antics lit up the Sir David Wallace sports hall, throwing down emphatic jams with ease. 

The 6’8” forward out of Kent State made an immediate impression on his new team to lead them in scoring on his first time out. 

“I wanted to show the fans, team and organisation that I’m the guy they needed to help win a championship. I just try and prove I’m that guy every day,” commented Thomas after the game. 

Getting healthy 

Conner Washington and Mo Walker took to the court for the pre-season opener after missing a large proportion of last season due to injury. 

They played positive minutes, looking back to their usual selves in their first look at competitive action this season. 

Walker put up 11 points and three rebounds and knocked down his only three-point attempt of the evening. Meanwhile, Washington played 27 minutes, dishing out eight assists to combine with as many points. 

Among the new additions, Samuel Idowu saw game time after sitting out the last 16 months due to injury. In eight minutes, he put up 11 points, five rebounds and a block in a positive showing. 

Immediate chemistry 

In his postgame interview, Head Coach Rob Paternostro said that the team had only had three minutes of 5-on-5 action in the lead-up to the game. 

It didn’t show, as the Riders managed 99 points, and despite the expected feeling out process initially, they gelled quickly in the game. 

Building chemistry among this collection of new players is high on the list of priorities this pre-season, but that process looked well underway for the team. The Riders totalled 20 assists, displaying good ball movement and teamwork already.

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!

Riders react: Red vs Purple

The Riders got their first 40 minutes under their legs last night, in their annual “Red vs Purple” pre-season outing. 

They took a 99-64 win against Loughborough University, and look to build as a newly formed team going into the season.

READ MORE: Riders take Red vs Purple win

Here’s what Head Coach Rob Paternostro and Player of the Game Myrine Thomas had to say:

Miryne Thomas

“I feel like I could do it all again!” said Thomas, after a stat sheet stuffing 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. He got 20 minutes of game time, filled with high-flying action.

“I wanted to show the fans, team and organisation that I’m the guy they needed to help win a championship. I just try and prove I’m that guy every day.”

These were important minutes for the team, with seven new players added to the roster this offseason, looking to gel with the returners. 

“I really like the team. Every time we made a mistake, we all just wanted to move on to the next play. 

“Loughborough scored at the bottom of the shot clock a few times, and that’s what we focused on at halftime. The leaders in the locker room told us we’d be fine if we locked in on our guys and closed out possessions. We did that in the second half, and we were able to increase the lead up to 30.

“Now, we need to look at our game today, fix the mistakes, and take it inch by inch.”

Rob Paternostro 

Entering his 16th season as Head Coach, Rob Paternostro has rarely faced the challenge of a significant player turnaround to the extent of this offseason. He recognised the importance of these minutes. 

“I thought it was good for us. We’ve only had three minutes in practice 5-on-5 this week, so we really benefitted from the conditioning.”

It was the first look at his new team in a competitive environment, and Paternostro liked what he saw. 

“I love the way the guys competed. Defensively, we were really aggressive, and we were able to play a lot of guys and throw a lot of bodies that them.”

Health is key going into the season, and early signs are promising for the Riders. Mo Walker and Conner Washington returned to the floor after sitting out much of last season, as well as Sam Idowu, who looked fresh after recovering from his knee injury. 

“It was great to have them back. 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.

“Sam has been out for 16 months, so him being out there and making an impact was nice to see. That’s what these games are all about: letting guys get some rhythm and get the feel for being back on the floor.”

On the Riders’ opponents, Loughborough were faced with a mammoth task of professional opponents and put on a good showing. They fought wire-to-wire and held their own for long stretches. 

“Loughborough were competitive tonight. Our defence was tough for them at times, but they played hard, and they came right at us. I know Coach Maynard will have them ready to go for the season.”

Paternostro was asked what the focus is for the rest of the pre-season:

“Conditioning, we really need that. And beyond that, putting in some of our sets. We haven’t been able to put in much of our stuff,  so we’ve got to keep building and try and get healthy.”

American guards Caleb Asberry and Xavier Pinson sat out as a precaution, to minimise any injury risk ahead of the season. 

“We’re missing Caleb and Xavier,  and they’’ll certainly make an impact when they come back. We’re excited to see how they can push the pace and impact the game.”

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!

Riders sign Tweedie

Leicester Riders are excited to announce the signing of Elise Tweedie for the 2023/24 season. 

The 21-year-old Scot joins from the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated this summer. 

Tweedie played two seasons for her home country Caledonia Pride in the Women’s British Basketball League. The 6’4” center averaged 4.5 points and 4.2 rebounds and played 23 games in 2021/22. 

Tweedie will also compete for Loughborough University, where she will complete her master’s degree. The club would like to thank the University for their support.

Tweedie commented: “I’m incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to play for the Riders this season and to make my return to the Women’s British Basketball League. 

“The team’s strong culture, fan base and mission are all things I’m super excited to be a part of. I’m eagerly looking forward to starting this journey with my new teammates and coaches, and I can’t wait to see the success we can attain together!”

Head Coach Ben Stanley commented: “We’re very happy to have Elise join us this year.  She’s contributed for Pride in the League previously and knows the league.  

“She’s got good mobility, she’s versatile and brings with her size, a great attitude and huge willingness to get better. I’m looking forward to getting her on the floor and also seeing her improvement over the season.”

Loughborough University parking information

Fans driving to tonight’s game, please enter the University via the entrance on Epinal Way. Once you have passed through security, we recommend following the road left and parking in Car Park 9.

This is a simple drive around the back of the Brockington pitch facilities, and Car Park 9 is found on the far side of the playing fields.

From there, it is a five-minute walk to the Sir David Wallace building. 

Doors open at 6 pm, before player introductions commencing at 6:45 pm, and tip-off at 7 pm. 

Please travel safely and arrive with plenty of time. 

We hope you enjoy the game! 

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Loughborough announce retained core ahead of 2023/24

Loughborough Basketball’s core of young talent will return for the 2023/24 NBL Division One season. 

The returners are: 

  • Elijah Bailey
  • Justin Hedley
  • CJ Hayden 
  • Joe Bielak
  • Milo Gordon 
  • Ben Woog
  • David Oputa

American guard Bailey joined the Riders last summer on a two-year deal, playing with the Riders while studying his MSc in International Business at Loughborough University.

He averaged 20 points per game last season on a red-hot 44% from three-point range. He joined the team following experience playing professionally in Armenia, Iceland and Maldives.

German-born Hedley continues his NBL D1 career while studying Biological Science. The 6’4” guard’s previous playing experience includes his time with the Leicester Riders British Basketball League team.

Last season, Hedley put up 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game in Division 1.

Hayden studies Sports Coaching at the University while playing in the NBL D1. The 6’7”, British forward has played for Loughborough Basketball over the last three seasons and won the BUCS title with the team last year. 

British wing Bielak will continue his BsC in Exercise Science at Loughborough University alongside his playing career in Division 1 and BUCS 1st team. Bielak was also a feature on Loughborough’s BUCS winning team, the sharpshooter also averaging 12 points in the NBL D1 last season. 

6’5 Brit Gordon continues his Sport and Exercise Science studies at Loughborough alongside his NBL Division 1 and BUCS 1st team playing commitments. Gordon enters his third season with Loughborough, after averaging 5.5 points and 4.6 rebounds a game last year and winning the BUCS title. 

Woog, a Charnwood College alumni, joined Loughborough’s NBL Division One side last season. The British 6’8 forward was part of the Riders BUCS title-winning team last season and has international experience for the Wales Senior Men’s programme. 

Oputa returns to the Loughborough first team after a season playing for the D3 team. The 6’6” forward joined the Loughborough Basketball programme in 2019. 

All of the returners will play in both the NBL and BUCS teams this season.  

Head Coach Will Maynard commented: “To have so many players returning is great for the team. Hopefully, this continuity helps us as we move into next season, and we are able to hit the ground running as soon as pre-season starts. 

“We know how tough of a task it can be with so many games through the season and on top of that your studying, so having guys who are used to that will definitely help throughout this long season. 

“We have a great variety of players within the group which gives us a strong start when looking into the season, we have a great group of unselfish players who want to help the team win and willing to do whatever they need to do for the team to be successful. 

“A lot of the returners are in their last year of study and last year with the programme so hoping to make it a season to remember for those guys.”

Leicester Riders: Hospitality

We are proud to offer a number of excellent game night packages, including
our corporate hospitality, the 1967 Club, and our Mezzanine hospitality package for you to indulge in during matchday games.

1967 Club

Enjoy the highest quality game night experience as part of the 1967 Club.

Access to the 1967 Club includes:

  • Exclusive access to the 1967 Club before and after games
  • Complimentary bar until half-time; to include beer, wine and soft drinks
  • Two-course meal served before the game
  • Pre-game presentation from a former player or coach
  • Courtside/baseline seats for the game
  • Post-match platter following the game
  • Reserved Car Parking Space
  • Opportunity to meet the players in the lounge following the game
  • Complimentary season guide and game day team sheet

1967 Club Hospitality price: £80 per person + VAT

Mezzanine Hospitality

Leicester Riders offer action-packed entertainment in an electric atmosphere in the very heart of the city.

Our excellent gameday package includes the use of one of our mezzanines overlooking the playing court and provides a unique gameday hospitality

This new hospitality experience provides a panoramic view of the game, catering, and private bar facilities as well as opportunities to meet the Riders team.

The Mezzanine Hospitality includes:

  • Private use of one of our two mezzanine areas for up to 80 guests
  • Pre-game hot buffet dishes include; curry lasagne; chilli con carne; all served on the mezzanine
  • Tickets to watch the game from the mezzanine or in seats
  • Private cash bar and toilet facilities
  • Complimentary season guide and game day team sheet

Mezzanine Hospitality price: £39 per person + VAT (Minimum numbers of 30 for private use)

Discounted Mezzanine Hospitality is also available at £25 for our preseason fixture against USA Select.

Read about all of our hospitality offers in our corporate brochure.

Interested in a game sponsorship, or want more information? Please contact [email protected].

2023/24 Trophy format explained!

The British Basketball League released a revamped structure for the upcoming season, featuring best-of-three playoff series, the return of the All-Star game and an all-new Trophy format.

The new structure allows The League to turn its full attention to each competition, dedicating a month of play to the Trophy.

Get to know the new Trophy format.

How does the new format work?

This season in the Trophy, the teams are split into two groups of five. Each team will play the other teams in their group once, determining their standings.

The top two teams in each group progress to the semi-finals. Should you finish top of your group, you earn a semi-final matchup against second place in the other group.

The semi-finals and finals are single elimination knockout, leading to an eventual winner being crowned!

Who will we play?

The Riders’ group features the London Lions, Bristol Flyers, Newcastle Eagles and Manchester Giants.

Our group fixtures are as follows:

Saturday 6th Jan20:00HBristol Flyers 
Sunday 7th Jan15:00ALondon Lions
Friday 12th Jan19:45HManchester Giants
Friday 19th Jan19:45ANewcastle Eagles

Where are the games?

Following the group stage, the semi-finals and finals will take place at the Utilita Arena, Birmingham, in a final-four weekend event.

The semi-finals will be played on Saturday, January 27, leading to the final on Sunday, January 28.

READ MORE: Leicester Riders 2023/24 fixtures released!

Want to see the Riders in action?

Get tickets to our British Basketball League season opener against Cheshire Phoenix here!

Get tickets to our preseason opener against Loughborough University here!

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

2023/24 fixture changes

Some Leicester Riders’ fixtures for the 2023/24 season have been changed.

Our home game against Plymouth City Patriots on Febuary 22 has moved to September 22 and becomes our second home fixture.

Our trip to the London Lions has moved from September 20 to December 10.

Our previously unscheduled home fixture against Newcastle Eagles will be played on November 4.

The full fixture list is detailed below.


DateTimeCompetition H/AOpponent
Friday 15th Sept19:45Regular seasonHCheshire Phoenix
Friday 22nd Sept19:45Regular seasonHPlymouth City Patriots
Saturday 30th Sept20:00Regular seasonABristol Flyers
Friday 6th Oct19:45Regular seasonANewcastle Eagles
Friday 13th Oct19:30 Regular seasonHSurrey Scorchers
Saturday 14th Oct20:00Regular seasonAManchester Giants
Friday 20th Oct19:30Regular seasonANewcastle Eagles
Thursday 26th Oct19:45Regular seasonH Surrey Scorchers
Sunday 29th Oct18:00Regular seasonACaledonia Gladiators
Saturday 4th Nov19:30Regular seasonHNewcastle Eagles
Friday 10th Nov19:45Regular seasonHLondon Lions
Sunday 12th Nov18:00Regular seasonACheshire Phoenix
Friday 17th Nov19:45Regular seasonASheffield Sharks
Saturday 25th Nov20:00Regular seasonHManchester Giants
Friday 1st Dec19:45Regular seasonHLondon Lions
Sunday 3rd Dec18:00Regular seasonACheshire Phoenix
Sunday 10th Dec16:30Regular seasonALondon Lions
Friday 15th Dec19:30Regular seasonHCaledonia Gladiators
Saturday 23rd Dec17:00Regular seasonAManchester Giants
Thursday 28th Dec19:45Regular seasonHBristol Flyers
Saturday 30th Dec17:00Regular seasonHSheffield Sharks
Saturday 6th Jan 20:00TrophyHBristol Flyers
Sunday 7th Jan15:00 TrophyALondon Lions
Wednesday 10th Jan19:45TrophyHManchester Giants
Friday 19th Jan19:45TrophyANewcastle Eagles
Saturday 27th JanTBCTrophyTBCSemi Final at Utilita Arena, Birmingham
Sunday 28th JanTBCTrophyTBCFinal at Utilita Arena, Birmingham
Friday 9th Feb19:45Regular seasonHPlymouth City Patriots
Sunday 11th Feb18:00Regular seasonACaledonia Gladiators
Friday 16th Feb19:30Regular seasonHSheffield Sharks
Sunday 18th Feb15:00Regular seasonAPlymouth City Patriots
Friday 1st Mar19:45Regular seasonHCheshire Phoenix
Sunday 3rd Mar15:00Regular seasonALondon Lions
Sunday 10th Mar15:00Regular seasonABristol Flyers
Sunday 17th MarTBCAll-StarCopper Box Arena
Friday 22nd Mar19:30Regular seasonHCaledonia Gladiators
Sunday 24th Mar18:00Regular seasonAPlymouth City Patriots
Friday 29th Mar19:45Regular seasonASheffield Sharks
Sunday 31st Mar15:00Regular seasonHNewcastle Eagles
Thursday 4th Apr19:45Regular seasonHBristol Flyers
Friday 19th Apr19:45Regular seasonHManchester Giants
Sunday 21st Apr15:00Regular seasonASurrey Scorchers

Please note fixtures and timings may be subject to change.

The following game remains unscheduled.

Competition H/AOpponent
Regular seasonASurrey Scorchers

Want to see the Riders in action?

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

Get tickets to our season opener against the Cheshire Phoenix!

WBBL update: Riders’ roster so far!

We’re counting down the days for the new WBBL season, and it’s been a busy offseason so far! Both new and familiar names have signed to play in Riders red, and there are a few more to come!

Here you can refamiliarise yourself with our roster.

Katie JanuszewskaRetained

 “KJ” is a Charnwood product, joining the Academy in 2020. 

In 2021/2022, the versatile wing averaged 19.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in the WEABL and made the All-First Team in the Northern Conference.

She was also named to the Women’s NBL Division One British Team of the Year with the Loughborough Riders, putting up 13.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. 

Last season, Januszewska join St Francis Brooklyn in NCAA Division One, before returning to the East Midlands for the upcoming year. 

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates- Retained

Jessica Eadsforth-Yates is a Manchester-born guard who signed a two-year deal last summer, joining from the Newcastle Eagles.

The 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.

Jessica also studies at Loughborough University for her master’s, winning the BUCS championship last season.

Erin Powell- Retained

Erin Powell will suit up for the Riders while completing her third year at Charnwood College. 

Powell averaged 28.5 points and 18.8 rebounds in the EABL last season and 6.8 points per game in the WBL Division One for the Loughborough Riders.

She also has experience on the international stage, having played for Great Britain Under-18s.

Shahd Abboud- Signed from Maccabi Ramat Gan

Abboud is an Israeli international, who joined 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.

McKenzie Johnston- Retained

American guard McKenzie Johnston helped the Riders to all three domestic finals last season.

She averaged 8.3 points, 6.4 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game in the WBBL Championship.

Johnston signed a two-year deal last summer to play in the WBBL alongside studying for her master’s at Loughborough University.

Sam Ashby- Signed from the University of the Pacific

Sam Ashby is a 5’9” Australian, joining the club following her college career at the University of the Pacific. 

She scored 10.9 per game in her senior year with the Tigers, earning an All-West Coast Conference Honourable Mention selection.

Prior to Pacific, the Perth native played for three years at her hometown Newman College, where she helped her team to three Associated and Catholic Colleges titles. 

She was named MVP in 2017 and earned Most Outstanding Female Basketballer honours in 2016 and 2017.  In 2018, she led Newman to the Marist Grand Final in Sydney.

Ashby will also compete for Loughborough University while she completes her master’s.

Taylor O’Brien- Signed from Floria State University

American guard O’Brien signed 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.

Rayven Peeples- Signed from St John’s University

Rayven Peeples is a 6’3” forward who started all 32 games for tSt John’s Red Storm last season, ranking sixth in the conference with 8.7 rebounds per game. She scored 6.7 points per game in her final season in the Big East conference. 

In 2021/22, Peeples averaged 8.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, once again leading the team on the boards.

Prior to St Johns, Peeples played for North Carolina A&T as a freshman, then Northwest Florida State College. She led the Northwest Florida Raiders in scoring with 14.0 points per game, and ranked fourth in the country in field goal percentage, shooting 64.2%. 

Elise Tweedie- Signed from University of Edinburgh

21-year-old Scot Tweedie joins from the University of Edinburgh, where she graduated this summer. 

Tweedie played two seasons for her home country Caledonia Pride in the Women’s British Basketball League. The 6’4” center averaged 4.5 points and 4.2 rebounds and played 23 games in 2021/22. 

Marissa Hamilton- Signed from Merrimack College

6’0” forward Hamilton 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. 

Want to sponsor one of our players?

Read about our WBBL sponsorship opportunities in our corporate brochure!

Jaren Holmes: Top 5 Performances

Riders’ new man Jaren Holmes is entering his first professional season following a four-year college career.

The 6’4” guard made a name for himself as an elite scorer and facilitator during his time in the NCAA D1.

Get to know him with some of his best showings. 

Career high 38 points

Holmes exploded for a career-high 38 points in just 37 minutes in his second year for St. Bonaventure Bonnies. It was a sharpshooting clinic, as a red-hot Holmes drained eight threes in his team’s 83-57 win against Saint Joseph’s Hawks. 

He hit a triple to get the action underway, but it was a 28-point second half that blew the game open. He scored 11 straight points in the half to build the lead and lead the Bonnies to a blowout win. 

Holmes dominated the boards as well as the scoring, grabbing 10 rebounds on his way to an emphatic double-double. 

The game is tied for eighth all-time for single-game scoring performances in college history. 


You could have forgiven Holmes for a down game after his career-high night against St Joe’s. Instead, he went off for 26 points to lead the Bonnies to a 68-54 win against the Fordham Rams.

Holmes hit the dagger with a 1:30 remaining to seal the win, his hot hand staying hot with another five threes in the game. He went 10-16 from the field in a game where neither team found a rhythm on offence.

The win moved the team to 5-1 to start the season, in the midst of a seven-game winning streak.

Holmes went on to average 13.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game on the season, earning a place on the Atlantic 10 second-team All-Conference honours and was named to the A-10 All-Academic Team for the second year in a row.

Upset on primetime

In a top-25 matchup live on ESPN, Holmes led Iowa State to an upset win against the #5 Kansas State in front of a raucous home crowd.

He had 23 points for the Cyclones in the fight for the Big 12 one-seed, going 8-11 from the field and dishing seven assists.

It was a hard-fought game wire-to-wire, but Holmes cooly knocked down the game-winning free throws, after being sent to the line up two.

A 16-point second half from Holmes saw Iowa State take the win. Holmes led the team to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.

Double-double against Coppin State

Playing 37 minutes against the Coppin State Eagles, Holmes went off for 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the Bonnies’ 93-81, going 10-14 from the field and and 3-5 from three.

He made his presence known on both ends, adding two steals and a block to his box score.

The Bonnies won 93-81, kicking off a three-game winning streak as they started Homes’ senior year 4-1.

Playing big minutes was something Holmes became accustomed to that season, as he became one of the national minutes leaders at 38.1 per contest and started all 33 games.

Crashing the glass

Holmes showed he could lead the team in multiple ways by dominating the paint for his career-high in rebounds.

Holmes led the Bonnies in points and rebounds in a 70-54 win against the Marquette Golden Eagles, going off for a 19 and 13 double-double in the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic tournament.

Holmes made just six field goals in the game, but his persistence on the glass and ability to get to the free throw line saw him fill up the scoring column, leading his team to the win.

The win put the Bonnies to a 5-0 start to the season, building early momentum in Homes’ junior year.

Want to see Jaren 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: Iowa State Cyclones

“I can’t wait to be a part of the culture!”- Sam Ashby on her journey to the pros

Leicester Riders’ newest WBBL addition has travelled to the other side of the world to compete in British basketball.

Australian Sam Ashby is a highly touted talent straight out of the University of the Pacific, but the leap into the unknown wasn’t something that was always feasible for her. 

“Until the age of 17, I didn’t like staying away from home for even a night,” said Ashby, recollecting how far she has come since she first moved away from her home city of Perth. 

“I’d struggle to have sleepovers with friends! But college has helped me grow up,” reflected the now 22-year-old.

Sam knew her talent could take her far as a mid-teen, making it onto Western Australian State under 16s at 15. She found herself competing against older age groups, preparing her for what was to come in college. 

She was named Associated and Catholic Colleges MVP in 2017 and won three titles. Next came the difficult transition to America, where she tried her hand at the NCAA system. 

Ashby landed in Stockton, California, ready to play for the University of the Pacific. 

“Going to college was really scary for me. My thought process was that if I try it and I hate it, at least I’ll know and can’t regret it. If I didn’t try, there would always have been the what if.

“I had a big culture shock. It was really tough mentally being away from home. Not having family there, or even being able to talk to them because of the time difference was challenging.

“But I arrived with no expectations and thought to make the most of it.”

Ashby faced adversity on the court too. In her freshman year, she averaged three minutes a game and was forced to fight her way into the team. 

“The first year was tough. I worked really hard, and I thought I deserved to play more than I did. I kept going for extra sessions and giving absolutely everything to show that I was meant to be there.

“My coach didn’t like to play freshmen. His attitude was if you’re young, you have to earn your place, so he played the older girls. I was taking them on in practice and doing well, but I couldn’t get minutes. 

“When I came back for my sophomore year, I’d done a lot of work in the gym. I came back bigger and stronger, and they recognised that I wanted this, and gave me the opportunity.

“I showed up, did my best, and was starting for the team as a sophomore, so I think I proved myself that year.”

Prove herself she did. By her senior year, Ashby was an All-West Coast Conference Honorable Mention selection, starting all 32 games for the Tigers and averaging 10.9 points per game. 

She still had to overcome mental battles, which affected her performance early into her college career.  

“I always had the basic skills, but being young and in the NCAA, I got really stressed out and suffered from performance anxiety. Decisions that I’d never make began creeping into my game. I learnt to relax, and play my own game instead of overthinking everything

“It took a lot of self-reflection and learning how to overcome that.”

Sam leaves college a different person. Someone that has grown in confidence and independence, and is ready to take on the challenges of international basketball. 

“It made me grow up. I went into college as a shy 18-year-old, but I’ve learned how to develop relationships and friendships and talk to strangers. The biggest thing I got out of college was confidence.”

With her newfound confidence, Ashby is ready to take her talents to the UK, under Head Coach Ben Stanley’s leadership.

“Ben was lovely. He told me about his coaching style, and I was really intrigued by it. He sounds like a coach that I want to play for: not a hothead but he knows what he’s doing. Being relaxed, calm and smart is a great attribute as a coach.”

She now brings the work ethic and drive which earned her a starting spot in college to the East Midlands, looking to help push the team forward. 

“I bring hard work, leadership by example and giving everything I can to make myself and others better. I’m looking forward to playing against different players. I’ve never played in the UK before, so I can’t wait to see how everyone plays.”

For Ashby, it’s bigger than just the game. She wants to use her platform to be a role model that she never had growing up. 

“I would love to promote women’s basketball. Its become so much bigger throughout the years, and throughout my college experience, seeing younger girls come in and seeing how they look up to me and other players is huge for me. 

“I never had that when I was younger. Women’s sport wasn’t even streamed at home, so I didn’t have the opportunity to look up to female athletes. Now, I can have an effect on other people which is a really big deal, and we’re really lucky that kids have female athletes to look up to.”

Now, all that’s left is to get started. 

“I’m really excited to meet everyone and play in that atmosphere. I saw the photos from the finals last year, and it looked insane. I can’t wait to be a part of that culture!”

Photo credit: Pacific Tigers

Leicester Riders mascot experience

Become a Riders mascot for our preseason home opener against USA Select!

The package includes:

  • Four tickets
  • Lead the team on-court during the player introductions
  • Riders’ t-shirt
  • PA Announcement

Mascot package price: £95 (Booking Fee Applies)

Call Riders reception at 0116 255 8635 to book, or contact [email protected].

Leicester Riders birthday package

Celebrate your birthday in style, with a Leicester Riders birthday party experience!

We are offering this experience for our preseason home opener against USA Select!

This package includes:

  • 10 tickets (2 Adults, 8 children)
  • Leading the team on-court during the player introductions
  • Commemorative group photo with the team
  • Post-game meet the team access
  • Halftime presentation on-court with a Riders cake
  • Birthday message on Morningside Arena LED screens
  • PA announcement message

Birthday party package price: £150 (Booking Fee Applies)

Call Riders reception at 0116 255 8635 to book or contact [email protected].
(Food options or larger party groups can be arranged)

Riders sign Pinson

Leicester Riders are excited to announce the signing of Xavier Pinson for the 2023/24 season.

The 6’2” American guard signs from New Mexico State University, following stints at LSU and Missouri over his five-year college career. The Chicago native averaged 13.3 points and 4.5 assists in his final college season in New Mexico. 

Pinson served as LSU’s starting point guard for the 2021/22 season, averaging 9.8 points, 4.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He helped lead the Tigers to a 14-1 start to the season and an overall record of 22-12

He spent three years prior at the University of Missouri, putting up 10.3 points as a junior. Pinson helped Missouri to an appearance in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. 

Pinson commented: “I know I’m coming to a legendary organisation, so I want to add to the trophy cabinet. I want a championship. I don’t care about anything else, I just want to win. I want to help my coaches, teammates and organisation to where it should be. 

“I’ve worked extremely hard to be the player I am today, so I want to get out there and play well for the fans. My focus is on helping this team in any way possible: whatever anyone needs from me is what I’ll bring to the team. I’m ready to help add more history to the Riders.”

Head Coach Rob Paternostro added: “We are thrilled to sign Xavier. He is an exciting guard who has great quickness and can make plays all over the court.

“He is a guard that can eliminate defenders and put pressure on the defence with his passing and finishing at the rim. 

“He has played at a high level and shown the ability to be a dynamic player. It should be exciting to watch him play.”

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!

Riders 2023/24 roster!

It’s been a busy offseason! Both new and familiar names have signed to play in Riders red for the upcoming season!

Here you can familiarise yourself with our roster for 2023/24…

Kimbal Mackenzie- Guard

Kimbal Mackenzie is back for his third season with the Riders. During that time has proved himself one of the League’s best in the backcourt.

After gaining experience in Spain and his home nation Canada, Mackenzie took up a starring role last season, averaging 12.7 points and 3.8 assists per game. 

His play earned him a spot on the Molten BBL British Team of the Year, and won him Molten BBL Player of the Month for February.

Kimbal’s college career was spent in the NCAA D1 for Bucknall. He enjoyed a sensational senior year, scoring 17.6 points per game, the seventh-most in a season in college history.

Samuel Idowu- Forward

Samuel Iwodu is a force in the Riders’ frontcourt. The 6’8” forward brings strength and physicality to the paint on both ends of the court. 

The New York native is a fourth-year professional, having played in the Netherlands and Denmark. His most recent season for Yoast United was cut short due to injury, having averaged 15.8 points and seven rebounds in his first two years. 

Iwodu spent his college career in NCAA division one with Saint Peter’s University. He starred for the Peacocks in helping them win the program’s first-ever national postseason tournament championship in 2017.

Braelen Bridges- Forward

Braelen Bridges is a first-year pro, following four years in the NCAA division one.

He played his first two college seasons at the University of Illinois at Chicago, before transferring to his hometown University of Georgia for his junior and senior years. 

Bridges averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 rebounds as a junior. He was the only Bulldog to start all 32 games, and was Georgia’s most efficient scorer in his time there, shooting 56.1% from the field. 

Victor Ndoukou- Forward

Victor Ndoukou playing against Finland u20s
Ndoukou first joined the Riders in 2019 and is one of GB basketball’s exciting young talents.

He represented GB at the youth level and played for the Loughborough and Charnwood Riders during his time in Leicester.

Ndoukou also represented GB Under-20s this summer in the FIBA European Youth Championships.

He averaged 15.5 points per game for Charnwood College in the 2021/22 season, winning EABL MVP.

Mo Walker- Forward

Canadian-born, British big-man Mo Walker returns for his fourth season with the Riders. Mo graduated from the University of Minnesota, leading the team in rebounds and blocks as the second-leading scorer in his senior year.

Walker signed his first pro contract in the Italian first division. He gained experience around Europe, playing in Latvia, France and the BBL for the Worcester Wolves.

Mo was been a key fixture in the Riders’ treble-winning season in 2022.

TJ Lall- Foward

TJ Lall is a first-year Rider, who has played in the Canadian CEBL for much of his career.

He was selected by the Ottawa BlackJacks as the first overall pick during the 2020 CEBL Draft, and played in Canada for four seasons.

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

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

Miryne Thomas- Forward

Miryne Thomas signed in the summer for the 2023/24 season.

The 6’8” forward is in his rookie year after averaging 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds for Kent State in the NCAA Division One last season.

Thomas, a Cleaveland native, averaged double-digit points in his final two college seasons, transferring from Ball State to Kent State for his final year of eligibility.

He averaged 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds over his five-year college career.

Caleb Asberry- Guard

Caleb Asberry signed straight out of college to the Riders’ 2023/24 roster.

The 6’3 spent his final year of eligibility with Oklahoma State in the NCAA Division One. He averaged 9.7 points per game in the Big 12 for the Cowboys, following three seasons with Texas State.

At his home university, the Texas native had back-to-back seasons scoring over 13 points per game. He was the only Bobcat to start all 29 games and led the team in steals and three-pointers made.

Asberry also became the first Bobcat in school history to earn back-to-back All-District honours from the NABC.

Jaren Holmes- Guard

Holmes arrived in Leicester as a rookie, having spent his final season of college eligibility at Iowa State. He led the Cyclones in scoring with 13.3 points per game and was one of two players to start all 33 games.

He was named to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team and received an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. 

Three years at St. Bonaventure University proceeded Holmes’ year at Iowa State.

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. 

Blake Bowman- Forward

Blake Bowman joined the Riders for his first venture into BBL basketball last season, establishing himself as one of the UK’s hottest prospects. His high-flying dunks and infectious energy quickly made him a fan-favourite. 

Bowman played previously with his hometown Derby Trailblazers, playing through their youth setup. He averaged 19 points, six rebounds and three assists in the NBL, helping to bring silverware to the midlands.

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. 

Conner Washington- Guard

During his decade-long tenure with the Riders, GB guard Conner Washington has won everything there is to win in the British Basketball League with 14 pieces of silverware to his name. 

Washington is an integral part of the Riders’ successes over the last 10 years. In the 2016/17 season, Conner made the BBL Defensive Team of the Year and British Team of the Year. He developed into 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. He has earned Molten BBL Defensive Team of the Year honours on three separate occasions.

Xavier Pinson- Guard

American guard Xavier Pinson signed from New Mexico State University, following stints at LSU and Missouri over his five-year college career. The Chicago native averaged 13.3 points and 4.5 assists in his final college season in New Mexico. 

Pinson served as LSU’s starting point guard for the 2021/22 season, averaging 9.8 points, 4.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He helped lead the Tigers to a 14-1 start to the season and an overall record of 22-12

He spent three years prior at the University of Missouri, putting up 10.3 points as a junior. Pinson helped Missouri to an appearance in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. 

Want to see the Riders 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!

Ticket Information: Loughborough Men’s preseason fixtures

Loughborough Riders Men’s tip-off preseason action against BBL opponents, taking on the Leicester Riders and Cheshire Phoenix.

Loughborough will play Leicester in the Sir David Wallace building at the University on August 25, tipping off at 7 pm.

Loughborough will take on the Riders in the annual “Red vs Purple” matchup.

Get your tickets here!

Ticket prices are as follows:

Ticket typePrice
ID will be required on the door for child and student tickets

We face Cheshire on Saturday, September 2, at the Netball Centre building, tipping off at 3 pm. 

Get your tickets here!

Ticket prices are as follows:

Ticket TypePrice
Child (6-16)£5
Student £2
Family (2 Adult, 2 Child)£15
ID will be required on the door for child and student tickets

Please note, seating is unreserved. 

T&C’s and bookie fees apply

Ticket information: Riders at Loughborough

Leicester Riders are set for preseason action against Loughborough University!

The game will take place in the Sir David Wallace building at the University on August 25, tipping off at 7 pm.

The Riders will take on the future of British basketball in the Loughborough Riders, in the annual “Red vs Purple” matchup.

Get your tickets here!

Ticket prices are as follows:

Ticket typePrice
ID will be required on the door for child and student tickets

Please note, seating is unreserved. 

T&C’s and bookie fees apply

Riders abroad: Mackenzie and Lall make CEBL Conference Finals

Leicester Riders duo TJ Lall and Kimbal Mackenzie are headed to the CEBL Championship weekend!

The Canadian pair have spent the summer with the Niagara River Lions, who booked their place in the Eastern Conference final with a game to spare. 

Four CEBL teams will compete for the coveted CEBL Championship Trophy at the Langley Events Centre, the River Lions’ Conference Final taking place on August 11. 

Mackenzie and Lall showed out in the River Lions’ final game of the regular season. 

Lall had an impactful outing with a game-high 18 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and a block. Mackenzie scored 17 points and dished seven assists to direct the Niagara offence as the starting point guard.

“I feel like we’re all together all the time,” Lall said after the game. “Our defence picked up throughout the season, and we’re gaining trust with each other.”

Want to see Lall and Mackenzie in action?

Get tickets to our home preseason opener against USA Select!

Quote credit: Niagara River Lions

Top 5 Miryne Moments

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

The 6’8” Cleaveland native made a name for himself as an elite scorer during his time in the NCAA D1.

Get to know him with some of his top performances!

11/3/23: 24 points in MAC Championship semi-final

Kent State played in the MAC Tournament Championship in early 2023, attempting to book their place in the NCAA Tournament. 

In the semi-final, they came up against the Akron Zips, the third seed in the Mid-American Conference. Thomas came up huge in the game, a 16-point second half seeing Kent State to a 79-73 win.  

He attacked the game with killer efficiency, getting his 24 points on 54% field goal shooting, 66% three-point shooting and going 10-10 from the free-throw line.

They went on to win the championship, beating the number-one seed Toledo 93-78. The championship is the seventh in program history and gave the Golden Flashes an automatic bid into the 2023 NCAA Tournament. 

 1/11/23: 22-point double-double vs number one seed

The Golden Flashes went into the championship game with supreme confidence against Toldedo, having beaten them in the regular season back in November. 

Thomas led them to the win, stuffing the stat sheet with 22 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks, shooting 7-15 from the field, 4-10 from three and 4-4 from the foul line. 

His play saw them beat the Rockets 75-63, the 6’8” forward grabbing seven offensive boards. After halftime, he put the game beyond much doubt, draining three threes early in the second half against the eventual first-seed.

26/1/22: Dominance at Ball State

Thomas played for Ball State before transferring to Kent State for his final year of eligibility, putting up 11.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. 

His highest-scoring game of the season: a 26-point outing against the Miami Redhawks. Thomas led Ball State to a dominant 81-64 win, blowing the game open in the first half. 

Thomas had eight rebounds and two blocks in the win, as he went 9-12 from the field, 4-5 from three and 4-6 from the free-throw line in a red-hot deep shooting performance. 

Ball State finished up as the six seed with an 9-10 record in the MAC Conference. 

2/12/17: Dominant from the jump

As a freshman, it didn’t take long for Thomas to show his full potential as a dominant forward. Six games into his college career, he led the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to a 74-70 victory over the American University Eagles with a 17-point double-double. 

Thomas averaged 11.1 points and led the team in rebounds with 7.8 per game, and was named to the MEAC All-Rookie Team. He Recorded double-figures in rebounds in nine games with a season-high 16 later in the year. 

He put up a season-high 21 points in October before transferring to Ball State at the end of the year. 

13/12/20- Miryne can’t miss

Having already established himself as an efficient scorer in his three college seasons prior, Thomas’ ability to put the ball in the basket was on full display against the Northern Illinois Huskies in his final season with Ball State. 

He led the team with 20 points and seven rebounds, his shooting efficiency number through the roof. Thomas shot 6-7 from the field, 4-4 from three and 4-5 from the free-throw line, missing only one field goal on the way to his points tally. 

It was a 78-58 blowout, Ball State taking a 15-point lead into the half and never looking back. Thomas went on to averaged 49.5% from the field and 44.6% from three in a red-hot year. 

Want to see Miryne in action?

Get tickets to our home preseason opener against USA Select!

Photo credit: Kent State Golden Flashes

2023/24 WBBL Schedule Released

Leicester Riders’ fixtures for the 2023/24 season have been announced.

We host the Manchester Giants on opening night on 21 October.

The WBBL Betty Codona Trophy will take place throughout January, with the draw taking place at a later date.

The new WBBL All-Star game will take place on 17 March, at a venue to be confirmed.

The full fixture list is listed below. Please note that all fixtures are subject to change.


21st Oct18:00ChampionshipHManchester Giants
28th Oct17:45ChampionshipAOaklands Wolves
4th Nov18:00ChampionshipHNewcastle Eagles
18th Nov15:15ChampionshipACardiff Met Archers
25th Nov18:00ChampionshipHNottingham Wildcats
3rd Dec12:00ChampionshipALondon Lions
9th Dec16:00ChampionshipAEssex Rebels
13th/14th JanTBCTrophy Quarter-FinalTBCTBC
20th/21st JanTBCTrophy Semi-FinalTBCTBC
28th JanTBCTrophy FinalTBC
10th Feb16:00ChampionshipHCardiff Met Archers
17th Feb19:30ChampionshipANewcastle Eagles
25th Feb14:00ChampionshipAManchester Giants
2nd Mar18:00ChampionshipHOaklands Wolves
9th Mar18:00ChampionshipHLondon Lions
17th MarTBCAll-Star Game
31st Mar17:00ChampionshipANottingham Wildcats
6th Apr18:00ChampionshipHEssex Rebels
13th Apr13:00ChampionshipADurham Palatinates
21st Apr17:00ChampionshipACaledonia Gladiators
27 Apr18:00ChampionshipHSheffield Hatters
TBCChampionshipHCaledonia Gladiators
TBCChampionshipHDurham Palatinates
TBCChampionshipASheffield Hatters

Ticket information is to be announced in the near future!

Watch: TJ Lall leads the biggest upset in TBT history

TJ Lall led the biggest upset in “The Basketball Tournament” history, as India Rising knocked off number one seed Red Scare 77-67.

Lall hit the game-winning dagger to send the Brown Ballers into the second round.

It was his game-leading 26th points of the night, which he combined with five rebounds and five assists in a stat-sheet-stuffing display.

He caught fire from deep, going 4-9 from three.

India Rising will take on 2019 champions Carmens Crew in the second round, moving one step closer to the $1 million prize money.

Watch the highlights below

Want to see Lall in action?

Get tickets to our home preseason opener against USA Select!

Riders sign Asberry

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of Caleb Asberry to their 2023/24 roster. 

The 6’3” guard comes straight out of college, where he spent his final year of eligibility with Oklahoma State in the NCAA Division One.

He averaged 9.7 points per game in the Big 12 for the Cowboys, following three seasons with Texas State. 

At his home university, the Texas native had back-to-back seasons scoring over 13 points per game. He was the only Bobcat to start all 29 games and led the team in steals and three-pointers made. 

Asberry also became the first Bobcat in school history to earn back-to-back All-District honours from the NABC. He helped his school to the 2022 Sun Belt MMB regular-season trophy and was named to the All-Sun Belt First Team as a senior.

“I want to express sincere gratitude and excitement towards singing with the Riders,” said Asberry. 

“It is truly an honour and a privilege to have the opportunity to join such an incredible organisation. I understand the weight and responsibility that comes with this new chapter in my career.

“Rest assured, I am fully committed to giving my absolute best, both on and off the court. I’m thrilled to be joining an organisation that shares my values and ambitions!”

“We are thrilled to sign Caleb,” said Head Coach Rob Paternostro. 

“He is an exciting player who can really put pressure on the defence. He plays the game with a bounce and energy that teammates and fans can appreciate.

“He had a decorated career at Texas State. It was enjoyable to watch him play, and it was impressive how in his final season he went to a new team in the BIG 12 and made a significant impact.”

“He can shoot the ball from long range both off the catch and off the dribble, and he’s the kind of player that can get hot in a hurry and change the game.”

Want to see Caleb in action?

Get tickets to the Riders’ preseason home opener against USA Select!

Photo credit: Oklahoma State Cowboys

Watch: Samuel Idowu New York City Interview

We sat down with Riders’ summer singing Samuel Idowu, who spoke about his basketball journey so far, what he will bring to the team and more!

Watch below!

The former GB u20s star spent his three college years in NCAA division one with Saint Peter’s University. Iwodu starred for the Peacocks in helping them win the program’s first-ever national postseason tournament championship in 2017.

Idowu averaged 16.1 pts in his first professional season in Holland with Aris Leeuwarden. His second year he spent in Denmark with Team FOG Naestved, averaging 15.5 pts. He spent his third year with Yoast United, but was cut short due to injury.

Want to see Idowu in action?

Get tickets to our home preseason opener against USA Select!

Riders retain Powell

Leicester Riders can confirm the return of Erin Powell for the 2023/24 season. 

The 5’10” forward will suit up for the Riders while completing her third year at Charnwood College. 

Powell averaged 28.5 points and 18.8 rebounds in the EABL last season and 6.8 points per game in the WBL Division One for the Loughborough Riders. 

She also has experience on the international stage, having played for Great Britain Under-18s.

“I’m super excited to get back to playing and learning with the Riders,” said Powell. 

“My last two years with the programme have allowed me to progress towards my goals greatly. Hopefully, I can make positive impacts on the floor with my team. 

“I love the atmosphere at Riders, and I am grateful to have another year of development with them.”

“I’m really interested to see Erin continue to develop this season with us,” said Head Coach Ben Stanley. 

“She’s shown a lot of improvement over the last year and has already impressed me in conversation this summer. This year should be a big jump for her.”

Ticket information: USA Select

Leicester Riders tip off their preseason campaign at the Morningside Arena against USA Select. 

The game, played on Friday, September 8 2023, tips off at 7:45 pm, with doors open to fans at 5:45 pm. 

The Riders host USA Select every preseason during their annual tour of Europe, as they aim to give aspiring professional players exposure to European basketball clubs.

Get your tickets here!

Ticket prices are as follows:

Ticket typePrice
Adult (16+)£10
Concession (65+ and students)£7.50
Child (Under 16)£5
Hospitality £25

All above tickets are unreserved seating and can be purchased with Loyalty Points.

Hospitality information

Our hospitality package includes the following benefits:

  • Paid bar
  • Access to the Granby mezzanine
  • Main meal served prior to the game
  • Exclusive courtside seating
  • Private toilet facilities

For more information, please contact [email protected].

T&C’s and bookie fees apply

A message from Mo

Hello everybody! It’s great to be back! 

I’m so happy that the management, coaching staff and fans still believe in me after all that we’ve been through. 

I’m grateful to be able to reach and motivate others, sharing the blessings that basketball has allowed me. 

As you all know, I’ve missed some time with injury over the last couple of seasons. It’s been a long road, but God and my girlfriend have helped me mentally. They have been with me every day to help me heal and grow as a person on and off the court. 

During my recovery, I enjoyed working with the Foundation. I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes and in the community around basketball.

Connecting with the kids was great: helping to motivate and inspire them to get through any difficult times they face. 

Now I’m healthy, I can’t wait to get back out there. Expect us to give our best effort every time we step onto the floor. Personally, I expect myself to bring veteran leadership to help the younger players learn and grow. 

I know the fans will have our back every game and bring the energy and noise we need in tight spots to get us over the edge. 

I’m excited to still be a part of the Riders. I’m grateful to be able to make up for lost time, and I’m looking forward to being back out there with all the fans!

Praise God.

Mo Walker

Riders re-sign Walker

The Riders are thrilled to announce the return of Mo Walker for the 2023/24 season. 

It will be the Canadian/British big man’s fourth season with the Riders, after signing for the 2020/21 season. 

Walker was an integral part of the club’s treble-winning success in 2022, averaging 11.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game that year. 

Before last season was cut short due to injury, the  University of Minnesota graduate was putting up 10.3 points and 4.5 rebounds, shooting 58.6% from the field. 

“I’m excited to still be a part of the Riders!” said Walker. 

“Anyone who has followed the club and has watched my journey knows I have lost time in the past due to injury. But I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to make up for lost time, and I’m looking forward to being back out there in front of the Riders fans!” 

“We are all looking forward to having Mo back on the court for us next season,” commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro. 

“I thought he started off very well last season and was playing good basketball before the injury. He can be very difficult to match up with, can score in different ways and has the ability to put real pressure on the opposing defence.

“Mo has always shown great leadership during his time here and we have valued that on and off the court.”

Riders sign Januszewska

Leicester Riders are delighted to announce the signing of Katie Januszewska for their 2023/24 roster. 

Januszewska is a Charnwood product, joining the Academy in 2020. She signs a four-year deal, and will study for a degree at Loughborough University.

In 2021/2022, the versatile wing averaged 19.3 points and 11.7 rebounds in the WEABL and made the All-First Team in the Northern Conference.

She was also named to the Women’s NBL Division One British Team of the Year with the Loughborough Riders, putting up 13.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. 

Last season, Januszewska joined St Francis Brooklyn in NCAA Division One, before returning to the East Midlands for the upcoming year. 

“We’re really excited to have KJ back,” said head coach Ben Stanley.

“She knows how our programme works and her experience from a young age at WNBL1, WBBL and National Teams is going to be invaluable.  

“She’s got a diverse game that can really help us and she plays hard, and I think that’s going to really help us as we establish our culture.”

“I am excited for the opportunity,” said  Januszewska.

“I’m grateful to be able to return home and continue my studies while playing basketball for the Riders, who have had a big part in my journey so far.”

Watch: Victor Ndoukou on his GB Under-20s call up

Young Riders’ forward Victor Ndoukou recieved a call-up to captain Great Britain Under-20s for the FIBA European Youth Championships ‘B’ Divison.

Ndoukou will play alongside Charnwood’s Lane Campbell in the competition.

We sat down with Ndoukou, who told us what representing his country means to him.

Starting on the 7th July, Great Britain will compete in Skopje, North Macedonia, in a group alongside Austria, Hungary, Luxembourg and Portugal.

The group games take place on the following:

Friday, July 7 2023, 8 PM BST – Great Britain vs Austria
Saturday, July 8 2023, 3 PM BST – Portugal vs Great Britain
Sunday, July 9 2023, 12:30 PM BST – Great Britain vs Luxembourg
Tuesday, July 11 2023, 12:30 PM BST – Hungary vs Great Britain

You can watch every game on GB Basketball TV.

We’ll keep you up to date on Ndoukou and GB as the action unfolds!

Photo credit: Ville Vuorinen

Riders sign Bridges

The Leicester Riders are delighted to announce the signing of Braelen Bridges to their 2022/23 roster. 

The 6’10″ forward will play in his rookie season, following his time competing in the NCAA division one. 

He first suited up for Northwest Florida State College, then played his next two college seasons at the University of Illinois at Chicago. As a senior, he transferred to his hometown University of Georgia. 

Bridges averaged 12.9 points and 5.6 rebounds in his senior year. He was the only Bulldog to start all 32 games and was Georgia’s most efficient scorer during his time there, shooting 56.1% from the field. 

He stayed for a fifth year of college to complete his master’s, averaging 8.7 points and 4.9 rebounds, before graduating and signing in Leicester. 

Bridges is Coach Rob Paternostro’s third summer recruit after the re-signing of point guard Kimbal Mackenzie and the addition of 6’8” forward Sam Idowu. 

READ MORE: Return of the Mack

READ MORE: Riders sign Idowu

“I’m excited about Braelen,” commented Riders head coach Rob Paternostro. 

“He played in one of America’s best college basketball conferences and was an impact player with Georgia.”

“He’s got great size and touch around the basket, and what excited me was that he’s just scratching the surface. He has more to his game, and his versatility will shine in the professional game.”

“It is an honour to sign with the Leicester Riders,” added Bridges after signing his first professional contract. 

“I’m grateful to get the opportunity to continue to play the game I love at a high level.” 

Photo Credit: Georgia Bulldogs

Krumesh Patel departs as head coach

Leicester Riders can confirm the departure of Krumesh Patel as head coach. 

Last season, Patel led the team to three finals for the first time in their history and third place in the WBBL Championship with a 17-5 record. 

He also led Loughborough University women to the BUCS championship. 

“It’s been a great year at Riders, and really nice to return to where I started,” said Patel. “I’d like to thank all the staff and players for everything this year!”

“To have a historic season is a credit to them and something I will never forget. Unfortunately, it’s time to move on, but I wish the programme all the best moving forward.”

The club wishes Krumesh well in his future endeavours.  

Meet the new members of our commercial team

We are excited to announce new members of our commercial team!

Tracey Hallam- Head of Commercial

We are delighted to welcome Tracey Hallam as the new Head of Commercial. In her role, Tracey will be supporting the three companies, Leicester Riders, Leicester Riders Foundation and Morningside Arena. 

Tracey has a wide breadth of commercial experience and is a big Riders fan, having joined from one of Riders’ sponsors, 360Autoleasing. Tracey will provide leadership on sponsorship, marketing, ticketing, corporate communications and sales.

Alejandro Medina- Marketing Executive

Alejandro Medina has also just joined us from the Business School at the University of Leicester, where he was President of the University Basketball Club and a marketing major.

Alex has been liaising with us on a range of interests over the last 3 years while he was an undergraduate and will focus on all aspects of marketing. 

Charlie Walker- Corporate Communications Executive

Charlie Walker has joined from the University of Derby, where he received a Sports Journalism degree. Charlie has been working with the club over the last three years and has been a regular contributor to the website, social channels and publications.

Rahul Khanna- Data and Systems Analyst

Rahul Khanna is another new recruit from the University of Leicester, where he was a Mathematics major. He is joining as a data and systems analyst, helping our businesses to really understand all our customers, and our partners, and their engagement with us. 

“We are delighted to welcome the new members of our commercial team,” said Riders chairman Kevin Routledge.

“We believe there are great opportunities for us to support Leicestershire
businesses, and Tracey will provide the right leadership.”

To learn about the opportunities available, contact [email protected].

Riders sign Idowu

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of 6’8” forward Samuel Idowu.

The former GB u20s star spent his three college years in NCAA division one with Saint Peter’s University. Iwodu starred for the Peacocks in helping them win the program’s first ever national postseason tournament championship in 2017.

Idowu averaged 16.1 pts in his first professional season in Holland with Aris Leeuwarden. His second year he spent in Denmark with Team FOG Naestved, averaging 15.5 pts. He spent his third year with Yoast United, but was cut-short due to injury.

“It’s been a long time, but I can’t wait to come back to England” commented Idowu.

“I’m excited to join the Riders for the new season! I look forward to meeting the team, embracing the fans and the culture as well.”

The New York native, who holds a British passport, becomes Coach Rob Paternostro’s second recruit of the summer having secured the services of fan favourite Kimbal Mackenzie late last month.

Coach Rob commented: “We are really looking forward to working with Sam. He is a versatile big with good experience in Europe, who has shown the ability to score and rebound as a professional.”

“I enjoyed speaking with him, he is an intelligent engaging guy who I think will fit in very well with us.”

Photo credit: Saint Peter’s Peacocks

Jelson Homes to continue long-standing partnership

Leicester Riders are delighted to confirm that long-standing title sponsor Jelson Homes have extended their sponsorship and support of the club in what will be our 16th season working together.

“Jelson Homes have been an invaluable partner for the club since its rebirth in 2007. We are under no illusions that their continued support is massive for us. It enables Coach Rob to put out a side that has not only competed down the years but also brought home many trophies,” reflected Managing Director Russell Levenston.

“We can’t thank Robert Jelley and Jelson Homes enough. They enable us to provide outstanding accommodation for our players and have helped finance our progress. They have been a rock for us and one we really appreciate.”

Managing Director of Jelson Homes, Robert Jelley commented:

“Our partnership with Leicester Riders has been a fantastic one since the beginning. Seeing the growth over our time together has been incredible, not only in the success on the court and arena development but also in the growth of their community work.”

“We are delighted to be supporting the club once again next season. We’re all very much looking forward to it.”

Riders would like to put on record their thanks for Jelson Homes’ continued and much valued support.

BBL announce new format for 2023/24

Following an epic conclusion to the British Basketball League season at The O2, the league is delighted to share its new formats for the 2023/24 season. 

The change of format sees the introduction of an All-Star Game which will take place next March. Additionally the formats for the entire calendar, including the Play-offs, has been revamped to make the league more thrilling than ever before, with three major pieces of silverware up for grabs next season. 

The league season will make its return on the weekend of Thursday 14 September with the opening round of fixtures in the Championship season, as rivalries are renewed and new stories are told. This, before a mid-season pause from Championship action, will see clubs turn their focus and attention to compete in the British Basketball League Trophy, which tips off on Thursday 4 January. With a new format, the Trophy comprises of two five team groups formed from British Basketball League clubs before the nail biting action concludes with a Semi-Final to decide who heads to Birmingham to compete in the Final on Sunday 29 January

The new layout of the British basketball calendar will allow for sole focus on each individual competition, ramping up the excitement for fans throughout the campaign, so they can roar on their teams. 

Following the return of Championship action, March will bring a showstopping All-Star game for the first time in over ten years – with more details to follow in due course. 

Upon the conclusion of the Championship season, the top eight teams will fight in the Play-offs, which sees an upgraded format of a “best of three” series for both the Quarters and Semi-Finals of the competition, and should a lower seeded team defeat a higher seeded team, that team will assume the seeding of the higher seed team they defeated. As always, the season finale sees the league head to London and The O2 for the pulse-raising Play-off Finals on Sunday 19 May.  

Speaking on the new formats, the British Basketball League’s CEO, Aaron Radin said:

“We’re really pleased to be launching new formats for the 23/24 season, which I know will excite British Basketball fans. We wanted to ensure the format of the season was clearer for our clubs, partners and fans to follow, ensuring that all the thrilling action flowed throughout the season. 

“The reintroduction of an All-Star game will be an amazing showcase of the sensational talent we have in the British Basketball League and adds another landmark moment into the basketball calendar. It’s been an incredible year for the league and we’re only going to continue to grow in the season’s ahead.”

The Women’s British Basketball League will follow a very similar formats structure as the men’s league, with clubs facing off twice throughout the course of the championship season. 

The Women’s British Basketball League Chairman, Jim Saker, said: 

It is brilliant to be working in tandem with the men’s league, so we can all capitalise on the monumental growth the sport continues to see in the UK.”

British Basketball League fans should stay tuned throughout the summer for exciting announcements ahead of the 2023/24 season! Dates for all fixtures will be confirmed during the summer ahead of the return of another thrilling campaign of basketball action. 

Riders fall just short in Playoff Final

The Riders fell just short in the BBL Playoff Final, losing 88-80 to the London Lions.

A fourth-quarter comeback gave the Riders a chance to win it late, but Marc Loving’s three to cut the game to two fell heartbreakingly short, and the Lions saw out the win. 

Zach Jackson went off for 20 points and nine rebounds, giving everything to keep his team in it. He was backed by Carrington Love’s 17 points and seven rebounds, the American guard running the Riders’ offence with electric energy. 

It was not to be for Leicester, however, who went 5-24 from three and 21-37 from the free throw line in the loss. Despite the off-shooting night, the Riders aggressive play kept them in contention until late, showing heart in the face of adversity. 

London’s Jordan Taylor was named Final MVP, putting up 15 points, seven assists and five rebounds. 

In his final game before retirement, Riders’ captain Darien Nelson-Henry led the out the gates for their first two scores. It was a tightly contested start to the game, but the Lions edged out to and advantage towards the end of the first. 

Tarik Phillp’s three made it 22-14 London after one, his eight points off the bench leading the game. 

The Riders fought back to start the second. Carrington Love pulled the strings, finding open shots for his teammates and bagging four points in three minutes. 

But London responded to carve out their biggest lead of the game. They found their way to the rim on four straight possessions to go up 11. 

Continuing to play aggressively, the Riders found their way to the free-throw line to remain in contention. They took 19 in the first half to the Lions’ nine, but made only 11. They were also one for eight from three by halftime. Leicester’s shooting in the first half was a major contributor to their deficit. 

But they were down only eight, despite finding themselves off the mark shooting the ball. Kimbal Mackenzie hit a fadeaway at the buzzer to jolt momentum into the team going into the locker rooms. 

The Riders could not make inroads in the third quarter, but their timely responses to Lions’ buckets kept them in touching distance going into the fourth. They were down 15 midway through the third, but back-to-back buckets from Carrington Love and Zach Jackson cut into their deficit. 

London hit back to close the third, rebuilding their advantage to 14 by the buzzer. Jordan Taylor led the team with 11 points and six assists with one to play.  

Scoring the first seven in the fourth quarter, the Riders showed heart to make it a game. Five of those points came from the free throw line as Leicester attacked the teeth of London’s defence. 

Midway through the fourth, the teams traded three-point bombs. London had the edge from deep, winning the battle from three to get back out to an 11-point lead. 

Leicester continued to show heart. They commenced a 9-3 run to come steaming back, cutting it to five with a minute left. Loving had a chance to cut it to one possession, but his three with 40 seconds left rolled around the hoop and out. 

Phillip hit the subsequent free throws, winning it for London. 

The game concluded the Riders 2022/23 season. Thank you all for your tremendous support. 

BBL Playoff Final: Key Player Matchups

Sunday’s BBL Playoff Final between the Riders and the London Lions will be a showcase of the best talent the UK’s premier basketball competition has to offer.

Elite talent on both sides inevitably means great one-on-one battles across the court. Basketball is a team sport at its heart, but just ten players occupying the floor at one time means that beating the opposite man carries a lot of impact.

Here are the individual battles to look out for this weekend.

Carrington Love vs. Jordan Taylor

Carrington Love Stat Line: 7.65 PPG/5.52 APG/1.30 SPG/39.51 FG%

Jordan Taylor Stat Line: 9.04 PPG/5.22 APG/0.74 SPG/44.62 FG%

Look for Love and Taylor – two of the league’s flashiest ball handlers – to dictate the action on Sunday evening.

Both like to dish the ball to open teammates but have the ability to score points of their own, although expect the Lions’ point guard to attempt more shots from deep compared to Love, who typically drives down the lane.

If Love wants to get the better of his fellow American, he needs to maintain the high standard of on-ball defence he’s displayed since joining the Riders.

Taylor is one of the most efficient guards in the BBL when it comes to limiting turnovers, but if Love can pilfer a steal or two, that could be the difference between winning and losing.

Patrick Whelan vs. Aaron Best

Patrick Whelan Stat Line: 13.29 PPG/45.41 FG%/43.75 3P%

Aaron Best Stat Line: 11.86 PPG/48.99 FG%/41.45 3P%

The battle of the sharpshooters comes between shooting guards Patrick Whelan and Lions’ captain, Aaron Best.

The Brit and the Canadian are both hitting over 41% of their shots from three-point range and provide a constant threat from beyond the arc.

There is a chance that Whelan and Best will cancel each other out, but if Whelan can get hot, the impact will carry further than his points total.

The Warrington native has the ability to spread the Lions’ defence, opening lanes for the likes of Mackenzie and Jackson.

If Whelan can make that corner spot his own early, the Riders could build an all-important first-half lead.

Zach Jackson vs. Miye Oni

Zach Jackson Stat Line: 15.86 PPG/5.88 RPG/52.30 FG%

Miye Oni Stat Line: 7.94 PPG/4.17 RPG/39.42 FG%

A quick glance over the stat lines paints a dominant picture in favour of Zach Jackson. The Riders’ wing forward is outperforming his American-Nigerian opponent in every key category, but discounting Oni could be perilous.

The 6’5” guard brings impressive pedigree, winning the 2019 Ivy League Player of the Year as a member of Yale University before playing 80 regular season games and 10 playoff games in the NBA for the Utah Jazz.

On his day, Jackson is one of the dynamite scorers in the BBL, dropping over 25 points in seven games since joining the Riders, but has never scored more than 20 against the Lions.

If there’s a time for Jackson to get one over on his man and shine offensively, it’s now.

Darien Nelson-Henry vs. Josh Sharma

Darien Nelson-Henry Stat Line: 8.07 PPG/6.13 RPG/0.51 BPG/58.65 FG%

Josh Sharma Stat Line: 9.20 PPG/5.12 RPG/1.78 BPG/61.87 FG%

We finally move onto the big men, as 6’11” Riders’ captain, Darien Nelson-Henry faces up against the 7’0” Josh Sharma, voted into the ‘All-British’ and ‘Defensive’ teams of the year.

Nelson-Henry, playing in his final game before retirement, has been a different animal during the playoffs. The tough American has averaged 12 PPG and 7.75 RPG in the last four games, vastly improving on his regular season totals.

Nelson-Henry’s relationship with Love looks to have hit its peak, and his movement into the paint has allowed him to find space for an easy shot where others wouldn’t.

He will need to call upon all of his experience and guile to match the 7-foot brick wall in Sharma.

The Lions’ centre often comes off the bench for London, but his impact is nothing short of seismic. He often puts up more than 10 points in a game and held his own block party against the Giants, knocking down six shots on the way to a big win.

The O2 Arena will be rocking this weekend – from the noise of the crowd and the sheer force between this heavyweight clash.

Kimbal Mackenzie vs. Luke Nelson

Kimbal Mackenzie Stat Line: 12.55 PPG/3.86 APG/46.38 FG%/89.25 FT%

Luke Nelson Stat Line: 10.61 PPG/4.32 APG/42.72 FG%/74.29 FT%

The final matchup that could shape the story of the game comes from two spark plugs off the bench, who may not directly face each other.

Mackenzie and Nelson will both bring energy and impact during the game, and how and when they are utilised by coaches Rob Paternostro and Ryan Schmidt will be interesting to see.

Mackenzie is all-energy and a true leader on the court. He may not start the game, but with his ability to step up in the clutch, be sure that he’ll finish it. Expect to see him play aggressively with the ball in his hands, driving to the basket regularly to force the Lions into foul trouble.

Nelson is a true playmaker who can put up points when he needs to. The British combo guard displayed this in a February win over Cheshire, dropping 21 points on the Phoenix while also handing out nine assists.

The two guards will provide quality play off the bench.

Should the starting line-ups cancel each other out, whoever wins this matchup may decide the outcome of the game.

BBL Playoff Final Preview: Riders vs Lions

Here we are.

One game to go.

40 minutes between the Riders and back-to-back playoff glory. A chance for every player in the squad to cement their legacy in the history of the club.

In the way – a London Lions squad that has already beaten Leicester in the BBL Cup Final.

Sunday, May 14, 4:15pm is the tip-off time. The O2 Arena in London is the location.

British basketball doesn’t get any more box office than this.

Opposition Report: London Lions

No team has been tougher to beat this season than the London Lions.

Recently named Molten Ed Percival BBL Head Coach of the Year, Ryan Schmidt, has orchestrated a season of rare dominance that saw the Lions win the BBL Cup before running away with the BBL Championship boasting a commanding 32-4 record.

No team has been able to deal with the Lions who, as well as being the most efficient scorers in the league, are the best defensive team in the UK by far.

The #1 seed Lions have carried their sparkling regular season form into the playoffs, first swatting aside Newcastle before getting the better of the #5 seed Cheshire Phoenix.

Neither the Eagles nor the Phoenix were able to get within eight points of the ruthless Pride, who average an impressive 97.75 in the playoffs.

Perhaps the best example of London’s effectiveness on court came in the semi-final second leg at home to Cheshire.

The Lions’ tenacity on the defensive end of the floor held the Phoenix to a poor 41% from the field, which opened clean looks for London’s sharpshooters as Cheshire began to tire.

Granted, the team from the capital allowed Maceo Smith to romp to 34 points, but when a team is averaging 70% in two-pointers, it’s game over.

Season Matchup

Leicester have suffered a loss in all five of their games against their southern opponents this season, including a 79-70 defeat in the previously mentioned BBL Cup Final.

Game 1 set the tone for the year, the Lions taking an 89-78 home victory in the Copper Box Arena, courtesy of an 18-11 double-double by American star, and league MVP, Sam Dekker.

The next contest didn’t arrive until December 27 and, despite the score being closer, London pulled out a second win over the Riders to quieten the Morningside Arena’s Christmas cheer.

Darien Nelson-Henry tussled manfully with former NBA player Kosta Koufous for supremacy on the boards, but his 13 rebounds weren’t enough, and the Riders lost 81-75.

The third game in the BBL Championship ended in a blowout 102-77 road triumph for the Lions. Teams must be a 100% to match the London side and Leicester were off their game. Seven-footer Josh Sharma was the standout player on court, dropping 17 points to build a +21 +/- differential.

April 7 brought a night of entertainment to the Copper Box crowd as Game 4 produced the closest result of the season between the #1 and #2 seeds – an 83-81 win for London.

A topsy-turvy first half saw the Riders take a one-point lead into the break, but, with both defences clamping down in the second 20, the Lions edged ahead at the death.

The last game of the season series should best represent the play of the final – tense, tight and point-for-point.

The Riders need to put the regular season results behind them and focus on the here and now.

Keys to Victory

Get London in Foul Trouble

The Lions have very few chinks in their armour, but getting into foul trouble might be one of them.

London are the third most prolific team at sending the opposition to the line this season, and the Riders punish free shots better than anyone.

If impact players like Kimbal Mackenzie and Evan Walshe drive to the basket aggressively, the Riders can use that league-leading 79.47 free throw percentage effectively.

Match Their Shooting Percentage

As previously mentioned, London have very few weaknesses. In that case, the Riders need to match one of their opposition’s strengths with a strength of their own.

Both squads are clearly the most efficient in the league when shooting the rock, and the Riders need to be at their 48% best on Sunday evening.

London will manufacture some clean looks – it’s inevitable. Leicester need to take their clear shots each time one presents itself.

Missing open looks will undoubtedly see the Riders fighting an uphill battle.

Overcome Defensive Intensity

The Lions’ defence has been their sharpest weapon all season.

Their defensive rating of 92.98 is nearly ten points better than the #2 team in that category – Sheffield.

Coach Rob Paternostro’s players will be under more pressure when in possession of the ball than they have been all season.

They need to rise above that pressure.

Playing smart, team basketball that stays ahead of the shot clock gives Leicester their best chance.

If the Riders can get the better of London’s defence, the chances of a famous victory skyrocket.

Final Word

Following the treble-winning season of last year, the hunger for silverware is embedded in the clubs’ DNA

The BBL Cup and Trophy titles passed the Riders by.

The Playoff title is still within their grasp.

They are the underdogs after five defeats to the Lions this season. Let’s hope it’s sixth time lucky for Coach Rob’s squad.

HOOP HQ opens in Loughborough

The exciting new venue in Loughborough town centre has been created to raise funds for the Leicester Riders Foundation, whilst also inspiring the future generation of British basketball talent

British basketball team, Leicester Riders, has today announced the opening of Hoop HQ, an exciting new venue designed to get more young people off the streets and onto the court.

The new experiential space, which is located in Loughborough town centre on Market Street, has been created to raise funds for the Leicester Riders Foundation, give more local children access to the sport and ultimately cultivate the future pipeline of British basketball talent.

The Leicester Riders Foundation already works with lots of communities all over Leicestershire and the Hoop HQ concept will be used as a model around the country. The area will look to become a community base for everyone to be able to access the game of basketball and connect with like-minded individuals, whether that’s through shooting some hoops or playing 3×3 basketball. 

The launch of Hoop HQ comes just days before Leicester Riders battle it out against London Lions at the British Basketball Play-Off Finals. Taking place this Sunday at the O2 Arena in London, the Riders will be looking to defend their title for the second year running. 

Commenting on the space, Leicester Riders Managing Director and Riders Foundation Trustee, Russell Levenston said: “The opening of Hoop HQ has been a dream of mine and I’m so excited to see it finally come to life. A huge thank you to Raff, the landlord for offering the shop to the foundation and believing in the project, as well as to the local companies and volunteers who’ve helped turn this into a safe, enjoyable space for the community to use.”

Hoop HQ landlord, Raff Russo said: “Hoop HQ is a fantastic initiative and the Leicester Riders team has worked tirelessly to turn what was the old Blockbusters into a welcoming venue for all the community to enjoy. This is a one-of-a-kind space which will be pivotal in driving awareness for British basketball and help to inspire the next generation of players.”

James Sirrell, Director of EDSB Compliance Solutions, commented: “EDSB Compliance Solutions are proud to support Leicester Riders Basketball team and their new Retail outlet in Loughborough. The EDSB team have worked night and day over the past few weeks to get everything compliant in time for their grand opening and we look forward to partnering up with them for many years to come.”

Hoop HQ will be open to the public from Tuesday 23rd May and will be open 6 days a week from 2pm-10pm on weekdays and 9am-5pm on Weekends. 

Riders through to the Playoff Final!

The Riders booked their place in the BBL Playoff final, beating the Bristol Flyers 159-156 over two legs. 

Entering the leg up seven after winning 84-77 in Bristol, the Riders needed only to lose by six or less to progress. Bristol won the second leg 79-75, Leicester hanging on to win it. 

They came back from down five in the fourth to win it, flexing their championship pedigree to get over the hump. Marc Loving proved the hero, scoring a team-high 18 points, including two late free throws to win it. 

By no means was it easy. The Flyers’ defence held the Riders to 41% from the floor, and their big names showed out. Big man Malcolm Delpeche bossed the boards with 23 points and eight rebounds to hand Leicester just their second playoff loss since 2016. 

But the hosts had enough over two legs, and they earned the right to fight for back-to-back playoff titles. 

Carrington Love got the Riders going, making their first three field goals to get the team in rhythm. The start was vital to setting the tone of the game, and a 9-5 Riders’ start settled them into it. 

They controlled the early stages from there. Loving found form to score six straight, leading Leicester through the first, which ended 21-18 in their favour. 

Both offences stalled in the second, but Bristol found their way onto the score sheet to take the lead four minutes in. Delpeche’s putback made it 25-23 to the visitors, forcing a Leicester timeout. 

The response was immediate. Zach Jackson’s three retook the lead in a back-and-forth end to the half. But Bristol’s Tevin Olison’s three ended it, the Flyers up two going into the locker rooms. 

They tied the fixture quickly in the third period, starting 5-0. The Bristol momentum set up a tense third quarter as the sides battled for control of the semi-final. And it was the Flyers who took it, snatching the lead with a 7-0 run. 

Out of a Riders’ timeout, Mackenzie’s three gave the Riders much-needed points. It stemmed the tide, and the teams entered the fourth with everything in the balance. 

The Riders, after falling down five over two legs to start the fourth, fought back hard. They tied it through their captain, who trailed a fastbreak to finish in close. 

The sides exchanged blows in the clutch, neither backing down. But it was Leicester who found late form. Their big three, Patrick Whelan, Marc Loving and Jackson, hit huge baskets down the stretch to edge a lead. 

Delpeche’s fierce slam with nine seconds on the clock meant the game came down to free throws. Loving, ice in his veins, made both making it a three-point tie. Jelani Watson-Gayle, contested brilliantly by Jackson, missed his attempt from deep, sending the Riders to the final. 

The final will be played in London’s O2 Arena, and the opponent will be decided in tomorrow’s semi-final between the London Lions and the Cheshire Phoenix. 

Five Takeaways From The Semi-Final First Leg

The Riders go into Sunday’s box office clash at the Morningside Arena holding a seven-point aggregate lead over the Bristol Flyers.

After opening a commanding 26-point gap between themselves and their hosts, Leicester resisted a spirited response in the second half to win 84-77 – their first victory at the SGS College Arena this season.

Here are five things to take away from a first-leg high in drama.

Another Fast Start Proved to be the Key

Starting with an earth-shattering slam from Aaron Menzies and ending with a smooth three-ball by Zach Jackson, the Riders surged into a 39-13 lead in the first half.

Much like they did against Sheffield, Rob Paternostro’s squad started the game with purpose.

Marc Loving and Carrington Love matched Jackson with a pair of nice deep balls, and 7’3” Menzies was throwing his considerable size around at both ends of the court.

The Brit was unplayable in the first 15 minutes, blocking shots, hustling to offensive rebounds and scoring with ease around the rim.

In one of his best games as a Rider, Menzies’ stat line read ten points, six rebounds and two blocks.

All of this contributed to a healthy first half lead and, once again, piled pressure on the Flyers to bridge the gap.

Riders’ Spread the Scoring

The Riders finished the game with six players boasting double-digits in points.

Starters Jackson, Patrick Whelan and Darien Nelson-Henry all breached ten points and were ably supported by Menzies, speedy guard Evan Walshe and the ball of energy that is Kimbal Mackenzie.

Mackenzie was the Riders’ top scorer with 14, driving to the basket with pace and always asking questions of Bristol’s defence.

#1 also dished out four of the Riders’ 15 assists on a night where the team displayed its impressive strength-in-depth.

The BBL post-season is bringing out the best in every player on the Riders’ team sheet.

Big Performances off the Bench

With so many points coming from all areas of the Riders’ squad, it’s not surprising that they bested the Flyers in bench points – 39 to 28.

Thursday’s semi-final preview mentioned that (between Leicester and Bristol) the team who wins the battle of the benches wins the game.

Nothing happened on Friday night to buck this trend.

Mackenzie, Menzies, Walshe and Jubril Adekoya all brought their ‘A-game’ to the court, proven by the positive numbers in the +/- column.

Menzies and Walshe both finished with a +13 personal points differential, testament to the physicality and athleticism they inflicted on the Flyers.

The latter’s speed when pushing the ball down the court looked undefendable, perfectly demonstrated by a coast-to-coast bucket in the first half.

If Leicester’s bench continue to bring this ferocity, they will be nearly impossible to stop.

Hitting the Fast Break Hard

Having players with the quickness of Mackenzie and Walshe on the team means the Riders often dominate on the fast break – Friday night was no different.

Leicester outscored their #3 ranked opponents 20-5 in fast break points, often taking advantage of Bristol’s missed shots.

The Flyers have struggled with shooting efficiency all season, and despite their ability on the offensive glass, Leicester’s quick ball-handlers were able to punish enough misses to make it count.

The Riders’ half-court offense couldn’t always break down a very tough Bristol D, so those fast break points, combined with a decent night on the boards, really helped to build the substantial early lead.

Solid Shooting Efficiency

Shooting efficiently is one of basketball’s golden rules. Missed shots just mean more opportunities for the opposition to score.

That’s a mistake Bristol made in this first leg and the Riders didn’t – for the most part.

Leicester finished the game shooting 51% from the floor and 38% from three-point range.

Menzies and Walshe were the team’s most reliable scorers, both hitting all of their shots off the bench, and Zach Jackson had a good day from deep, nailing half of his six attempts.

The 76% free throw shooting could and should be improved for Sunday’s second leg, but again, it was good enough, mitigated by the sheer volume of points the Riders hit from the charity stripe.

The Riders can shoot better, but if they can keep Bristol to a FG% under 40, it may not even matter.

Where to watch

The game tips off at 5:30 pm at the Morningside Arena Leicester.

Get your tickets here!

It will also be shown live on Sky Sports and the Sky Sports youtube channel, starting at 5:15 pm.

Bowman dunks on top of the O2!

The British Basketball League delivered the first of its kind show-stopping basketball dunk competition, brought to you by General Tire, at the top of The O2. 

All to celebrate the countdown to the British Basketball League play-off finals, which take place later this month.

Leicester Riders star and high-flyer Blake “The Showman” Bowman headed 52 meters up onto the iconic roof of The O2, with roofwalk attraction Up at The O2 which provides panoramic views overlooking London’s skyline, where he recreated a series of epic slam dunks from this year’s regular basketball season, performing and recreating one iconic dunk for each of the qualifying teams who have made it through to this year’s BBL play-offs. This included Tajh Green’s unbelievable off the backboard dunk for Manchester Giants, Josh Sharma’s jam for the London Lions and Bristol Flyer’s alley-oop spectacular. You can view all eight dunks by clicking HERE.

A judging panel of experts were on hand to cast their verdict on which dunk would be crowned the BBL’s ‘Dunk of the Season’. The panel included WBBL board member Siobhan Prior, Behrad Bakhtiari and Denzel Kazembe from Simply British Ballers and leading basketball reporter Sam Neter from the dedicated British basketball website, Hoopsfix. 

After eight outstanding dunk recreations, it was Bowman’s very own windmill jam that came out on top, crowning him champion of the British Basketball League “Now You Know” Dunk Challenge, brought to you by General Tire.

The activity, hosted by British Basketball master of ceremonies Tahir Hajat, celebrates another incredible year for the British Basketball League, continues to showcase the appetite there is for Basketball in the UK, whilst also raising awareness for the season defining play-off finals which take place at The O2 on Sunday May 14th. 

An expected capacity crowd of close to 17,000 fans are set to generate an electric atmosphere inside The O2, with the British Basketball League’s flagship event also set to be broadcast live on Sky Sports. 

Fans from across the world are also encouraged to vote for their favourite dunk from the season by using the #BritishDunks and #NowYouKnow. 

The British Basketball League’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Joe Edwards, said:

“Make no mistake, this season the British Basketball League has made history and we’ve taken the sport we all love to new heights.  We wanted to do something to grab the attention of Basketball fans and the general public and celebrate the end of season play-off’s at The O2. 

He added: “Whilst a completely crazy idea it might seem, it made complete sense to do this, and we hope Basketball Fans worldwide enjoy what the British Basketball League has to offer.  I want to say a special thanks to our partner General Tire, and all of our other partners, the players and our staff for sharing our vision together and making this possible.”

Speaking on the incredible dunk challenge, Peter Robb, Marketing Director at General Tire, said:

It’s great to work on this project with the British Basketball League, basketball in Britain is really taking off and it was fantastic to be able to support  such an innovative idea. The challenge perfectly ties in with our brand’s philosophy of ‘anywhere is possible’, so it was a real privilege to partner with the league and make this incredible idea come to life. 

“The British Basketball League has done an amazing job in harnessing the country’s love for basketball and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. As an SUV/off road tyre specialist we stand for adventure and getting out and living life to the full, so hopefully this project encourages people of all ages to get off the sofa and participate in the sport and head down to watch their local British Basketball League team in action.”

British Basketball has never been at such a high – in every sense of the word, after another meteoric year for the league, which has seen incredible progress both on and off the court. The league has had record viewership across its broadcast, fans have packed into arenas across the country each week and the men’s championship champions, London Lions, proudly flew the flag for UK basketball in a record breaking run in the EuroCup. 

But the trophy the teams all dream to lift is still up for grabs, as the league’s most sought after championship game, the play-off final is set to thrill a sold out crowd at The O2 on Sunday May 14th.

Just four teams remain standing and fighting for the chance to compete in the play-off finals in ten days time. London Lions face Cheshire Phoenix, whilst Bristol Flyers do battle with last season’s champions Leicester Riders this week to try to book their tickets to the capital. 

Tickets for the event are selling fast and fans can grab the last few remaining tickets by visiting https://www.bbl.org.uk/2023playoffs/

Fans unable to make the finals will be able to tune in live on Sky Sports and the Sky Sports YouTube Channel on Sunday May 14th from 13:00 BST.

Riders take lead into second leg

The Riders take a nine-point advantage into the BBL Playoff quarter-final second leg, beating the Sheffield Sharks 79-70 on the road. 

Kimbal Mackenzie led the game off the bench with 19 points, going 11-11 from the foul line. He was backed by Marc Loving’s 18 points and 11 rebounds, the Ohio-born forward dominated the glass for a double-double. 

Leicester outrebounded the Sharks 46 to 30 in the game, playing with intensity and physicality inside. But Sheffield remains in the tie going back to Leicester, in part thanks to the Riders shooting 6-25 from three. 

Bennet Koch led the Sharks with 17 points and five assists. Their defence in the second half saw them climb back into the game after falling down big early in the third quarter. 

The Riders exploded to an early lead. A hot 3-6 start from three made it 17-9 in their favour after seven minutes, as Loving’s triple forced a Sharks timeout. 

Kimbal Mackenzie’s free throws concluded a dominant Riders first quarter, putting the visitors up 28-17. 

Leicester maintained their lead through to the half. They built the lead to as much as 18 after Carrington Love battled for an offensive board and laid in a two. 

The Sharks fought back to cut it to 10 going into the locker rooms, the run started by back-to-back dunks from Saeed Nelson and Kipper Nichols. 

Sheffield came storming back in the second half, Jalon Pipkins making it a one-possession game with an and-one play. 

The Riders found a response, going on a 10-4 run to rebuild their lead. Evan Walshe put his body on the line to end the third, taking a charge on Jordan Ratinho to maintain Leicester’s 13-point advantage going into the fourth. 

The fourth was a stalemate, with the lead hovering around double-digits until the buzzer. Loving led the effort with five points in the period. Jubril Adekoya then concluded the action with a air of free throws. 

The performance on the road puts the Riders in a strong position going into the home fixture.

The second leg is on Sunday at the Morningside Arena, tipping off at 5:15 pm. The winner will progress to the semi-final, one step closer to the final at the O2 Arena.

Get your tickets here!

Golden Ball Treasure Hunt!

The British Basketball League (BBL) has announced the launch of the ‘Golden Ball Treasure Hunt’, a campaign designed to drive engagement and awareness around the end-of-season Play-Off Finals, and give eight lucky individuals the chance to each win a pair of tickets to be at the final.

The treasure hunt begins on Monday 24th April whereupon a golden ball will appear in the each of hometowns of the eight qualifying teams: London Lions, Bristol Flyers, Leicester Riders, Manchester Giants, Caledonia Gladiators, Sheffield Sharks, Cheshire Phoenix and Newcastle Eagles. For the next two weeks, the ball will embark upon a journey across Leicester, visiting schools, local landmarks and many more places. Individuals looking to take part in the fun will need to keep their eye on the Riders social media where they will be sharing clues regarding the ball’s whereabouts.

To enter and be in with a chance of winning the tickets, those who come across the ball will be encouraged to take a picture with the ball and upload it onto either Instagram or Twitter tagging @BBLOfficial and using the hashtags #NowYouKnowRiders and #GoldenBall.

The golden ball will come to a halt at each of the team’s home leg of the quarter-finals, where those attending the game will also have a chance to enter the competition.

Eight winners will be selected at random on Monday 8th of May and the individuals will receive a pair of tickets to attend the BBL Play-Off Finals at the O2 Arena in London on Sunday 14th May.

Commenting on the campaign, British Basketball League Head of Marketing and Communications, Joe Edwards said:

“We are really excited to be launching our Golden Ball activation as we continue to build upon the #KnowOurName and #NowYouKnow campaign and drive continued awareness of the British Basketball League. The purpose of this campaign is to galvanise support in local communities, engage with existing and new audiences, and ultimately reward fans for their support across the season.”

Season Tickets 2023-24

Leicester Riders Season Tickets are now on sale for the 2023-24 season. Riders are delighted to announce that the season ticket price has been frozen!

Adults £295
Child £65
Concessions £215

Current season ticket holders have been contacted directly and are able to retain their existing seat if booked before 12th June 2023.

All Season Ticket purchasers will earn Loyalty points. These points will be just part of our new Members scheme, which will provide new benefits to our Season Ticket holders. We intend the launch of the Members scheme in May.

If there are any issues in securing your booking, please contact us on 0116 326 9700, or write to [email protected]

If you are purchasing a season ticket for the first time online please follow this link.

Thank you, Darien!

Darien Nelson-Henry has announced that he will retire from professional basketball following the 2022/23 season. 

In three and a half seasons, the Riders’ captain led the club to four pieces of silverware, including a treble last year. He was named to the BBL Team of the Year in 2021 and 2022, following back-to-back league titles. 

Nelson-Henry played seven professional seasons after a four-year college career at the University of Pennsylvania. He led Penn in scoring, rebounding and blocks as a senior on his way to an All-Ivy second-team selection.  

He led Lake Washington to their best-ever state tournament finish in high school. His successes earned him State 3A Player of the Year and King County MVP to cap off a lucrative senior year.

“As you can all imagine, a lot of thought has gone into my decision to retire after this season,” said Nelson-Henry. “Although my love for the game has not diminished, my priorities have changed, pushing me to seek new challenges. 

“I am so very appreciative for the opportunities that the Riders have offered me – not only with playing basketball, but also setting me up for a future beyond the arena. As a player and captain, it has been my pleasure to be a part of the Riders family. 

“The staff, the fans, the sponsors, and the community have truly made this a home away from home, and I cannot express my ultimate gratitude enough. Unfortunately, we have not won anything yet this season, but there is still one more on the table! 

“Despite that, the success I have shared with my teammates, coaches, and the entirety of Leicester comprise memories that will last my lifetime. Thank you all for everything, and go Riders!”

Head coach Rob Paternostro said: “Darien has not only been a great player for our club but a wonderful ambassador who has made an impact throughout the Leicester community.

“I have really enjoyed working with Darien. His talent, intelligence, and team-first attitude have been a driving force for all our success.” 

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented:

“Darien has been a fantastic ambassador for all things Riders basketball. A great player on the court and a tremendous figurehead for us off it.”

“He has represented our club amazingly well and we will miss having him here next season. We wish him all the best for the future and look forward to Darien leading us in the Playoffs this season.”

The club wishes Darien every success in all of his future endeavours. He retires as an integral part of the club’s history, and will forever remain part of the Riders family. 

BBL Championship Preview: Riders at Giants

The Riders will complete a quickfire weekend turnaround as they travel north to Manchester to face the 17-17 Giants.

Coach Rob Paternostro’s squad haven’t seen Sunday’s opponents since February 17 and will want to make a strong statement against a team they may face in the upcoming BBL Playoffs.

Riders’ Season So Far

Travelling supporters should expect plenty of offensive flair in Manchester as was demonstrated during Friday night’s 111-68 demolition of the Plymouth City Patriots.

The Riders appeared to ball with a freedom that only comes when the entire team is enjoying their basketball – freedom that resulted in every player on the floor scoring points.

A 4th quarter alley-oop to a cutting Blake Bowman summed up Leicester’s performance in one play. Bowman rose weightlessly to the basket and stuck the jam with authority to get the Morningside Arena rocking.

In a game where big individual performances weren’t a necessity, Patrick Whelan and Kimbal Mackenzie stood out.

Whelan took full advantage of some soft defence to drain five three-pointers on his way to 22 points, while Mackenzie came off the bench to record an efficient 20-point game.

Mackenzie appears to be relishing in the sixth man role, bringing energy and leadership off the bench, shown by a +34 plus/minus on Friday night – the highest of any Rider.

No victory comes easily in the BBL, so Leicester will want to bottle this feeling and draw on it throughout the rigours of the playoffs.

The win over Plymouth sits the Riders in second place in the BBL standings, level on 46 points with the Bristol Flyers.

Giants’ Season So Far

Manchester have dipped a little in form recently, going 1-4 in their last five games, which has dropped them to 7th in the standings.

They currently sit level on 34 points with Sheffield and Cheshire, only two points behind Caledonia in 4th.

The mid-table log jam means that every game is crucial for the Giants, who will be hoping to enter the playoffs with as high a seeding as possible. Every team in the lower playoff places will be wanting to avoid a quarter final against the likes of London, Leicester and Bristol.

Friday night’s trip to Sheffield wasn’t a successful one, the Giants falling 80-71 without ever having a lead in the game.

It was an uncharacteristically poor offensive performance by Manchester, who have the most prolific attack in the BBL, averaging 90.14 PPG.

The Giants play fast and rarely miss an opportunity to score the ball early in the shot clock. The Riders will want to tighten up and force ill-advised shots as the 24 seconds runs down.

Defensively is where the Giants show chinks in their armour.

They are currently allowing over 90 PPG to the opposition, the most of any team in the championship.

If the Riders can play like they did on Friday, expect another three-digit scoring output.

Key Players

When game planning for the Giants there are two names to focus heavily on – Dirk Williams and Tajh Green.

A veteran of the BBL, Williams is averaging an impressive 19.46 PPG and is by far the best three-point shooter on his team.

The 28-year-old shooting guard has scoring in his DNA, and has only been held to less than 10 points on two occasions this season.

His 35-point manhandling of the London Lions on April 9 shows how dangerous he can be.

Fresh out of college, Green is a double-double machine, averaging 19 PPG and 9.5 RPG on the season.

A star of Benedict College in NCCA Division 2, the high-flyer has been ever-present for Manchester since he arrived last summer.

Going toe-to-toe with the Giants’ talented duo will be Patrick Whelan and Marc Loving, both supremely gifted in their own right.

The 6’5” Whelan will be there to answer any deep ball Dirk Williams hits with one of his own, matching him on the season with a 44% hit rate from three-point land.

Whelan routinely drops most of his points from downtown, so we could be in store for a heat check battle come Sunday.

Not afraid of the long shot himself is the silky-smooth Marc Loving.

Loving is coming back from a wrist injury sustained a couple of weeks ago, but looked sharp on Friday against the Patriots.

He will have his hands full with the athletic Green, but the former’s guile and experience could see him win that battle.

Back in February, the Riders held Williams and Green to 15 and 14 points, respectively.

Expect more of the same come Sunday evening.

Where to watch

The game will be streamed live on the BBL Official youtube channel, starting at 4:45 pm.

Riders win a close encounter

The Riders saw out a hard-fought 87-78 win against the Newcastle Eagles, winning the fourth quarter 27-17 to see it out. 

It improves them to 22-10, as they move level on points with the second-placed Bristol Flyers. 

Zach Jackson led the game’s scoring with 29 points, leading a comeback after the Riders fell down 10 in the first quarter. The Eagles had two 20-point scorers in the game in Javion Hamlet and David Cohn, but did not have enough firepower to get over the hump. 

The Riders shot 48% from the field and 39% from three in an efficient offensive display. They dished 25 assists in a complete team performance, led by 13 from point guard Carrington Love. 

The Eagles got off to a better start, building a 10-2 lead from the tip. Four of their starters got on the board early to jump out to an advantage. They carried their lead through the quarter, and led by David Cohn’s six points they were up 23-11 by the buzzer. 

Aaron Menzies took charge of the Riders’ scoring load in the second period, sinking back-to-back baskets. He played aggressively throughout the quarter to jumpstart the offence. 

The Eagles maintained their double-digit advantage, however. Cohn continued to hit big shots throughout, running the game from the point. They led 49-39 going into the locker rooms, leaving Leicester with work to do. 

A 5-0 start to the second half got the Riders straight back in it. Jackson’s three, for his 18th points of the night, got the run underway, setting up the comeback. 

The Riders continued their run to take their first lead of the game through Jackson’s turnaround hook shot. 

The sides traded baskets to finish off the third, setting up a tightly contested finale. Javion Hamlet concluded the third with free throws to make it 61-60 to the visitors. 

The Riders edged ahead in the fourth through Evan Walshe’s five quick points off the bench. His energy fired up the Leicester offence as they pulled away late. 

Walshe baskets kicked off a 9-0 run, which Jackson concluded with a banked-in midrange to force an Eagles timeout. 

Out of the timeout, Newcastle fought back. Javion Hamlet made free throws to cap off the response, cutting it to a one-possession game. 

But the Riders saw the game out in the clutch. They hit back with 10 straight points, kicked off by a bucket from Carrington Love. A Jackson corner three iced it, seeing out a hard-fought game. 

The Riders return to action on Friday, facing the Plymouth City Patriots at home.

Get your tickets here!

Riders win in the clutch

The Riders saw out a clutch win, beating the Plymouth City Patriots 92-89. Marc Loving led the team with 24 points, and came up with a clutch block to seal the game. 

Loving scored eight points in the fourth, taking over when it mattered most. He was backed up by 23 points from Kimbal Mackenzie, who knocked down his late free throws to put the Riders up three with seconds left. 

The Patriots made big shots late in the shot clock to stay in it. Former Rider Rashad Hassan put up 21 points in their effort, going 9-14 from the field. 

The Riders stamped their authority on the game early. The Riders hit three triples in a minute before Jackson scored five straight to build a lead. 

It was an eight-point lead by the end of the first. Marc Loving had eight points, hitting two of the team’s five threes in the quarter. 

The threes kept falling in the second. Kimbal Mackenzie got the action back underway with a three from the corner to make it a double-digit lead.

The Riders maintained a lead by the half, but the Patriots went on a 5-0 run to end it, cutting the lead to seven. Mackenzie scored 10 in the first half, scoring and playmaking, dishing three assists. 

The visitors continued their run to start the second half. But after Isa Brandon made it a four-point game after two minutes, Loving scored eight quick points to stall their progress, draining two threes. 

The lead was seven going into the fourth, the game in the balance. 

The Patriots started hot in the quarter, as Ty Gadsden cut it to three with a layup. They tied the game up four minutes in the quarter with another layup by Gadsen, finding joy attacking the rim.

The clutch was a back-and-forth affair. Both sides traded big shots, as Loving scored eight, including two threes to edge the Riders ahead. But the Patriots found responses from deep, and the game came down to the wire. 

Loving’s three with a minute left gave the Riders a one-point advantage and Jubril Adekoya’s momentous block on Hassan meant Mackenzie’s subsequent free throws made the lead three. 

On the final possession, Loivng blocked Elvisi Dusha’s three to end it, winning it for Leicester.

The Riders play the second of a three-game week on Friday, taking on the Bristol Flyers. Tickets are selling quickly.

Get them here!

Riders fall just short in Trophy final

The Riders fell just short of their fourth WBBL Trophy win, losing 81-70 to the London Lions. 

They pushed the Lions wire to wire, cutting the game to five with six minutes remaining. Star forward Ashley Arlen led the Riders’ effort with 22 points, and an eight-point start to the fourth quarter from sharpshooter Hannah Robb made it a game late. 

It took a monster 33-point effort from former WNBA player Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan to beat Leicester. It was the record for the most points in a WBBL Trophy final, and a well-earned final MVP performance from the brit.

The Riders got off to the perfect start. They scored six points from their first two possessions and edged the early lead through five minutes thanks to threes from Oliana Squires and Arlen.

London found their offensive rhythm in the final stages of the first, jumping out to a 15-8 advantage. Fiona O’Dwyer stemmed the Lions’ run four points to close the quarter, but London scored five points in the last 22 seconds to make it a 10-point game after one. 

The Riders came storming back into the tie in the second. O’Dwyer got the second quarter underway from the midrange, getting her sixth points of the afternoon, an eight-point explosion from Arlen made it a one-score affair. 

The Lions made attempts to rebuild the lead, getting it back to eight, but the Riders found responses throughout the quarter with big shots dropping from Arlen, O’Dwyer and Robb. 

40-36 was the score in London’s favour at halftime.

It took a minute and a half for the Riders to take their first lead since early in the first. Robb followed up Arlen’s midrange jumper with a three, making it 41-40. 

The Lions jumped out to a double-digit lead with 10 points from Herbert-Harrigan. The Riders stalled the Lions progress mid-quarter, and Mckenzie Johnston made it a 10-point game going into the fourth.

Robb took over the opening stages of the fourth to chip into the deficit. She scored seven points in four minutes to make it a five-point game with six to play. 

But the Lions closed the game out stronger, and the Riders could not get over the crest to win it.

Riders see out a close battle

The Riders won a close encounter against the Caledonia Gladiators 84-81. Kimbal Mackenzie took over the fourth quarter with eight points, helping the team see it out in the clutch. 

Mackenzie led the game with 25 points, going 12/12 from the line in the game. Off the bench, Evan Walshe put in an energetic performance with 15 points off the bench, sealing the win with his late free throws.

Leicester shot just 35% from the field in the game but attacked the hoop relentlessly and went 25-27 from the free-throw line. Defensively, the Riders’ perimeter defence held the Gladiators to 22% from three, locking down the outside.

For the visitors, David Sloan and  Aljami Durham put up 22 points each in the contest, pushing the Riders to the final buzzer. They were shorthanded following the ejections of Fahro Alihodzic in the first half and Jeremiah Bailey in the second. Still, they found themselves with a chance to tie it in the closing seconds.

Durham’s three-point attempt found only air, however, and Leicester found a way to put one in the win column. 

The Riders’ looked like they were building a comfortable lead early, leading by six points after 10 minutes. They went on a 6-0 run to end the period led by four points from captain Darien Nelson-Henry, who closed the action with a layup on the horn. 

Walshe took over the scoring in the second, putting up eight of the team’s 12 points after four minutes. His fastbreak jam made it a double-digit lead as the Riders grew their advantage. 

Despite the early form, the Gladiators pegged the Riders back to end the half with a 9-0 run capped off by a fastbreak bucket from Sloan. 

Caledonia then took their first lead of the game following halftime through a dunk from Jeremiah Bailey. Bailey then picked up his fifth personal foul shortly after, seeing him sidelined for the remainder of the game.

The Riders then stemmed the Gladiators’ momentum, and the score continued to swing back and forth. A late run from Leicester, concluded by a Walshe three, saw the Riders edge the lead going into the final period. 

The sides once engaged in a back-and-forth battle in the fourth. The score was tied at 70 with five minutes remaining following a Patrick Whelan three. 

Mackenzie attacked the rim down the stretch to score four quick points to take the lead. The team battled inside, finding joy near the hoop to generate late offence. 

The Gladiators hit big shots, including a Durham three, which took the lead with a minute and a half left. 

Mackenzie responded with a floater before making both free throws on the next possession, meaning the game came down to a chance to tie with 10 seconds remaining for Caledonia, who found themselves down three. 

Durham took a three early in the shot clock and missed right, allowing the Riders to see out a hard-fought win. 

The win sees the Riders improve to 18-18, four points behind the second-placed Bristol Flyers with three games in hand. 

They return to league action on Friday, 24 March, taking on the Sheffield Sharks on the road.

Riders beat Eagles!

The Riders earned a hard-fought 89-79 win against the Newcastle Eagles, improving their record to 17-8. 

Marc Loving led the team with 20 points, scoring 11 in the final quarter to steer them home. Leicester won the fourth 24-17, coming up clutch after the score was within a possession with 10 minutes to play. 

Backing up Loving was captain Darien Nelson-Henry who went 7-10 from the field for 16 points. The center led from the front, finding success with his back to the basket and leading the game with a +/- of 13. 

After falling to the Eagles just two days ago, the Riders earned payback against their long-standing rivals. They shot well from three, going 41% from behind the arc, and got to the free throw line effectively to go 24-26. 

David Cohn led the game with 23 points, despite fouling out in the fourth. The visitors also had a hot shooting night to go 41% from three, but did not have enough late to beat the reigning champions for the second straight game. 

The Riders built their early play through their captain, as Nelson-Henry bagged six points in the paint in the opening quarter. They began to stretch their lead six minutes in, as Loving made three free throws to make it 20-14. 

They held their six-point lead after one, Zach Jackson leading the game with seven points. 

They stretched it to double digits a minute into the second quarter, after Kimbal Mackenzie and Carrington Love scored back-to-back in the opening stages. 

The Eagles found a way to get back into contention, cutting the game to five by getting to the free-throw line effectively. The second-best free throw shooters in the BBL this season were off the mark, however, shooting 66% in the quarter.  

The score swung back and forth to end the period. The Riders rebuilt their advantage to 10, but the Eagles scored seven points in two plays to end the half, including an and-one off a three-point make, to make it 41-38 at halftime. 

The sides continued to trade buckets coming out of the locker rooms as the game balanced on a knife’s edge. Nelson-Henry led the Riders with eight points in the third, playing effectively with his back to the hoop. 

The Eagles’ got going from three, making four in the quarter to stay in the game. Cohn’s triple with a minute remaining tied it up at 60.  

In response, Evan Walshe scored five points to end the third, making it 65-62 in the Riders’ favour with one to play. 

A three from Loving and an and-one play from Blake Bowman started the fourth quarter with a bang for Leicester. They started the period on an 8-2 run to go up seven. 

The Riders controlled the game from there, led by 11 points from Loving. An unsportsmanlike foul on Cohn saw him foul out of the game after he stopped Loving in transition, and the resulting play saw Jackson make it a nine-point lead. 

With a minute remaining, Mackenzie isolated on the top of the key, finding space in the midrange for two points, sealing a hard-fought win for Leicester. 

The Riders return to action on Friday, hosting the Caledonia Gladiators.

Get your tickets here!

Riders fall to Lions

The Riders fell to the London Lions 102-77, in their first game back since the international break. 

Fresh off being named Molten BBL Player of the Month for Febuary, Kimbal Mackenzie continued his hot form to lead the team with 18 points and seven assists. He was backed up by Zach Jackson’s 17, who found joy attacking the rim all evening.

Despite a solid Riders start, the Lions found momentum to build their lead to 13 by the half, never looking back. The Riders could not find a bucket from deep in the game, going 4-27 from behind the arc. 

The Lions had five double-digit scorers, led by 18 points from former NBA forward Sam Dekker. However, their defence set the tone, holding the BBL’s most efficient offence to 41% from the field.

The result moves the Riders record to 16-7 in the BBL Championship. 

Mackenzie took over the early stages with six points and an assist. Mackenzie’s play allowed the Riders to edge an early 8-6 lead.

The Lions fought back, attacking the paint on three straight makes. Vojtech Hruban capped off a Lions’ run with a three, making it 13-8 to the visitors.

Leicester responded with back-to-back threes from Marc Loving and Mackenzie, cutting it close towards the end of the first. It was a six-point end after one, the score 25-19. 

London started the second hot, scoring eight straight, including a putback jam from Josh Sharma. They went up 15 four minutes into the period. 

The sides traded baskets through to halftime, as the Riders found their offensive rhythm to stay in touch. Jackson’s tough and-one finish made it a ten-point game with a minute left in the half. 

A three from Hruban concluded the half, putting London up 48-35. They built on this momentum boost to start the third quarter, commencing a 14-5 run in the first four minutes. 

The Riders showed heart to peg the score back, making it a 15-point deficit following free throws from Darien Nelson-Henry. 

But the Lions, through the rest of the game, had too much firepower for a Leicester comeback, as they saw the tie out professionally. 

The Riders are back on the road next week for the first of a doubleheader against the Newcastle Eagles. The game takes place on Friday, 10 March, tipping off at 7:30 pm.

Retro Series 2023 announced

Leicester Riders, Manchester Giants, Cheshire Phoenix and Newcastle Eagles are excited to announce the Retro Series 2023! 

Five games involving these four teams in March & April have been selected as special retro games featuring retro kits, old-school tunes and off-court appearances from BBL legends. 

Following the success of last season’s retro nights between Riders and Giants, the clubs are bringing back the retro games to allow the fans, players and coaches to celebrate their organisation’s history.

“We’re excited to be part of the Retro Series,” commented Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro. “We had two entertaining games with Manchester last season, it was really cool to see both sets of fans wearing their clubs’ old jerseys at the games.”

Giants Head Coach Vince Macaulay “It’s great that this year’s Retro games have expanded to four teams. All four teams have a rich history in the BBL and we’re looking forward to celebrating it with our supporters at the games.” 

Leicester Riders will sport their 1987 uniform from the first ever season of the BBL. The Cheshire Phoenix will suit-up in the 2001-02 ‘Jet-wash’ uniform, celebrating a clean sweep of trophies. 

Newcastle Eagles are throwing it back to the 2004-05 season when the Eagles under legendary player-coach Fab Flournoy first won the BBL Trophy, beating Nick Nurse’s Brighton Bears in the final! Following on from the success of last year’s pinstripes, the Manchester Giants will be back this year with a retro style kit sporting the infamous cartoon Giant logo!

The Retro Series games will take place on the following dates:

March 31: Newcastle Eagles vs Cheshire Phoenix – Vertu Motors Arena, Newcastle Ticket Link

April 7: Manchester Giants vs Cheshire Phoenix – National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester Ticket Link

April 9: Leicester Riders vs Newcastle Eagles – Morningside Arena, Leicester Ticket Link

April 16: Manchester Giants vs Leicester Riders – National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester Ticket Link

April 23: Cheshire Phoenix vs Leicester Riders – The Cheshire Oaks Arena, Cheshire Ticket Link

Keep your eyes open for more announcements in the lead-up to the games! 

Riders take big road win

The Riders improve to 16-6 in the BBL Championship after a road win against the Cheshire Phoenix. 

Kimbal Mackenzie went off for 31, his highest-scoring tally as a Rider. He went 11-15 from the field and 5-5 from the free throw line in his explosive performance, taking over late with six points in the closing minutes as the Phoenix cut it to 10.  

Leicester blew the game open in the second quarter, as Mackenzie’s buzzer-beater to send the teams into halftime gave them their first double-digit lead. From there, they continued to build their advantage in the third, before seeing it out in the fourth in the face of a Phoenix comeback effort. 

Carrington Love recorded his first 20-point effort as a Rider after joining last month. He made three threes and dished six assists in his performance, acting as a spark plug off the bench. 

This marked the second double-digit win in a weekend doubleheader, as the Riders can take great momentum into a two-week break from action. 

For Cheshire, Anderson put up 24 in an attempt to get his side back in it. He scored key buckets late in the third to build momentum, but the Riders made big shots down the stretch to seal it. 

Neither side found a significant advantage until the second period. Cheshire edged ahead initially, taking a seven-point lead late in the first through a fastbreak layup from Maceo Jack. 

However, the Riders quickly responded, in part thanks to eight points from Carrington Love shortly after his introduction to the game. He hit a three on the buzzer to close the quarter, however, Cheshire went 12-17 from the field to take a narrow lead going into the second. 

Mackenzie’s free throws for his ninth points of the evening took their first lead of the game to start the second. He took over at the start of the quarter, scoring five in under two minutes to seize the game’s momentum. 

Leicester went 18-10 five minutes into the second period, taking a 44-38 lead. Marc Loving went off for 10 straight points, taking the reigns.

In reverse to the first quarter, the Phoenix were forced to fight back through three threes from Jack, however, on this occasion, the Riders kept the hosts at arm’s length to take an 11 point lead into halftime, following a buzzer-beating Mackenzie heave for three after a scramble for the ball. 

Back-to-back buckets from Mackenzie, which made his game tally 20, concluded a 14-8 run through the first five minutes of the third period. Leicester extended the lead built in the second period with intense defensive pressure leading to baskets on the fastbreak, leading to a fast-paced third quarter. 

The Riders built a 22 point lead near the end of the third before the Phoneix scored seven points in a minute to cut into the lead going into the fourth. Anderson scored five of these to give his side late momentum. 

Despite Cheshire bringing the Riders’ lead down to 10 in the fourth following a free throw from Larry Austin, the Riders saw it out, building off back-to-back tough midranges from Mackenzie with three minutes remaining.

From there, a three from Love and free throws from Mackenzie to get him over the 30 points mark left it beyond doubt. 

The Riders have a pause from action for the international break until March 3, when they take on the table-topping London Lions at home. Tickets are expected to sell fast, so get them here to watch the action live!

BBL Championship Preview: Riders at Phoenix

The Riders head to Cheshire to take on the Phoenix in the second game of their weekend doubleheader. 

They enter the game off the back of a home 104-84 against the Manchester Giants on Friday. It was a resounding win, with the Riders in full control throughout. They shot 58% from the field and 45% from three, scoring 30 points in the third quarter to blow the game open. 

READ MORE: Riders record big win at home

Their scoring was typical of the Riders’ season so far, as they are the league’s most efficient scorers. They lead the BBL in field goal, three-point and free throw percentage, and they rank second in the league in scoring putting up 87.5 a game. 

As he did against the Giants, Marc Loving leads the way on the season with 16.2 points per game. The Ohio-born forward is putting up career highs in points, assists and rebounds, stepping up into a leading role. 

The Riders possess a 15-6 record, good for third in the BBL Championship standings with three games in hand on the second-placed Bristol Flyers.

 Back-to-back wins in this weekend’s doubleheader will see them put the pressure on the Flyers as they look to climb the standings to close the year. 

Phoenix- Season so far 

The Phoenix currently sit midtable in the BBL Championship, after a recent road loss against the Caledonia Gladiators left them under .500 with an 11-12 record. The score was 83-78 in Scotland, despite a 26-point effort from point guard Marcus Evans. 

American guard Larry Austin Jr. has led them through the season with 16.2 points per game, an improvement on the 14.4 points he averaged last season with the Phoenix. On the other end, they lead the BBL in steals, playing aggressively on defence. 

The Phoenix find themselves in the midst of a Cup run, having reached the semi-final of the BBL Trophy. There, they will face the Sheffield Sharks as they look to retain their silverware from last season. 

Until then, the Phoenix looks to level their season record at 12-12 with a win against Leicester, their first since March 2021. 

Key matchup 

The Phoenix’s leading scorer, Larry Austin Jr., topped his team’s points column with 19 last time out against the Riders. He went 8-13 from the field and dished four assists in an attempt to get his side back into the game.

READ MORE: Riders win big against Phoenix 

He’s averaged 20.4 points per game over the last nine league games, Cheshire going 5-4 in those fixtures. Austin Jr. has scored a season-high of 27 on two separate occasions this season, most recently in December vs the Gladiators. 

Last season, he scored 23 points in the BBL Trophy final against the London Lions, earning the Final MVP for his efforts. He has been a major piece since his arrival in Cheshire and will be a tough defensive task for Riders’ point guard Kimbal Mackenzie.

Mackenzie’s play this season has earned him a spot on the GB roster, alongside fellow Riders Patrick Whelan and Aaron Menzies. He’s putting up 10 points per game and enters this one off the back of a 16-point effort vs the Giants. 

The 6’1” guard is a Bucknall graduate, who averaged 17 points per game as a senior. He’s scored in the double digits on 15 occasions this season, stepping up as a consistent starter. 

However, his role on the defensive end against Austin Jr. will go a long way in deciding the outcome of this one. 

Where to watch

The game will be played at the Cheshire Oaks Arena, tipping off at 5:30 pm. 

It will also be streamed live on the British Basketball League Youtube channel, starting at 5 pm. 

Kimbal, Patrick & Aaron in GB 24

Riders guard Kimbal Mackenzie has been named in the Great Britain Men’s National Team 24-man roster for the first time for the upcoming FIBA World Cup Qualifiers against Belgium and Serbia.

Mackenzie who holds a British passport joins GB regulars Patrick Whelan and Aaron Menzies on the roster for the upcoming window.

GB face Belgium on Friday 24 Feb before travelling to Belgrade to face Serbia on 27 Feb.

24 Man Roster for FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 Qualifying Window – February 2023

Amin Adamu G 25 6’5″ Kapfenberg Bulls (AUT) 0
Jamell Anderson F 32 6’7″ Cheshire Phoenix (GBR) 15
Michael Belle F 19 6’6″ Espoirs Strasbourg (FRA) 0
Quinn Ellis G 19 6’2″ Monferrato (ITA) 2
Ashley Hamilton F 34 6’7″ Quimper (FRA) 30
Myles Hesson F 32 6’6″ Kagawa Five Arrows (JPN) 54
Noah Horchler F 25 6’8″ Aris B.C. (GRE) 0
Kyle Johnson G 34 6’5″ Newcastle Eagles (GBR) 85
Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye G 26 6’3” Swans Gmunden (AUT) 19
Callum Lawson F 26 6’6″ Valur (ISL) 2
Kimbal Mackenzie G 26 6’1″ Leicester Riders (GBR) 0
Aaron Menzies C 26 7’3″ Leicester Riders (GBR) 2
Ben Mockford G 33 6’2″ Newcastle Eagles (GBR) 54
Luke Nelson G 27 6’3″ London Lions (GBR) 35
Teddy Okereafor G 30 6’4″ Apollon Limassol B.C. (CYP) 53
Gabe Olaseni C 31 6’10” Darussafaka (TUR) 53
Josh Sharma C 26 7’0″ London Lions (GBR) 2
Mo Soluade G/F 27 6’5″ London Lions (GBR) 7
Devon van Oostrum G 30 6’3″ BK Levicki Patrioti Levice (SVK) 50
Jelani Watson-Gayle G 24 6’1″ Bristol Flyers (GBR) 0
Carl Wheatle F 24 6’7″ Pistoia (ITA) 27
Patrick Whelan G 26 6’5″ Leicester Riders (GBR) 11
Jordan Williams F 27 6’8″ Hubner Nyiregyhaza (HUN) 4
Akwasi Yeboah F 25 6’6″ Darussafaka (TUR) 4

Riders lose in BBL Trophy Quarter-Final

The Riders fell out of the BBL Trophy at the quarter-final stage, losing 79-78 to the Sheffield Sharks. 

The Riders had the chance to win it on the buzzer, but Zach Jackson’s turnaround jumper did not find the net, following an inspired 10 point quarter from the American. 

Jackson finished the game with a team-high 18 points and five rebounds, shooting 58% from the field. He came up with big baskets down the stretch to keep Leicester in the tie, but the Riders ultimately fell short.

A 4-23 shooting night from three ultimately cost the Riders, who could not find their deep ball throughout. They also shot just 73% from the free-throw line and will rue missed opportunities for easy points. 

Kipper Nichols led the game with 19 points, scoring four points late and grabbing the game-sealing rebound. The Sharks built off an emphatic 15 point first half from bennet Koch, laying the foundation for a rare win in Leicester. 

Sheffield started hot, through the hands of Koch, who scored 10 points in the opening five minutes. Koch went five for five from the field before a well-earned rest midway through the first. 

Despite the big man’s play, the Riders hung in the game, matching Sheffield’s scoring through the period. Marc Loving led the team with seven, but a 5-0 run in the closing minutes gave the Sharks a 26-20 lead. 

The Riders hit back to start the second, as Carrington Love, inserted into the starting lineup in Patrick Whelan’s absence, scored three quick ones to cut the game to a score. A Jubril Adekoya layup two minutes into the quarter then tied the game.

Koch, checking back into the game, maintained his hot hand, scoring four more points for Sheffield to edge his side back ahead. But Leicester maintained their newfound momentum, snatching their first lead late in the half. 

The Riders’ defence locked up Sheffield in the second quarter, holding them to just eight points with two minutes left. But the Sharks found offensive form to close it, scoring seven in two minutes.

Loving close the half with a two-handed jam in traffic, making it 44-39 with 20 minutes to play. 

In a low-scoring start to the third, a Jordan Ratiho three for the Sharks made it a one point game. After a back and fourth battle, the visitors went on to take the lead following a pair of free throws from two-guard Nichols. 

Nichols scored seven to close the third, stretching their lead to four entering the final period.

The Riders swung the scoreline back in their direction but could not get over the hump through the opening minutes of the fourth. Jackson, Adekoya and Walshe found the basket, but the deficit was one point with five to play. 

Back-to-back threes from Sheffield, the second from Rodney Glasgow, rebuilt their lead. But the Riders, once again, cut their deficit to two after a pair of Jackson threes in response. 

Jackson continued his takeover of the game, stripping the ball from Nichols before Mackenzie drew an unsportsmanlike foul, tying the game from the free throw line. 

In the final minute, the Sharks found their way to the free throw line through Saeed Nelson who made one. The Riders had a chance to win it on the buzzer, but Jackson could not find the net.

The Riders remain at home for their next fixture, taking on the Manchester Giants in the BBL Championship. A win would see them improve to 15-6, as they go for three league wins on the bounce. 

BBL Trophy Preview: Riders vs Sharks

The Riders face the Sheffield Sharks in the quarter-final of the BBL Trophy. A win in this knockout competition would see them progress to the final four as they look to win the competition for the first time since 2018. 

The Riders enter the game on a high, after a significant 99-73 win against the Surrey Scorchers. They shot 42% from three and 50% from the field in an efficient display, where five Riders scored double digits. 

Marc Loving and Zach Jackson combined for 41 points, led by 21 from Loving. The 6’9” forward finished with eight rebounds, shooting 50% from the field. 

READ MORE:  Report: Riders see off Scrochers

Loving leads the Riders scoring in all competitions this season with 16.1 points per game, a career-high tally. He went off for 32 in the first round of the Trophy, an overtime win against the Manchester Giants. 

It was a hard-fought victory that came down to the wire, but the Riders emerged 114-107 after a dominant extra period. 

READ MORE: Report: Riders beat Giants in overtime thriller!

The Riders are one of the BBL’s premier offences, scoring the second-most points per game, and shooting at the most efficient rate from the field and three. They will have their work cut out in this one, however, against of the league’s elite defences. 

Sharks’ slow start

While Sheffield ranks second in opponent’s points per game, it has yet to translate to the win column. A 0-4 start to the season left them off the pace, and they currently sit in the final playoff place with an 8-15 record.  

They have not found an offensive rhythm, scoring a league-worst 73 points per game and shooting just 43% from the field. 

American point guard Saeed Nelson has led the charge to get points on the board for Sheffield, putting up 13.5 points per game. He is one of four Sharks scoring double-digit points this season and applies pressure on the other end, snatching 1.8 steals per game. 

This game sees a break from league action, however, as both teams turn their attention to the BBL Trophy. Sheffield last found themselves in the Trophy final in 2018, where they lost to the Riders 90-85. 

They’ve won the competition twice, most recently in 2013, where they again met Leicester in the final. This season, they met NBL side the Thames Valley Cavaliers, winning 98-66. The reigning treble winners will be a tougher test for the visitors in this one, but it is a game they will believe they can win to progress to the BBL Trophy third round.

Key matchup

In Sheffield’s previous fixture, a 77-71 loss to the Caledonia Gladiators, Devearl Ramsey led the game with a 23 point performance. It was Ramsey’s first 20 point game in Sheffield in his fifth appearance after signing in January, as he hit three threes and knocked down eight of his nine free throws. 

Ramsey is a second-year pro, who spent his rookie season in the NBA G-League. Before this, he spent three years at UC Santa Barbara, scoring 7.7 points per game in his final year. He played his rookie pro season for the Stockton Kings before moving to the BBL this season. 

Ramsey is a 6’0” two-guard capable of playing in either wing position. Ramsey is active in the lane, attacking the rim for shots inside or handoffs to his teammates. He has good touch at the rim, and can draw fouls inside to get free ones at the line. 

Taking on Ramsey for the Riders will be new addition, Carrington Love. The 29-year-old averaged 16.6 points and 5.8 assists last season in the German division two, playing for Eisbären Bremerhaven. He shot 47.4% from the field and 36.1% from three, finishing the year with a 16-13 record.

Love is a Green Bay graduate, having spent four years with the Phoenix between 2012 and 2016. He showed improvement every year, scoring a team-high 17.3 points per game as a senior.

He’s a sharpshooter from deep, and can breeze past defenders with flashy handles, finishing from all three levels or finding his teammates for assists. He put up eight points and five assists off the bench in his home debut vs the Scorchers, and will look for another solid effort in this one.

Where to watch 

This is the Riders’ second straight home game, and tickets are selling fast. Get them here! 

The game will also be streamed live on the British Basketball League Youtube channel, starting at 7:30 pm.

BBL Championship Preview: Riders vs Phoenix

The Riders return to BBL Championship action on Friday with a fixture against the Cheshire Phoenix. They will host the Phoenix at the Morningside Arena, the game tipping off at 7:45 pm. 

Get your tickets here!

Home sweet home

The Riders are 12-6 in the league this season but have lost just one game at home. The Morningside Arena has proved to be a fortress over past years, and the Riders will attempt to continue this trend in their first home fixture in 2023. 

They enter the game following an overtime thriller in the BBL Trophy against the Manchester Giants. They battled through to get a 114-107 win on the road, led by a monster 32 points and 13 rebounds from Marc Loving. 

Read our report on the action here! 

Loving has led the Riders scoring in all competitions this season, putting up 16.6 points per game. The second-year Rider has stepped into a leading role, putting up seven 20-point scoring efforts on the year. 

In the league, Kansas-born Zach Jackson has outscored Loving, averaging 15.6 points. Jackson closely pursued Loving’s performance in Manchester, scoring 25 points in the tie. 

The Riders’ offence has ranked among the BBL’s best this season, ranking top two in points per game, field goal percentage and three-point percentage. They needed all of their offensive prowess in their recent win in Manchester, and proved they can outscore anyone on any night. 

A win to improve them to 13-6 would keep the Riders challenging at the top of the league table, maintaining momentum in their season. 

Phoenix season so far

The Phoenix were the only team to beat Leicester to a piece of silverware last year, winning the BBL Trophy during the Riders’ treble-winning season. 

They beat the London Lions in the final, securing the fifth BBL Trophy in their history, and their second piece of silverware in 12 seasons. 

Over the offseason, Cheshire looked to fellow North Western club, the Manchester Giants, for their most significant acquisition: GB international Jamell Anderson. The former Rider has discovered a new scoring form, putting up back-to-back 20-point games to start the year and logging a career-high scoring average. 

The Phoenix are one of four teams over .500 in the league this season, with a 10-9 record. They enter this one off the back of a 129-80 win against the Nottingham Hoods, seeing them through to the second round of the BBL Trophy. 

Anderson scored a season-high 30 points in the game, going a red-hot five for nine from deep.

They possess the third-best defence in the BBL, holding teams to 79 points per game, and will look to slow down the Riders’ firepower as they chase a rare win in Leicester. 

Key matchup 

Leading the Phoenix’s scoring this season is 6’2” American guard Larry Austin Jr, who is putting up 14.4 points per game in his second year in Cheshire. 

Austin enters this game after back-to-back 20-point efforts in the league, and an 18-point game in the Trophy against the Hoods. He is shooting 51.7% from the field this season, and is clamping defenders on the other end to average 2.3 steals. 

Last season, he scored 23 points in the BBL Trophy final against the London Lions, earning the Final MVP for his efforts. He has been a major piece since his arrival in Cheshire and will be a tough defensive task for Riders’ new man Devonte Bandoo.

Bandoo arrived in Leicester last week, signing from the Saskatchewan Rattlers in his home country of Canada, where he averaged 16.1 points per game. 

The Ontario native spent his final two college seasons at Baylor University, after leading Hutchinson Community College to a national championship as a freshman.

He was named the Big 12 Conference Sixth Man of the Year as a senior, helping the Bears to a school-record 23-game winning streak which saw them top the NCAA rankings for five straight weeks.

Bandoo will look to make a positive impact in his first game in front of the Riders’ faithful, as he takes on Austin in the backcourt! 

Riders see out clutch win against Scorchers

The Riders saw out a 77-72 nailbiter against Surrey Scorchers, improving their record to 12-5. 

Marc Loving led the way with 22 points, scoring nine in the fourth to seal a clutch win. His teammate on the wing, Zach Jackson, closely followed with 20 points. 

Jackson turned the tide in the third quarter with six points and two steals, earning the Riders a lead they didn’t surrender. 

The win makes it 37 undefeated against Surrey, the longest streak against an opponent in the BBL. The Riders’ defence held the Scorchers to 16% from deep, and 44% from the field. 

The Scorchers have now lost eight games within 10 points this season. They proved they could hang with the league’s best, but were unable to get over the hump in tonight’s fixture. 

Their young star Padiet Wang finished up with 24 points, followed by Quincy Taylor’s 18. 

The Riders started hot, jumping out to a 7-3 lead after four quick points from Darien Nelson-Henry. 

View the full box score here!

Surrey hit back via Wang, who scored five in response to take the lead for his side and set the stage for a closely fought first quarter. Wang scored 12 in the first quarter, exploding the rim with his elite athleticism. 

Whelan got himself going midway through the period, hitting a three for his first points of the evening. His triple snatched momentum for the Riders, who built a seven-point lead. 

Aaron Menzies put an exclamation point on the run, slamming it down one-handed at the rim. 

The Scorchers found form in the second, which they started on a 12-2 run. Andrew Lawrence’s back-to-back midrange jumpers took the lead, which Surrey stretched to nine five minutes in. 

The Riders halted the visitor’s run, cutting it to six by halftime led by six points from Kimbal Mackenzie. 

Jackson got the second half underway with five points in two minutes, hitting a three with Taylor in his grill. He took the challenge of guarding Wang, who scored 18 in the first half. The Omaha graduate quickly came up with two steals, leading the charge on both ends. 

Conner Washington’s three tied it up at 53 with two minutes remaining in the period. Whelan then took the lead with a pair of free throws, putting the Riders up going into the fourth. 

Loving got the final period underway with four points, cooking defenders with his silky dribble. Jackson followed up his teammate with back-to-back tough finishes at the rim, earning the Riders a seven-point lead. 

Loving took the fourth quarter over, scoring nine points in five minutes, concluded by a three from the corner. 

The Scorchers fought back, as Wang strung together some buckets to take momentum back for his team. Surrey made it a three-point game with two and a half minutes remaining after Wang’s layup. 

However, the Riders saw the game out in the clutch, as Nelson-Henry found Jackson on back-to-back plays to seal an important win. 

The Riders are back on the road for their next BBL action. They head to Bristol to take on the Flyers, hoping to build on tonight’s win.

BBL Cup Report: Riders through to final!

The Riders booked their place in the BBL Cup final for the second straight season, beating the Caledonia Gladiators89-68 in the semis. The holders have the opportunity to defend their title in Birmingham, meeting the London Lions at the Utilita Arena. 

Get your tickets here!

Leicester led wire to wire in the game, seeing off spirited Gladiators’ comeback attempts to seal the win. Marc Loving, Zach Jackson and Patrick Whelan combined for 49 points, Loving leading the trio with 18.

GB big man Aaron Menzies dominated the glass of the bench, putting up nine points and 10 rebounds in 17 minutes of action. Jackson also had a double-digit rebounding effort, going off for a 14-point double-double. 

The Riders caught fire from deep in the game, the league leaders in three-point percentage going 13-22 led by Jackson’s four makes. On the other end, they locked down the perimeter to hold the visitors to 25% from three. 

Patrick Tape led the Gladiators with 21 points, the first-year pro putting up a season-high effort. Caledonia cut the game to six in the third period, but could not get over the hump to challenge Leicester late.

The Riders came out firing, bolting out to a 15-4 lead after drilling their first three threes. Their defence locked in from the tip-off, holding the Gladiators to just two makes from their first eight attempts as they built an early double-digit advantage.

Marc Loving helped set the tone on defence, sending Jeremiah Bailey’s shot back with authority midway through the first quarter. Loving ended the period with nine points to pair with his block, as the Riders continued their dominance to go up 30-13. 

7’3” Menzies got to work on the glass to start the second, coming up with two second-chance baskets inside. 

But the Gladiators stalled the Riders’ surge in the early stages of the quarter, cutting the lead to 11, led by eight points off the bench from Jordan Burns. 

The Gladiators had momentum through most of the second quarter, but the Riders had the best of the running going into halftime. They exploded with two minutes remaining, scoring 10 straight points to re-establish their advantage, topped off with an Evan Walshe and-one. 

In an attempt to get back into the tie, Caledonia came out firing to a 16-5 start to the second half. Tape put up nine points to make his game total 19, the 6’10 center getting to the basket effectively. 

The visitor’s run made it a six-point contest midway through the third period, triggering another Riders response. Kimbal Mackenzie led the run, scoring five straight points to get it underway, including a tough three off the dribble. 

The quarter ended 66-56 to the Riders, with a Walshe corner three concluding the action. 

Leicester carried their momentum through to the final period, scoring seven straight points to get it underway. The points made it an 18-7 after the Gladiators cut it to six in the third.

Having started the fourth the better of the teams, the Riders saw out the game professionally to advance to the final. Derryck Thornton and Zach Jackson’s late threes sealed a hard-fought Riders victory. 

The Riders now face a quick turnaround, as they face the Manchester Giants on the road on Friday. A win would put them top of the BBL Championship standings with an 11-4 record. 

BBL announces Aaron Radin as CEO

Following an extensive recruitment process carried out by the league’s board of directors, Radin’s appointment comes at a crucial moment for the BBL as the league looks to accelerate its growth to achieve its full potential.

Radin moves to the BBL after compiling a successful track record across a 30-year professional career. He has held increasingly senior-level positions at a multitude of sports, media and tech organisations such as the NBA, The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Meta. His extensive knowledge of the commercial landscape surrounding the sport will help take the league to exciting new heights.

Alongside his professional background, Radin has been significantly involved in his community for over 20 years through volunteering as a basketball coach, and helping to lead a grassroots program which helped generate opportunities for hundreds of inner-city youth to expand their educational and professional opportunities through the sport.

Speaking on the appointment, British Basketball League Director, Lenz Balan said:

“We are thrilled to be welcoming Aaron to the BBL. His professional achievements, and passion for and understanding of the sport, make him the ideal leader to take British Basketball to the next level during this exciting period of growth.

“It has been a truly remarkable year for the league and Aaron’s appointment highlights our commitment to accelerating the commercial growth of the BBL and the longer term success of our clubs, players and partners both domestically and in Europe.”

Speaking on his arrival as the league’s CEO, Aaron Radin said:

“I am thrilled to join the British Basketball League at this critical point in its history. Between the new investment of capital into the league, the creation of new broadcast partnerships and the return to European competition, the BBL is just beginning to deliver on its goal to generate joy for its fans and value for its marketing and distribution partners. I am excited for the challenge to help the league fully deliver on that promise and I look forward to working with our clubs, owners and investors, as we join forces to become one of the most competitive and exciting basketball leagues in the world.

“We are committed to continuing to attract the most talented players to the British Basketball League from across the globe, as well as providing a platform for British athletes to fulfil their potential here in the UK as well as on the global stage.”

Cup Semi date confirmed

Leicester Riders will host Caledonia Gladiators in the BBL Cup Semi Final on Wednesday 21 December, 7.45pm tip.

Riders will be looking to use home advantage with a big crowd, to help take them back to Birmingham after defeating Manchester Giants in last years’ final. This years’ format means that the semi final is one leg with the outcome decided on the night.

Tickets are now on sale via this link.

All home cup games are included for Riders season ticket holders.

In the other semi final, Bristol Flyers host London Lions on Monday 19 December.

Dodici Otto X Riders

Leicester Riders have partnered with fashion brand Dodici Otto to produce a Limited Edition jersey.

The Leicester-based brand launched a similar collab with Chelsea FC earlier this year, but this is their very first venture into basketball.

Each shirt features a graffiti style marking the 19 trophies and all the players from this season on the back.

The shirts were done on a limited run of 10, individually numbered. All the profits raised will go to the Riders Foundation.

To buy a shirt from our online store click here!

Riders pop-up shop in John Lewis now open!

Leicester Riders are delighted to partner with John Lewis at Highcross in Leicester, and open a brand new pop-up shop from now until the end of December!

Shoppers will be able to buy all official Riders merchandise including a brand new range of products ahead of Christmas.

Be sure to check it out!

Riders take the win against Sharks

The Riders improve their season record to 7-3, after a gritty 71-58 win against the Sheffield Sharks. 

A 21-11 fourth quarter saw the Riders win a closely fought contest, where the Sharks’ kept the hosts honest throughout. Zach Jackson led the scoring with 17 points, 11 coming in the final period to see out the game. 

The Sharks’ BBL-best defence proved a tough test for Leicester, whose three-point shooting saw them build a lead late. They shot 40% from deep and held their opponents to 27%, which proved the difference between the sides. 

Kimbal Mackenzie continued his hot form, providing a hot hand from the bench. He did not miss from the field, scoring 11 points in 15 minutes of action. 

The opening stages were closely fought between two great defensive outfits. Both sides struggled to find an offensive rhythm, but the Riders closed the quarter with a 9-0 run, led by four points and an assist from Jackson. 

His assist fed new man Aaron Menzies for his first points in Riders’ red, slamming it down with two hands to get the home fans on their feet. They ended the first up 15-10, and with the wind in their sails. 

The Sharks fought back in the second, playing tough defence to keep it a low-scoring affair. Bennet Koch got to work down low, scoring 12 of his team’s 32 points by halftime. The Sharks won the second 22-15, to go into the half up 32-30. 

The sides fought closely in the third, as the score remained within a score throughout the period. Marc Loving concluded the action in the quarter with a three to put Leicester up 50-47. 

The Riders burst out the gate in the fourth, taking the game by the reigns. Jackson’s finish in close made it 54-47 a minute and a half into the final period of play. 

The Riders kept their hands in the lane, their intense defensive pressure forcing five Sharks turnovers early in the quarter. They kept the Sharks at arm’s length, as Patrick Whelan’s three made it a ten-point game with three minutes remaining. 

Jackson kept the foot on the accelerator, draining another three for his 11th points of the fourth. Darien Nelson-Henry’s putback sealed the deal with half a minute remaining, securing a hard-fought win. 

“Defensively, I thought we were excellent tonight,” said coach Rob Paternostro post-game. “Holding them to 58 points, 30 in the second half, is a great effort, and it’s something that’s been a point of focus for us.”

“They played good defence too. They like to play slow-paced games, and the important thing was not to panic. It’s easy for guys to get out of rhythm a bit, but we were solid in the second half, and we’ve got a lot of veteran guys who understand what it takes to get a win.”

The Riders take a trek up north for their next future, heading to Scotland to take on the Caledonia Gladiators for the second time this season. A win would see them improve to 8-3, as they contest the top spot in the BBL Championship standings.

Riders sign GB International Aaron Menzies

Riders are thrilled to confirm the signing of Great Britain International Aaron Menzies.

The 7’3” big man will join Riders on a return from International duty after a buy-out deal was agreed with German side Dresden Titans for his services.

Aaron, who spent his college career stateside with Seattle Redhawks and Saint Mary’s Gaels, started his professional career in Spain for Ourense and HLA Alicante. He joined Dresden at the start of the 2022-23 season, averaging 8.6 points a game for the Titans.

“I’m excited to be returning to the UK,” reflected Menzies. “After six and a half seasons playing overseas it’s great for me to play in front of my family and friends again week in and week out.”

“I spoke to Pat (Whelan) and he had nothing but good things to say about the Riders. It’s a great club with a history of success. I can’t wait to get started and continue that success with some silverware before the end of the season.”

Head Coach Rob Paternostro commented:

“It’s an exciting signing for us. He’s a guy that we’ve been paying attention to over the last two years with him being from the UK.”

“He’s had a great start to the season this year. We feel that we’ve added a player with size and an ability to change the game for us. We are all looking forward to having him wear red.”

Menzies will play for Great Britain again on Monday in Latvia, having made his debut on Friday night in Newcastle.

Report: Riders beat Phoenix to win three on the bounce

The Riders make it three wins on the bounce, beating the Cheshire Phoenix 89-85. their record is now 5-3, as they climb up the BBL Championship standings. 

Patrick Whelan led the team with 16 points, as five Riders hit double-digit points in the win. Kimbal Mackenzie scored a season-high 12 points, scoring eight in the final period to keep the Riders’ offence ticking off the bench. 

Leicester needed every one of the points in a closely fought game. It was a one-possession game with 20 seconds remaining before Zach Jackson hit a free throw and came up with a stop on defence to seal it. 

For Cheshire, Marcus Evans and Tahjai Teague ran the show off the bench. Evans scored 15 from the perimeter, going 3-3 from deep and 5-10 from the field, while Teague put on a strong showing down low, scoring 14 points and going 5-7 in the paint. 

But in a contest which was closely fought wire-to-wire, it was the reigning champs who used their wealth of experience to put one in the win column. 

Derryck Thornton picked up where he left off in his last fixture, where he led the team with 21 points. Thornton scored six of the team’s first 12 points, helping them to a stalemate at the end of one. 

Jackson also got points on the board early, bagging seven through the first ten minutes. 

Little separated the teams through a half, with the biggest lead for either team standing at just four points after the second. The score was 40-38 in Cheshire’s favour, as Maceo Jack drove inside to give the Phoenix the lead to close the period.

By halftime, the Riders had hit just two of their 14 three-point attempts, staying in the game through their offensive rebounding, grabbing seven to Cheshire’s one. On the other end, the Phoenix hit 42% of their threes at the half, with 6’4” sharpshooter Llyod Daniel’s going 2-2. 

Jackson got the second half going for the Riders, hitting his second and-one layup of the game. The Wichita native’s play lit a fire under Leicester’s offence, which scored 11 points in the next two minutes to build a seven-point advantage. 

The Riders kept the Phoenix at arm’s length for the rest of the third, but their opponents battled to keep in it. Teague and Evans scored 13 between them in the final five minutes of the quarter for the Phoenix, with six of those points coming from the foul line. 

But Jubril Adekoya had the final say in the third, nailing a corner three at the buzzer to make it 67-61 in Leicester’s favour. 

Three minutes into the fourth, Kimbal Mackenzie snatched momentum for the Riders to stretch their lead to double-digits. Following his layup inside, the Riders forced a turnover off the inbound before Mackenzie hit a tough and-one fadeaway from the corner, sending the Morningside Arena into a frenzy. 

Mackenzie scored eight in the final quarter to keep his side ahead, as the Phoenix fought to keep it close. Will Neighbour and Evan’s hit two straight threes with a minute remaining, which cut the lead to three. 

Leicester put the ball in Jackson’s hands to seal the game with 20 seconds remaining. He took his defender one-on-one, drew a foul in the lane and hit a free throw to put them up four. He then took up his defensive assignment in isolation, locking up former Rider Jamell Anderson to win it. 

The Riders are back in action on Sunday, taking on the Plymouth City Patriots on the road. A win would see them move up to second in the standings with 10 points. 

Injury update: Mo Walker

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

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

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

Riders comeback to beat Sharks

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

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

See the full box score here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riders bounce back against Bristol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BBL Championship Preview: Riders at Gladiators

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

Riders back on track

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

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

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

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

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

Read our report here!

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

A new era in Glasgow

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

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

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

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

Key matchup 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where to watch

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

Riders win home opener

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get your tickets here!

BBL Championship Preview- Riders vs Giants

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

Riders back home

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

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

Read our report here.

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

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

A new era in the North West

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

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

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

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

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

Key matchup 

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

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

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

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

The California native averaged 18.4 points and 5.4 assists per game in the Austrian first division last season, playing for Kapfenberg Bulls. He set the league alight with his flashy handles and electrifying dunks, attacking the rim to set up plays for himself and his teammates. 

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

Where to watch

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

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

All you need to know!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BBL Championship Preview- Riders at Flyers

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

First win on the board 

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

Read our report from the win!

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

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

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

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

Flyers have lift-off

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

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

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

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

Key matchup

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

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

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

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

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

Where to watch 

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

Black History Month celebrated at Flyers game

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

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

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

Kevin Routledge honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award

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

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

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

BBL Championship Preview- Riders at Scorchers

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

A hard-fought season opener

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

Read our report from the game!

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

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

Scorchers look to bounce back

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

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

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

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

Key Matchup

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

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

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

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

Where to watch

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

Riders fall short in season opener

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coach Maynard on his latest recruit:

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

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

Sponsors support Riders in Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Managing Director of Jelson Homes, Robert Jelly commented:

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

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

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

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

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

Managing Director of Lumbers, Dominic Gomersall commented:

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

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

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

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

BCL Qualifiers Preview- Riders vs CSO Voluntari

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

BCL Qualifying format 

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

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

CSO Voluntari- Recent successes 

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

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

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

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

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

Key matchup 

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

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

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

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

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

How can you watch?

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

Know our name!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riders unveil new European kits

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

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

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

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

Tonight’s game to be played behind closed doors

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

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

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

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

Eadsforth-Yates in Riders Switch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whelan named in Eurobasket GB roster

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

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

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

Riders agree partnership with Applied Nutrition

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas Ryder, Applied Nutrition’s Managing Director said:

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

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

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

Riders sign CJ Jackson!

Riders are thrilled to announce the signing of talented point guard CJ Jackson for the 2022/23 season! Georgia-born Jackson has played three pro seasons in Scandinavia, averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds per game for Bisons Loimaa in the Finnish first division last season. 

Jackson is a graduate of Ohio State, playing three seasons with the Buckeyes. During his time in college, he played alongside Riders’ sharpshooter Marc Loving for the 2016/17 season. He scored 12 points a game in his senior year before going pro in 2019. 

In his first game as a pro, Jackson showed his clutch genes, hitting a game-winner with 0.8 seconds left on the clock for Swedish side Köping Stars. He played two seasons in Sweden, averaging 17 points, five assists and four rebounds during his time there. 

“I’m super excited to be joining the Rider family,” reflected CJ.

“I can’t wait to start the season. Playing with an old teammate like Marc (Loving) is exciting, and I’m looking forward to going into battle with him again!”  

Head Coach Rob Paternostro commented on the signing:

“We are looking forward to working with CJ. He is a talented guard who can do a variety of things on the basketball court. Throughout his career he has shown that he can be effective both on the ball or off it and can be really difficult to defend.”

“His three point shooting , attacking the basket and passing ability will be a nice addition to our team.”

“We liked his experience, he played in a very good conference in the big ten and played very well, he also has had some very good professional seasons where he was a standout performer.”

Riders play their first pre-season game this Friday against USA Select – tickets are on sale here. Having just landed CJ is expected to make his debut the following week against Donar Groningen.

We’re Hiring!

We are looking for a Sales Manager to work with our club partners and on our group ticketing offers.

For more information on the role you can access the job description here.

Riders announce BBL staff structure for 2022/23

Riders have announced the BBL support staff for the 2022/23 season. After winning the treble last season, the club are delighted to announce the addition of some key staff members.

“It’s awesome for us to welcome the new faces to the backroom team”, commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro.

“It’s important for us to have a great support staff to support our players for the season ahead and beyond. I’m looking forward to working with them all.”

Former Riders WBBL coach Matt Pitkin returns to the club and joins Pablo Vazquez and Will Maynard on the sideline under head coach Rob Paternostro. Matt will also head up a new role for the club as Pathway Manager.

“It’s an awesome feeling to be back at Leicester after the last five years,” Matt Pitkin reflecting on his return.

“The opportunity to work with one of the BBL’s most decorated teams in the last ten years was one that really excited me. Rob is a serial winner and I’m looking forward to supporting and learning from him.”

“I’m really motivated to support the club in their journey to connect and collaborate their extensive pathway.”

Tom Austin succeeds Jordan Godfrey as the strength & conditioning coach, whilst Ben Pogmore (Head of Medical) and Callum Stevens (Performance Analysis) join the backroom.

Head Coach – Rob Paternostro
Ast. Coach – Matthew Pitkin (previously Harber)
Ast. Coach – Pablo Vazquez
Ast. Coach – Will Maynard
Team Manager – Donna Phillips
Strength & Conditioning – Tom Austin
Head of Medical – Ben Pogmore
Performance Analysis – Callum Stevens

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented “Over the last 5 years we have really developed our support staff to help Rob take the team to next level and this year we feel we have a great group to support for the BBL team and other areas of the club.”

“It is really exciting times for the club following last years’ success and the preparation for the Champions League qualifiers in September.”

Walshe returns to Riders

British guard Evan Walshe has returned to the Riders squad for the 2022-23 season. Walshe, who previously played & studied in America for Barry University, will continue his studies at Loughborough University, undertaking a two-year masters degree. 

Walshe was added to the Riders squad last term and as well as enjoying minutes in the BBL, played a pivotal role in Will Maynard’s NBL D1 side. This time around Walshe will add some depth to the Riders BBL roster and be eligible to play in the Loughborough University BUCS side.

“It was awesome to work with Evan last season and we are looking forward to having him back,” commented head coach Rob Paternostro. “He is a talented young player who continues to develop his game. We were very impressed with him as a player and competitor last season.“

“He has good size for the guard position, he can shoot the three and he is a physical player that competes on both ends of the floor. He is a guy that can really get to the basket both in the half court and in transition.”

Last season Riders picked up three major trophies in the League Championship, BBL Cup and Playoff title, Walshe is excited at the prospect of being reunited with his fellow treble-winners.

“It feels great to sign back and to get a full season with the Riders. With all the success of last season, and bringing the majority of the squad back, there is a lot of excitement for the upcoming season,” commented Walshe. 

“Working day in day out with Coach Rob last season gave me a taste for his passion for the game and gave me a new wind in my sail so I’m excited to have the privilege of working under the coaching staff again this season.” 

“When the masters was offered to me it was really a no brainer, the opportunity to continue my education alongside playing is something I couldn’t turn down. Loughborough is a great University and will allow me further success off the basketball court when it’s all said and done”

Riders would like to place on record our thanks and appreciation for the continued support of Loughborough University in helping to support our players’ education. 

Riders partner with Vertu Motors

Leicester Riders are thrilled to announce a three-year partnership with Vertu Motors and their Leicester dealership – Vertu Toyota Leicester.

The leading car dealership, who also have dealerships in Loughborough, Nottingham, Derby, Mansfield and Grantham, are supplying the team a fleet of Toyota vehicles

Chris Taylor, Group Operations Director at Vertu Motors, said: “Leicester Riders have enjoyed huge success on the court over the years and most importantly they are revered for the work they do to support local communities. We hugely admire their dedication to developing young people of all ages, through working with schools in the area and player
pathways in Leicester and Loughborough. We are very proud to partner with the team.”

Robert Forrester, Chief Executive of Vertu Motors, added: “Following our Group’s successful partnerships with Newcastle Eagles and Glasgow Rocks, we are delighted to announce a further deal within the British Basketball League, with Leicester Riders. We are focused on continuing to drive brand awareness with key audiences; this partnership will serve to cement our name within the local community, and we can’t wait to get the season started.”

Russell Levenston, Managing Director at Leicester Riders, commented:

“It gives us great pleasure to welcome 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 and we are keen to help the region in becoming a more prosperous location for their business.

“We take pride in providing success both on and off the court, and we feel that this partnership, with Vertu Motors’ renowned quality service and customer care, will help us accomplish just that.”

Vertu Motors hold partnerships with a number of sports clubs across the country, including in football and cricket, with Burnley FC, Middlesbrough FC and Sunderland AFC, alongside Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Durham Cricket.

Riders add Dolphins to pre-season schedule

Riders will face Swedish side Norrköping Dolphins at Morningside Arena on Wednesday 14 September at 7.30pm tip, as they prepare for the new season.

Dolphins won the league title in Sweden last year and will also feature in the Basketball Champions League Qualifiers on 21st.

After facing Rob Paternostro’s men, Norrköping will travel to the north-east where they face Newcastle Eagles on 16 September.

Tickets for our home pre-season game versus Dolphins are available here.

Brown Becomes A Rider

The Leicester Riders are pleased to announce a further addition to their WBBL roster for the 2022/23 WBBL Season with the signing of 6’3” US/Scottish forward Kirsty Brown.

Brown joins the Riders after graduating from Cal Poly where in her senior year she averaged 8ppg, 6.5rpg & 1.1bpg.

With good size, Brown will give the Riders extra strength in the 4 and 5 positions where her post play and wingspan will be of benefit at both ends of the floor. She has the ability to score inside and from midrange as well as being a tenacious rebounder and disruptive defender.

“Leicester felt like home from the first phone call I received. I am so excited and grateful to be given the opportunity to play in England. I can’t wait to meet my teammates and staff and look forward to becoming a part of the community. Let’s get to work on bringing home a championship. Go Riders!”.

Head Coach Krumesh Patel commented:

“It is really nice to be able to add Kirsty to our team as she is something we were missing. Her size and length will fit in well alongside Ashley. She is mobile and quick which will allow us to play in the style that we want to. She’s another player on this roster with ambition and the drive to keep pushing. I think she will be a great fit for this group”.

Marc Loving returns!

Riders are excited to announce the re-signing of former Ohio State forward Marc Loving for the 2022/23 season. The sharpshooting stretch-four scored 12 points a game last season on an efficient 46% from the field. 

Loving played an integral part of the Riders’ treble-winning season last year. His season-high of 32 points game back in November, torching the Cheshire Phoenix to settle into Leicester life quickly, before earning Player of the Month in December.

Prior to last season, Loving competed in the NBA G-League for the Delaware Bluecoats and the Agua Caliente Clippers. This came after a successful four-year stint at Ohio State, where he averaged 13 points and five rebounds across his junior and senior years. 

Loving became a fan favourite throughout the season and will bring a bounce to the Morningside Arena with his highlight plays.

“I’m looking forward to being back & building on what we accomplished last year,” said Loving. “I’m happy to be back with a great coaching staff and fan base. This year should be really exciting!”

Head Coach Rob Paternostro reflected on Loving’s return:

“We are thrilled to have Marc back for another season. He is a very talented player with a high basketball IQ whose versatility allows him to play in many different positions on both ends of the floor.”

“I thought he was excellent last season. He is a player that you feel comfortable with on the floor because he consistently makes the right plays both offensively and defensively.”

“His three point shot is a great weapon in our offence, he has unlimited range out there but I also think that his passing and playmaking were very important to our offence last season.”

Crandall departs for Germany

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riders Acquire Oliana Squires

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riders head to North Macedonia for BCL

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final: Winner SF1 – Winner SF2

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

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

Robb Selected for Commonwealth Games

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

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

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

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

Good luck Hannah!