Rocks game now on Sky

We are delighted to confirm Leicester Riders game against Glasgow Rocks this Sunday will now be played in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

Both teams will travel to Worcester to play the game ahead of the BBL Cup Final after it has been announced that the WBBL final has been postponed.

The game will now tip-off at 1pm.

Rob Paternostro’s side will also be in Worcester on Friday night when they face Worcester Wolves at 7pm – available to watch on the Worcester Wolves YouTube channel.

Riders defeat Raiders to set new BBL record

Leicester Riders bounced back again, this time from Cup semi-final defeat to Newcastle Eagles, with a solid 82-70 win at the Plymouth Raiders in the BBL Championship. 

In doing so, Riders set a new BBL record, with their 31st consecutive victory over Plymouth, the longest winning streak between two clubs. The last time Raiders beat the Riders was in 2012.

They did so thanks to an extraordinary set of performances from their two point guards, with Geno Crandall scoring 18 points, while pulling down 17 rebounds and dishing out 8 assists, one of the top efforts in the BBL this season. Crandall added in a steal and a block for good measure. 

Conner Washington top scored with 21 points, including 4 three pointers, and also added 7 rebounds and 3 assists. The guards had to step up because forward William Lee picked up early fouls and only managed 10 minutes on court, as did captain Darien Nelson-Henry, with Riders two big men managing just 7 points and 3 rebounds between them.

There was little between the teams in the first half. Crandall was immediately into the action, scoring two early baskets with some mesmerising dribbling to create space, and a Lee three had the scores tied on 8 points after four minutes. But Riders were also a little sloppy with the ball with four early turnovers, and both teams were struggling to score. Four points from GB International Ashley Hamilton, who had a very subdued game, thanks to pressure defence from Riders, helped Raiders to their biggest lead of the game at 16-10, but Scottish International Ali Fraser came off the bench and immediately provided a match-up problem for the Raiders. Fine work from Fraser and Zach Jackson got Riders back to level pegging, before Leicester born Elliott Sentence hit a three at the end of the first quarter to give the home side a narrow first quarter lead, 21-18.

Conner Washington levelled the score at the start of the second period with a three, but Mike Morsell, who scored 26 points against Riders a week ago, started to impose himself on the game, and slowly the Raiders got on top, leading 31-25 with four minutes left in the first half. But Fraser again came off the bench to work his magic inside and Riders went on a 9-2 run to go up 34-31.  A late score for Chris Porter-Bunton left the game in the balance at half-time with Riders just edging it 34-33.

In the last game between these teams the third quarter proved decisive for Leicester, but it was the Raiders who had the better start this time with a Morsell three pushing them to a 41-38 lead. But that was quickly cancelled by a Jamell Anderson three, and that was followed quickly by a three from Washington.

This triggered the crucial spell of the game, as Riders wound up the defensive pressure full court, turned over the Raiders twice in the back court, and had easy scores. That gave Riders a 48-41 lead with just over two minutes left in the quarter, and the Raiders were reeling. Porter-Bunton steadied the ship but a three-point play by Anderson and another fine play inside by Jackson had Riders well on top at the third quarter break, leading 53-48.

The game stayed tight early in the final period, but Crandall and Washington were playing their double act, and a three from Washington was matched by a driving lay-up from Crandall, and another jumper from Washington had Riders 66-57 clear midway with five minutes left. When Jackson hit another two the Raiders were forced to a time-out. But that sparked a burst of scoring from the visitors with Jackson and Washington hitting threes, and after that there was no way back for the Raiders.

As well as Riders deadly duo in the backcourt, Jackson caught the eye with 18 points, but it was Riders smothering defence that kept Raiders powerful offence in check, with only three home players managing double figure points, as Raiders shot just 38% from the floor.

Raiders

Morsell 17, Porter-Bunton 12, Hamilton 10, Ochereobia 9, Mcgill 9, Sentence 6, Beisty 3, Dusha 2, Neighbour 2, Neziri, Ubiaro, Walker

Riders

Washington 21, Crandall 18, Jackson 18, Fraser 12, Anderson 6, Lee 5, Nelson-Henry 2, Johnson, Falzon, Ndoukou, Hedley, Jimenez

TikTok X BBL

TikTok has today partnered with the British Basketball League and Basketball England to launch the #BritishBasketball hashtag challenge and showcase the best of British basketball.

In what is the first ever basketball focused campaign on TikTok in the UK, the BBL and Basketball England are inviting basketball lovers to share their best basketball tricks, skills and content on TikTok. TikTok Creators will have access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content from professional clubs including Leicester Riders – @ridersbball.

“Our team have been using TikTok to share basketball content to a new audience and we’ve been encouraged to see it getting a great response,” said Basketball England Marketing and Communications director Anthony Jepson.

“We’re excited to be working with TikTok to showcase #BritishBasketball and the talent in the BBL to people not only in the UK but across the world. From the hustle of training to the thrill of gameday, TikTok allows us and our clubs a unique and direct way to share with our fans and communities. We’ve also loved seeing great basketball content shared by fans and creators from the basketball community and cannot wait to see what they share on the hashtag to celebrate the sport we love!,” said Selina Conroy, British Basketball League’s Head of Communications

Professional players including Jamell Anderson, William Lee, Geno Crandall, Conner Washington, Aaron Falzon, and Corey Johnson are also on the platform and all set to be giving an insight into what it’s like being a pro basketball player in the UK.

“We’re seeing great videos being shared by fans, content-makers and teams across the sport and would encourage everyone who loves the game in Britain, whether your thing is NBL, BBL, the national teams or up-and-coming young talent, to use the hashtag to celebrate it,” Jepson said.

With more than 31 billion video views, #basketball has cemented itself as one of the most popular sports on TikTok and #BritishBasketball is on the rise with numerous clubs from the BBL joining the platform.

Do you love basketball and want to show off your best slam dunks? Join in the fun and post your videos on #BritishBasketball.

Where to watch tonight…

With ongoing technical work at Plymouth Pavilions, a decision has been made not to live stream the game on BBL Player platform. Instead the game will be available for FREE on the Plymouth Raiders facebook page.

We value the Riders support as ever and hopefully the solution agreed with Plymouth & the league allows for you, our loyal supporters, to watch the game this evening – tip is 7.30pm.

We will also be keeping our twitter page @ridersbball up-to-date with all the usual updates throughout the game.

Next week, service will be back to normal with a double-header to look forward to. Worcester on Friday 22nd, which will be available to watch for FREE on their YouTube page. Saturday’s home game with Glasgow Rocks will be available on bblplayer.co.uk .

Preview: Riders at Raiders

The Leicester Riders head down to the South West to take on the Plymouth Raiders for the second time in just over a week as the Riders look for a record breaking victory over the Raiders.

Season So Far – Riders

In their previous game, the Riders disappointingly exited the BBL Cup in the semi-final, in a close-fought game against the Newcastle Eagles. They now turn their attention back to the BBL Championship, where they sit third with three games in hand on the leaders. Leicester currently hold a 4-1 record, bouncing back from their only loss by beating the Plymouth Raiders 77-71. Geno Crandall continued his emphatic start to his debut season for Leicester, with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Crandall, who took North Dakota to the NCAA tournament as a sophomore in college, has averaged 20 points through his last four games and will look to continue his good form in this one. 

Season So Far – Raiders

Starting their season 5-1 to top their BBL Group, the Raiders enjoyed a successful start to their 2020-21 campaign. Subsequently, they were knocked out of the competition by the London Lions, but have equalled last season’s points tally of six in the BBL Championship after just eight games. Plymouth have kept their games competitive, with each of their five losses finishing within single digits. However, despite the hot start to the season, the Raiders enter this game in the midst of a cold streak, losing four of their last five games. Their most recent game was the first of a back to back against the Riders, which they lost 77-71. Mike Morsell led the team’s scoring effort in his debut for Plymouth with 26 points, after averaging 15 points a game with the Newcastle Eagles last season. 

Ones to watch

Earning Premier Logistics player of the game in his last two matches, Geno Crandall is on red hot form going into this tie. ‘General Geno’ has merited his nickname early in the season, leading the Riders in assists per game with five. His ball-handling is second to no-one in the BBL, allowing him to create offence for himself and his teammates by driving to the hoop and finishing at the rim, or using his elite passing ability to find an open teammate. In the pick and roll, Crandall uses screens masterfully, before exploiting the mismatch on larger defenders or dishing to the cutting screener. However, he is at his most dangerous in transition, using his speed and vision to attack the recovering defences. With the like of high-flying forward William Lee running the floor alongside him, highlight plays are a near guarantee when Crandall runs the fastbreak. 

Mike Morsell played his first game for the Raiders in their most recent game, showcasing the talent he brings to the South coast right off the bat. He had 26 points and seven rebounds, draining five threes in the process. After playing four years in the NCAA division one for Towson, averaging 14 points a game, Morsell signed his first professional contract in Finland’s first division, to play for Kobrat, before moving on to the Newcastle Eagles. He averaged 15 points per game for the Eagles before the season was cut short. Morsell is a great three-point shooter, averaging 40% from deep last season. This opens up the lane for him, where he uses his strength and quickness to get to the rim and finish through contact. Morsell has made an immediate impact on the Raiders, and his scoring from the wing will help them build on their 3-5 record. 

Previous meeting

This game is the second of a back to back, with the Riders taking the first 77-71. The win tied the BBL record for a head-to-head winning streak, making it 30 on the bounce. Geno Crandall filled up the box score from the point, getting 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists. While he only shot 33% from the field, Crandall made 10 of his 12 free-throws to earn him the player of the game award. Meanwhile, Mike Morsell showed out in his first game for Plymouth, scoring 26 points and grabbing 7 rebounds. The Riders will hope for a win in this one to make it 31 consecutive wins against the Raiders, breaking the BBL record. 

Riders fall to Eagles in BBL Cup Semi Final

Leicester Riders are out of the BBL Cup after a hard fought and intense semi-final, edged out by arch-rivals Newcastle Eagles, 76-71, at the Morningside Arena.

Nothing separated the sides through three quarters of the match, but a huge three by Eagles American forward Justin Gordon gave the visitors a 73-70 lead with just under two minutes left in the game, and Riders could not find a way back, missing four shots in the final two minutes.

The Eagles now progress to the Final against London Lions who are through without playing against a Covid hit Manchester Giants.

The Eagles started the game on fire, setting up their big men, Evan Maxwell and Gordon, inside for easy baskets, capped by a Cortez Edwards three to put them 7 nil on top. But William Lee responded with a dunk off an assist by Geno Crandall and Riders went on an 8 to nil run of their own. At this stage, the defences were dominating between two teams who are very familiar with each other, and it took Crandall to weave his magic to keep Riders in touch in spite of a few loose passes. At the first quarter break there was nothing between the teams, tied on fourteen points apiece.

The second period followed the pattern of the first, with Eagles dominating inside and a Corey Johnson three was more than cancelled out by successive threes by Maxwell and Drew Lasker. 

Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro was forced to an early timeout trailing 28-19 with still 6 minutes in the half. That did the trick, as Darien Nelson Henry immediately rattled off 6 points in a row in a Riders 11-2 run that got the scores tied on 30 with three minutes left. Crandall then weaved his way inside for a basket, followed by another Johnson three, but a jump shot by Edwards gave the Eagles the narrowest leads at halftime at 37-36, with the game still finely balanced.  

The offences started to get some traction in the third period with both teams pushing the ball up the court quicker and finding the gaps. William Lee and Nelson-Henry combined well inside, but 6 feet 10 inch Maxwell was causing all sorts of problems for Riders inside, as he benefited from a number of Edward’s passes. Another Johnson three got Riders within 2 at 49-47 down but Edwards hit back with a three of his own. Another Lee dunk got Riders back in front 52-51 forcing the Eagles to a timeout.  Crandall then hit six points on the spin for the Riders but a breakaway basket from youngster Eddie Matthews helped Eagles stay just in front 62-60 at the third quarter break.

It stayed nip and tuck in the final quarter but successive baskets by Maxwell followed by a driving lay-up by Edwards got Eagles 68-64 clear with five minutes left.

Nelson Henry and Lee then then combined well inside for baskets, and a Crandall lay-up got the scores to 70 all. Gordon hit the three with less than two minutes to go, and then Crandall missed a free throw and Riders were chasing the game. They had their chances in the final minute but could not convert.

In a game dominated by defences Lee gave another solid performance with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Crandall top scored with 17 points and added 5 assists. But the Riders struggled from behind the three point line making just 4 of 16, and their turnovers at 16 were double that of the Eagles and proved the decisive factor. Maxwell top scored in the game with 19 points.

Riders

Crandall 17, Jackson 12, Nelson-Henry 12, Lee 12, Johnson 11, Fraser 4, Anderson 3

Eagles

Maxwell 19, Edwards 18, Gordon 15, Pflueger 5, Fletcher 4, Sayers 4, Defoe 4, Lasker, Adenekan 2, Matthews 2

Preview: Riders v Eagles

The Leicester Riders take on the Newcastle Eagles on Tuesday Evening as the two sides do battle for a place in the BBL Cup Final later this month.

Season So Far – Riders 

The Riders’ stared their 2020/21 campaign by easing through the ‘group of death’, qualifying to the knockout stages with a game to spare. Leicester won and lost to each team in the group, resting their starters in the last game against the Sheffield Sharks, a luxury they earned through their early qualification. The Riders kicked off the knockout stages by convincingly beating the Glasgow Rocks 93-59. They led wire to wire in the tie, leading 51-26 at halftime. Corey Johnson led the scoring for the Riders, dropping 20 points and shooting 42% from three. 

Season So Far – Eagles

Like the Riders, the Eagles enjoyed a comfortable group stage in the ‘group of death’. They topped the group, finishing with the best offensive record in the Cup, averaging 90 points per game. Newcastle have had great success on the road, as they’re 3-0 as the away team in the competition so far. They beat the Bristol Flyers 72-64 in the first round of the knockouts, despite a late Flyers fourth quarter comeback to cut a 17 point deficit to 8. Evan Maxwell led the scoring for Newcastle, scoring 22 points to pair with seven rebounds. The 6’10” center is capable of stretching the floor, shooting 35% from three in the BBL Cup, and is a presence on the glass averaging 8 rebounds a game. 

Ones to watch

Corey Johnson has led the team in scoring through the BBL Cup campaign so far, averaging 16 points a game. He’s been red hot from deep, shooting 45% from three, and is yet to miss a free-throw, going 7-7 at the line. Johnson has scored 20 points in three of the six games he’s played in the competition, with a total of 17 rebounds in those games also. The 6’5” wing shot 37% from deep at Havard College, and averaged 12 points a game in his first season with the Riders. Johnson is capable of catching fire on any given night to put up big numbers offensively. 

2 time BBL MVP Rahmon Fletcher is playing his sixth season for the Eagles, and is running the point to great effect. He is an excellent facilitator, leading the team in assists with 10 a game. Fletcher has a complete playmaking arsenal, capable of making any pass and opening up defences with crafty handles. He uses his exceptional speed paired with his handles to beat defenders and get to the hoop, and despite standing at 5’10”, Fletcher is adept at finishing at the rim over taller defenders.  Off the ball, Fletcher spaces the floor for his teammates with his outside shooting, averging 48% from three in the BBL Cup. His complete offensive game will pose a challenge for Leicester if Fletcher controls the game like he is capable of doing. 

Previous Meeting

The Riders and the Eagles have met twice already this season, both times in the BBL Cup group stage. Both teams won a game each, with Leicester taking the most recent game 82-88. There was just one point between the teams with 5:44 on the clock in the final quarter, before Leicester went on a 18-13 run to end the game. Geno Crandall led the way for the Riders with a 20 point performance, while Rex Pflueger put up a season high 21 points for Newcastle. 

How To Watch

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game by  purchasing a pass from BBL Player.

BBL Statement

In accordance with the BBL Secure Play protocols and Covid-19 rule amendments, there are changes to the BBL Cup Semi-Finals scheduled for Tuesday 12 January 2021 due to Covid-19 implications.

Due to a number of players having to self-isolate, Manchester Giants are unable to fulfil their fixture against London Lions and have unfortunately had to forfeit the game. The forfeiture means London Lions have an automatic bye to the Final on 24 January.

In a related move, with Manchester unable to fulfil their fixture, the semi-final between Leicester Riders and Newcastle Eagles will now be held at the Morningside Arena on Tuesday 12 January. The game will tip-off at 5pm and shown live on BBL Player. The venue was decided via a remote random draw by the League central office with representatives from Leicester and Newcastle present to witness the draw.

Riders bounce back with a tough win in Plymouth

Leicester Riders bounced back from their heart-breaking defeat against London on Sunday with a hard fought 77-71 victory on the road at Plymouth Raiders in the BBL Championship. Riders needed a strong defensive performance in the third quarter to set up the win and held off strong pressure from Plymouth late in the game. 

It was Riders thirtieth consecutive victory over the Raiders, tying an all-time BBL record in head-to-head matchups. The result improves Riders record to 4 wins with a single defeat.

Riders got their inside game going early on through centre and captain Darien Nelson-Henry, but fell behind 12-6 midway through the first period, as Raiders GB international Ashley Hamilton took advantage from the free throw line. But Aaron Falzon came off the bench to hit a three and spark a Riders revival, as they went on an 11-2 run, including baskets from William Lee and Conner Washington, and capped by four points in a row from Geno Crandall, to push Riders 15-12 clear. American guard Mike Morsell was keeping the Raiders in touch with fine long range shooting and at the first quarter break Riders led just 19-16.

Ali Fraser came off the bench to get Riders going in the second period, but then the two teams hit a purple patch shooting-wise with Crandall hitting a three, and long-range jump shot, which was matched by consecutive three pointers by Morsell and a long range shot from point guard Ricky Mcgill. Another driving lay -up by Hamilton forced Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro to a timeout as Raiders edged in front 30-29. Zach Jackson suddenly found his shooting touch on consecutive plays and then Ali Fraser did the same, but a basket off an offensive rebound by Michael Ochereobia kept Raiders just in front at half-time 38-37.

Riders turned up the defensive intensity in the third period, and Nelson-Henry again was to the fore under the basket, converting some easy makes to push Riders clear 46-40. Riders were starting to control the boards and fine play by Jamell Anderson and a three by Corey Johnson got Riders lead out to double figures, leading 53-43 with three minutes left in the third quarter. Riders had a solid lead at 59-48 with a ten minutes left, as they dominated the third quarter 22-10.

The Raiders immediately bounced back at the start of the final period with Hamilton starting to impose himself offensively and another Morsell three cut Riders lead to 64-59 with five minutes left in the game.

Morsell hit yet another long range three to cut Riders lead to 68-64 with two and a half minutes left, forcing Riders to another time-out. A three-point play by Morsell further cut Riders lead to just one point, but then fine play by Crandall, and a put back dunk by Lee, edged Riders out to 71-67 with a minute left.  Crandall found his way to the basket for a dunk and then the Riders held their nerve from the free throw line to secure a well-deserved victory.

Crandall impressed again, although he was not at his very best, finishing with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Ali Fraser had one of his best games for Riders, with 12 points and 5 rebounds in 17 minutes of play, while there was a welcome return to offensive efficiency by Nelson-Henry with 13 points on 60% shooting.  The Raiders Morsell top scored in the game with 26 points, including 5 three-pointers.

Raiders

Morsell 26, Hamilton 17, Ochereobia 10, Mcgill 7, Porter-Bunton 6, Ubiaro 4, Neighbour 1

Riders

Crandall 19, Nelson-Henry 13, Fraser 12, Johnson 9, Jackson 6, Lee 5, Washington 5, Falzon 5, Anderson 3

The Riders return to action on Tuesday Evening when they take on the Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Cup Semi Final in Manchester.

Preview: Riders at Raiders

Season So Far – Riders

The Riders suffered their first loss of the BBL Championship season in their most recent game, losing 73-74 to the London Lions. Leicester came off the back of a two-week break between games and shot just 38% from the field in a low scoring affair. Despite this, they took the Lions to the final play of the game before falling to 3-1 to start the season. They still boast the best defensive record in the league, holding opponents to 70 points a game on average. University of Alabama graduate William Lee leads the team in points, rebounds, blocks and steals early in the season, making his presence known on both ends. The Riders sit fourth in the standings, with two games in hand on the teams above. 

Season So Far – Raiders

Plymouth started their season in emphatic fashion, topping their BBL Cup group while losing just one of the six games. Since then, the Raiders have equalled the three wins they had last season after just seven games, starting 3-4.  While Plymouth has lost four games to start the season, every game they’ve played has been closely contested. Just one of the seven games has been won by double digits, a 14 point win for the Raiders against the Worchester Wolves. They’ve had great success crashing the offensive glass, pulling down a dominant 31% of offensive rebounds per game. Michael Ochereobia leads the way in this category, pulling down two a game. The 6’8” center averaged 8.5 rebounds a game for the Cheshire Phoenix last season and has four years experience playing in the NCAA first division. 

Ones To Watch

Coming to the Riders from the Iowa Wolves in the G-League in the offseason, William Lee’s hot start to the season has led to him averaging 14 points and 9 rebounds, which leads the team. The University of Alabama’s all-time leading shot-blocker also leads the Riders in blocks and steals, dominating on both ends. The 6’9” big man’s athleticism is the key to his game, as it enables him to attack the rim, swat away shots and grab rebounds at a high rate. Lee also has an effect on the defensive end which doesn’t show up in the box score, using his 6’11” wingspan to cut passing lanes and disrupt opposing offences.  

After averaging 12 points a game in the Spanish second division last year, Ashley Hamilton has made an immediate impact on the Raiders this season. The 6’7” forward, who played four years for NCAA division one side Loyola Marymount in college, is averaging 20 points through his first seven games in the BBL Championship, leading the team. Hamilton is an athletic wing, who uses his speed and strength to get to the basket with ease. The lane to the basket has been opened up for him early in the season, as he has been hot from three, shooting 41% from deep. His game-high this season came against the London Lions, as he dropped 31 points. In typical fashion, Hamilton attacked the rim, getting to the free-throw line 14 times in the game and making 69% of his shots from the field. 

Previous Meeting

These two teams last faced in the BBL Championship last season, and it was the Riders who took the victory, winning 90-74. Leicester’s ball movement was excellent in the game, doubling their opponent’s assist totals. Darien Nelson-Henry had 16 points off of 80% shooting, going 8-10 from the field. The Riders have won the last 28 fixtures against the Raiders, with the last Plymouth win dating back to the 1st April 2012. Leicester will hope to extend this winning streak in this one. 

How To Watch

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game by  purchasing a pass from BBL Player.

New Flyers date confirmed

Riders game against Bristol Flyers, postponed from December, will now take place on Wednesday 10th February 2021 at 7pm.

Last time the sides met in front of the Sky Sports cameras, Leicester winning 85-73.

Our final league game versus the Flyers will come at the end of March (27th) down in Bristol.

Riders handed first league defeat by Lions

Leicester Riders saw victory snatched from them in a mad last minute, as they were beaten by London Lions 74-73 Sunday evening in the BBL Championship at the Morningside Arena. Riders were 5 points clear at 73-68 with just a minute left in the game as they looked to preserve their unbeaten start in the Championship. 

They were looking good for the victory with the Lions struggling to get any penetration on offence. But then a stray pass was intercepted by Dirk Williams at mid court for a breakaway dunk, and that was followed by a Lions steal on the subsequent inbounds play to give them another easy layup. When Riders could not score on their possession, the Lions came down and Orlando Parker hit the twelve-foot jumper to wrench the game from Riders. A last second attempt from Corey Johnson to steal back the game for Riders fell short.

The start of the match was delayed by two hours after the Lions were caught up in a traffic accident on the M1. But both teams shrugged off the delays early on, with Corey Johnson opening his account with a three with the first shot of the game, matched by Lions GB star Justin Robinson. When Johnson hit another three it looked like it was going to be a shooting fest, but then the defences started to take over. The Lions were getting good movement inside from ex-Rider Chris Taiwah.  An Orlando Parker three edged London in front 12-8, but Washington came off the bench to draw a couple of fouls and hit a big three. With seconds left in the first quarter Riders worked the ball beautifully to the corner to Jamell Anderson for a three, to tie the game at 19 after 10 minutes.

The Lions came out on fire in the second period as Kevin Ware and ex-NBA star Deandre Liggins combined, and a Liggins three was followed by Dirk Williams making three points from the free throw line giving London a 35-22 lead and forcing Riders to a time-out, with four minutes gone. That did the trick as Riders went on an eleven to nil run with William Lee converting six points and Geno Crandall dazzling with his ball handling. The Lions were then forced to a timeout and they responded with consecutive threes by Dirk Williams and Jules Dang Akodo to push Lions lead back to 41-33, forcing Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro to another time-out. That again worked the magic and a three point play off an offensive rebound by Crandall, and a scintillating assist by Crandall for a three point play by Ali Fraser had Riders trailing 44-39 at half-time.

Lions started the sharper in the third period but again Crandall inspired Riders back. He hit a driving lay-up followed by a three, and Riders were back within 5 trailing 57-52. Crandall then found Nelson-Henry inside for an easy basket followed by a William Lee dunk. With two and a half minutes left in the quarter Crandall hit another three to close to trail by just 62-59 and neither side could muster a score in the final two and a half minutes of the third period.

The defences stayed on top in the fourth quarter but an Anderson three was followed by one from Washington and Riders slowly build a lead. A Crandall basket halfway through the final period gave Riders their biggest lead of the game 71-64 with five minutes left, and Riders stayed in front until that final crazy minute when the game got away from them.

William Lee was in stunning form for Riders at Both ends of the court, contributing 15 points and 12 rebounds while blocking 3 Lions shots, in 35 minutes of play. Crandall also put on a masterclass finishing with 23 points and 4 assists, including 3 three pointers.

Riders

Crandall 23, Lee 15, Johnson 11, Washington 9, Anderson 6, Fraser 4, Nelson-Henry 2, Jackson 2, Falzon 1

Lions

Williams 19, Liggins 14, Parker 11, Robinson 10, Ware 6, Taiwah 6, Akodo 3

Riders to play Cup Semi in Manchester

Following consultation with the BBL, the four BBL Cup Semi-Finalists have come to an agreement to amend the format for the BBL Cup Semi-Finals due to fixture pressures due to COVID-19 implications.

The changes are:

  • Moving from two-legs to single-leg.
  • Playing both games in one central venue
  • Playing both games on the same day

Therefore the BBL Cup Semi-Finals have been agreed as follows:

Date: Tuesday 12 January 2021
Venue: National Basketball Performance Centre, Manchester

Game 1: Leicester Riders v Newcastle Eagles – 5:00pm
Game 2: London Lions v Manchester Giants – 8:00pm

Both games will be broadcast live via BBL Player.

BBL Statement: Postponements

Surrey Scorchers BBL Championship fixtures against Worcester Wolves (28 December), London Lions (1 January) and Leicester Riders (3 January) have been postponed due to self-isolation requirements following a player testing positive for Covid-19. Under the Covid-19 rule amendments, these fixtures will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

With an abundance of caution, the game between Leicester Riders and Bristol Flyers scheduled for 23 December has also been postponed and will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

For fans who have purchased a pass from BBL Player please contact [email protected]

Preview: Riders v Flyers

Season So Far – Riders

This is the second of back to back games against the Flyers for the Riders, after an 85-73 win on Friday evening at the Morningside Arena. The win protected their undefeated BBL Championship record, as they moved to 3-0. The Riders are the only undefeated team remaining, sitting top of the table with a game in hand on the four teams below. They have the best defensive record in the league and are the only team holding their opponents to under 70 points on average. The 73 points they gave up to the Flyers in their most recent game was the most they have given up in the Championship this season, however, Geno Crandall’s 19 points, eight assists and five rebounds were enough for Leicester to take the win. 

Season So Far – Flyers

After finishing eighth in the table at the cancellation of the 2019/20 season, Bristol currently sit midtable in the BBL Championship, splitting their first six games 3-3. After their loss to the Riders, the Flyers won their most recent game 79-99 away to the Surrey Scorchers. They dominated the glass in typical fashion, outrebounding the Scorchers 44-24. Bristol has owned the offensive glass to start the season. They pull down 26% of offensive rebounds a game, resulting in an abundance of second-chance points for their big men. The Flyers have three who average more than seven rebounds a game, and four players who grab at least one offensive rebound a game, the Riders will have their hands full to keep Bristol off the glass. 

Ones To Watch 

In the Riders’ previous game, Geno Crandall took control from the point. He displayed his whole offensive arsenal throughout the game, acting as a floor general to dish out eight assists, and using his handles and quickness to attack the hoop. Crandall had 19 points in the game, nine of which came from the foul line as he shot 90%. The 6’3” point guard, who scored 14 points a game in his year at Gonzaga, is averaging 10 points and five assists in his debut BBL season, after averaging 14 points and six assists in his Cup campaign so far. 

Daniel Edozie’s incredible life-story, which includes being homeless at the age of just 12 on the streets of Los Angeles, has led him to his sixth season in the BBL with the Bristol Flyers. London-born Edozie put himself through college, getting an athletic scholarship to play in the  NCAA for Iowa State, with the help of his foster mother. After graduating, Edozie flew back to his home country, to begin his six-year stint with the Flyers. He is averaging nine points and seven rebounds on the year so far. The 6’8” big man is capable of highlight plays on both ends, using his athleticism to throw down huge dunks and swat away shots. Edozie uses his frame down low to come up with rebounds at a high rate also. 

Previous Meeting

The Riders beat the Flyers in their most recent game, winning 85-73. Leicester shot 38% from three in the game, compared to Bristol’s 27%, which was ultimately the difference between the two teams. Corey Johnson, who shot 37% from three at Havard College, led the way from deep for the Riders, draining three from nine shots. Meanwhile, Marcus Delpeche continued his successful start to the season in which he is averaging 19.6 points and eight rebounds, with 19 points and nine rebounds. 

How To Watch

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game by  purchasing a pass from BBL Player. Riders Season Ticket Holders will be able to access the game for FREE by logging into their BBL Player account.

Riders defeat Flyers to move to 3-0 in the BBL Championship

Leicester Riders stay undefeated in the BBL Championship, with a solid 85-73 win over Bristol Flyers at the Morningside Arena. The Riders dominated the first quarter, and then held off multiple efforts at a comeback by the Flyers, who never got Riders lead down to single figures for the rest of the game, played before the Sky TV cameras. Riders American point guard Geno Crandall was man of the match in a mesmerising performance of ball handling under pressure, faced by a Flyers backcourt of two GB Internationals, Ben Mockford and Teddy Okerafor.

Bristol started the game impressively scoring twice inside, carving Riders offence open rather too easily. But Crandall hit a jumper and then assisted on a Darien Nelson-Henry dunk. Mockford hit a very long three, but that was quickly countered by one by William Lee, and that was the last time the visitors led, as Riders went on a tear. Corey Johnson hit a three, which was followed by one from Zach Jackson, and a breakaway dunk by Lee forced Bristol to an early timeout, trailing 17-7. Straight out of the break, Riders forced Bristol to a shot clock violation, and then Nelson-Henry and Lee scored inside, followed by another Johnson three. Jamell Anderson came off the bench, upping Riders defensive intensity even further, and he joined in the fun with a three, as Riders dominated the first quarter 34-19.

Crandall piled on the misery early in the second period with a step back three and then Aaron Falzon hit another, as Riders racked up 10 three pointers in the first half from just 15 attempts. A beautiful pass from Johnson found Nelson-Henry open for an easy score and Riders lead ballooned to 48-27 midway through the second quarter, their biggest of the game. Raphael Thomas-Edwards then made a couple of exceptional plays at both ends of the court for Bristol, and by half-time the Flyers had whittled down the Riders lead to 56-40.

Both defences tightened up considerably in the third quarter and with the defences on top both teams found it hard to score. Marcus Delpeche was causing Riders plenty of problems when he got the ball near the basket, but Nelson-Henry hit an extraordinary three under pressure at the end of the shot clock, to keep Riders on top. Zach Jackson hit a three in an otherwise relatively subdued performance, and Riders lead was still 70-54 with a quarter left.

The teams continued trade baskets early in the fourth quarter with Lee picking up a couple of scores off offensive rebounds to keep Riders lead in double figures. As the clock ran down Crandall performed his magic drawing multiple fouls near the end of the shot clock, which he then converted from the free throw line. If he was not being fouled, Crandall found Nelson-Henry with space underneath the basket, and that was good enough to snuff out any attempted Bristol recovery.

Crandall finished with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists, also converting 9 of 10 free throws to stifle the Bristol comeback. Nelson-Heney was once again very efficient with 15 points on 87% shooting, and added 6 rebounds and 3 assists.William Lee also impressed with 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists, but it was Riders 12 three pointers at 38% shooting to just five by Bristol at 27% conversion rate, which proved the difference between the teams.

Riders

Crandall 19, Nelson-Henry 15, Lee 14, Johnson 13, Jackson 8, Anderson 5, Falzon 4, Fraser 4, Washington 3

Flyers

Delpeche 19, Lockett 15, Thomas-Edwards 12, Copeland 8, Mockford 6, Okerafor 5, Edozie 4, Rogers 4

Riders to face Eagles

Riders have been drawn to face Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Cup Semi Final over two legs.

The draw, made live on Sky Sports during the half-time break in Riders win over Bristol Flyers, also saw London Lions match up with Manchester Giants.

The exact dates are still to be confirmed but will be played at the start of January.

Preview: Riders v Flyers

Season so far – Riders

The Riders have enjoyed a great start to their BBL Championship campaign, winning their first two games by double digits. Leicester’s defence has been their greatest strength, giving up just 68 points per game, the best defensive record in the league. This defence was on full display in their most recent BBL Championship fixture against Sheffield Sharks. The Riders held the Sharks, who were averaging 91 points a game going into the tie, to just 64 points as they shot 40% from the field. William Lee led the team with his three steals, nine rebounds and a block in the game, and led the team offensively with 17 points also. 

Season so far – Flyers

After a successful season in 2019/20, reaching their first BBL Cup final in franchise history, the Flyers began the 2020/21 season 0-2 before playing a single game. With four players testing positive for Covid-19, Bristol were unable to field a team for 14 days, meaning their first two BBL Cup fixtures were forfeited. Despite this, the Flyers still qualified for the knockouts in dramatic fashion, beating the Worcester Wolves in their final group game to finish ahead of them on points difference. However, in their most recent game, the Flyers were knocked out of the Cup by the Newcastle Eagles, losing 72-64. In the BBL Championship, the Flyers split their 4 games and currently sit with a 2-2 record.

Ones to watch

Darien Nelson-Henry has been an interior force to start the season, averaging 14 points and 7.5 rebounds across the two BBL Championship games. The American big-man, who led Pennsylvania in points, rebounds and blocks in his senior year in college, sets hard screens in the pick and roll to get open drives to the rim. He has been also been successful working down in the post, which has opened up space for the Riders’ shooters. In Leicester’s last BBL Championship fixture, Nelson-Henry dished out five assists, kicking the ball out after being double-teamed down low. 

After averaging 10 points a game for the Flyers last season, Marcus Delpeche appears to have taken a big leap forward this year. In the BBL Championship, Delpeche is averaging 19.8 points and 7.8 rebounds, leading his team in both categories. He is a freight train when driving to the hoop coming off the pick and roll; capable of throwing down monster dunks over anyone in the league. Delpeche shoots the ball efficiently, 63% from the field this season, and the 6’7’’ forward uses his frame effectively to box out opponents and pull down rebounds at a high rate.

Previous Meeting 

It was Bristol who took the victory the last time the Riders faced the Flyers in the 2019/20 season, in a well-fought contest. It was a one-possession game with a minute left on the clock, and Eric Lockett made a free-throw in the final 10 seconds to put the Flyers up by four. Corey Johnson couldn’t make his three with four seconds left to make it close, ending the game. Darien Nelson-Henry was big on the glass for Leicester in the game. He had seven rebounds to go along with his 12 points, which came from just eight shots. Lockett was a big contributor for Bristol, putting up 16 points and six rebounds. 

How To Watch

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game by either tuning into Sky Sports Mix from 7pm or alternitavely purchasing a pass from BBL Player. Riders Season Ticket Holders will be able to access the game for FREE by logging into their BBL Player account.

Riders blow out Rocks to reach the BBL Cup Semi Finals

Leicester Riders made light work of Glasgow Rocks in the quarter-finals of the BBL Cup, coasting to a 93-59 victory at the Morningside Arena. The Riders led from start to finish, and had a massive 48 point lead early in the fourth quarter, before the Rocks made a modest recovery in the final seven minutes of the game. 

Riders will now go into the hat for the draw for the Cup semi-finals, where they could draw London Lions and Newcastle Eagles from the group of death, who also progressed, along with Manchester Giants.

Riders raced to an early 9-2 lead after three minutes, with a superb pass from captain Darien Nelson-Henry setting up William Lee for a huge dunk, and the Rocks were immediately on the back foot. Their experienced player-coach GB International Gareth Murray started the game, after starring in their upset win at Plymouth last Sunday, but he could do little to stem the tide against intense defence from the Riders. A Jamell Anderson three, followed by good work inside by former Rock Ali Fraser, and Lee again with a dunk, gave Riders a 20-10 lead. With the first period gone, Murray left the game for good, to concentrate on coaching, having failed to score in four attempts.

Fraser caught fire early in the second period, as he found his way to the basket three times in succession with his trademark baby hook shots, and Riders other recent signing Aaron Falzon also responded with 5 points in a row,  to push Riders lead out to a commanding 29-12. Corey Johnson, who has had a quiet last few games shooting – wise, then hit 2 three pointers in a row to break the game open 39-18 midway through the second period. Johnson rounded off the first half with yet another three, to take Riders to the locker-room up 51-26 at half-time.

Riders were a little slow starting the second half but 2 unsportsmanlike fouls on the Rocks were evidence of their increasing frustration. Another huge Lee dunk got Riders 60-33 up, and more fine work by Falzon had Riders 76-41 clear at the third quarter break. Crandall was starting to weave his magic in the paint, and found Lee open again for another monster dunk.

Riders opened the fourth quarter with successive three pointers from Johnson, twice, and Conner Washington, forcing the Rocks to a time-out. From then on Riders gave minutes to some of their pathway players as the teams traded baskets in the closing minutes of the game.

Johnson finished up the top scorer in the game with 20 points, which included 6 three pointers, but he also grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 3 assists, while playing excellent defence on the relatively inexperienced Glasgow guards.

The remaining points were spread amongst another eight Riders, with Nelson-Henry again very solid with 15 points and 6 rebounds in just over 17 minutes of play, including 6 from 6 shooting from the floor. Conner Washington ran the point once again with efficiency, dishing out 11 assists, and he added 7 points. 

But it was Riders defence that made the difference holding the Rocks to just 42% from the floor, whilst out-rebounding the Scots 37-28, and they moved the ball as a team extremely, well with 30 assists, 13 more than the Rocks managed.

Riders

Johnson 20, Nelson-Henry 15, Falzon 11, Lee 11, Fraser 8, Crandall 8, Anderson 7, Washington 7, Jackson 6, Ndoukou, Jimenez, Hedley

Rocks

Jacdonmi 17, Brandon 14, Van Sauers 11, Bunyan 5, Mpondo 5, Mortimer 3, Kwedi 2, Harte 2, Malcolm, Murray

The Riders are next in action on Friday evening when they take on the Bristol Flyers in the BBL Championship, a game that will mark the Riders first appearance on Sky Sports this season.

Preview: Riders v Rocks

Leicester Riders vs Glasgow Rocks 

Competition: BBL Cup Quarter Final

Venue: Morningside Arena

 Tip-off: 8:00 PM

Season so far – Riders

The Riders qualified for the BBL Cup Quarter Finals with a game to spare. Leicester won three games on the bounce despite losing their first game to the Eagles 106-96 in a tightly contested game. They split the series between each team, finishing the group with a 3-3 record. This was enough to earn them the second seed in the group dubbed ‘the group of death’. In the BBL Championship, the Riders got off to a flying start, winning consecutive games by double digits to start 2-0. Their most recent game, a 74-64 win against the Sheffield Sharks has taken their record to 2-0.

Season so far – Rocks

The 2020/21 season marks the beginning of a new ear for the Glasgow Rocks you are now being led by Gareth Murray as player/coach following the departure of Vincent Lavandier. Murray has played for a total of 11 years over three stints for the Scottish club, averaging 10.7 points last season. Glasgow comfortably progressed through the group stage of the BBL Cup, with a 3-1 record. They started their season with back to back wins, including a 30 point blowout against the Cheshire Phoenix. They did lose their third game to the Manchester Giants, but bounced back to beat the Giants in their final group game. Glasgow lost their first two games of the BBL Championship, the second to the Bristol Flyers by over 40 points. They responded in their most recent game, a narrow 63-61 overtime win to the Plymouth Raiders.

Ones to watch

William Lee has been an interior force in the group stage of the competition, leading the Riders in rebounds and blocks. The 6’9” big man is the all-time leading shot-blocker at his hometown college, the University of Alabama, winning the conference defensive player of the year twice. His defensive talents have translated fluently in his first BBL season. Lee averaged 1.6 blocks a game in the group and performed efficiently on offence, shooting 51% from the field on his way to 13.5 points a game. Lee led the team in points, rebounds, steals and blocks in their last game, a BBL Championship tie against the Sheffield Sharks. Lee scored 17 points and grabbed himself nine rebounds in a near double-double performance, in which he played his usual elite brand of defence, blocking a shot and stealing the ball three times.  

Julius Van Sauers played a significant role in getting the Rocks through the group stage. The Dutch big man is coming off the back of a BBL Cup winning rookie season with the Worcester Wolves, and this season averaged 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists through the group stage. Van Sauers was part of the Dutch team that qualified for the Eurobasket tournament for the first time in 25 years after spending four years at Long Island University. 

Previous meeting

The Riders and Rocks are yet to meet this term, the last time the Riders came up against the Rocks, it came down to the last play of the game. The score was 68-71 in favour of Glasgow with just five seconds on the clock. Leicester got a wide-open three off a give and go from the inbound, but the shot was missed and tipped in by Jamal Anderson, resulting in the Rocks taking the victory 71-70. Riders’ recent signing, Ali Fraser, was wearing Glasgow colours in this one. He led the opposition in scoring with 17 points, along with nine rebounds and six assists.  Fraser blocked Anderson’s game-tying three attempt with six seconds to go, a defensive play which ended up winning the game for the Rocks. 

How To Watch

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game by purchasing a pass from the brand new BBL Player, CLICK HERE to purchase your pass. Riders Season Ticket Holders will be able to access the game for FREE by logging into BBL Player.

Riders defeat Sharks in a hard fought contest

Leicester Riders won a tense game against the Sheffield Sharks to maintain their unbeaten start to the BBL Championship, in a tight, defensive affair at the Morningside Arena, 74-64. The teams were playing for the second time in 5 days, and for the fourth time in this young season, and with both sides very familiar with their opponents’ strengths, they tended to cancel each other out over the first three quarters, before Riders finally took control in the final period to take the win.

It was the Sharks that started the better, with a driving lay-up from the impressive new signing Jeremy Hemsley, and a dunk from Kipper Nichols, helping the visitors to an early 6-2 lead. Riders were a little tentative on offence, and a couple of sloppy cross-court passes were turned over by the Sharks, and converted into breakaway scores. Darien Nelson-Henry was keeping Riders in the game in a low scoring affair, and after six minutes the scores were level on just 8 points apiece. Conner Washington came off the bench to hit 5 points in a row for Riders, and Nichols responded with 7 points in succession for the Sharks, to leave the teams at parity after ten minutes, at 17-17.

It was a grind out affair in the second period as tough defence limited scoring opportunities, and then 7 points in a row from Sheffield, capped by a Nick Lewis three pointer, pushed the Sharks lead to 27-21, forcing Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro to a time-out. Half way through the second period the Sharks led 31-25, but then it was Riders defence that turned the screws, and fine play from Geno Crandall who was closely marked by the Sharks throughout, and a turnaround jump shot by Zach Jackson had Riders back in it, trailing just 35-32 at half time.

The game stayed close, with the Sharks ahead 44-41 with six and a half minutes gone in the third quarter, but Riders then turned the tide. A William Lee lay-up was quickly followed by one from Jackson, Corey Johnson scored 5 points in a row, and Riders finally had some breathing space, leading 50-44. The Sharks would not lie down, Nick Lewis responding with a three pointer, and the game was still in the balance after three quarters, Leicester leading 54-50.

The start of the final period proved decisive, as a Washington three pointer was quickly followed by one from new boy Aaron Falzon, and with Riders then pressuring the Sharks to a shot clock violation, and the visitors were forced to a timeout.

Riders were racking up the fouls, and 4 free throws in a row from the Sharks closed the gap, but a Lee dunk followed by a powerful inside hook shot from Nelson-Henry followed by a three from Lee, got Riders lead back to ten points, with four minutes left. From then on it was just a matter of managing the clock and Riders came out with the hard fought, but deserved win.

Lee was the star man for the Riders, hitting six of eight shots on the way to 17 points, highlighted by a couple of ferocious dunks, along with 9 rebounds, including a couple of crucial ones in the fourth quarter, along with 2 assists, 3 steals and a block.

Captain Nelson-Henry was his solid self with 13 points and 7 rebounds and an eye-catching 5 assists, while Conner Washington also scored 13 points, including 2 three pointers and 4 assists, guiding Riders home in the tense fourth quarter.

Preview: Riders v Sharks

Leicester Riders vs B. Braun Sheffield Sharks

Competition: BBL Championship

Venue: Morningside Arena 

Tip-off: 8:00 PM

Season so far- Riders

The Riders started their season strongly, by securing qualification to the knockout stages of the BBL Cup. Three consecutive wins were enough to achieve this, as they beat each of the teams in their group; an impressive run of games coming after a narrow 96-102 loss in their first match to the Eagles. Their most convincing win came against their opponent for the upcoming tie, defeating the Sharks by over 20 points. The group stage wasn’t without its difficulties for Leicester however, as they split the group series against each of the teams in the ‘group of death’. The Riders also got off to a winning start in the BBL Championship last weekend, beating the Surrey Scorchers 84-72 behind 16 points from Jamell Anderson.

Season so far- Sharks

Despite beating the London Lions 70-61 in their first game, Sheffield’s win in their most recent match against the Riders was only a consolation, as they found themselves eliminated from the competition already. This came after losing their next four games, all by double digits, in a highly competitive group. The Sharks fell short in their first game of the BBL Championship, losing to the Cheshire Phoenix 92-82, however, they bounced back in their next game, torching the Scorchers 105-61.

Ones to watch

In the group stage of the BBL Cup, Corey Johnson shot the lights out. Johnson hit 45% of his threes, and against the Lions went four for five from deep, resulting in 17 points. If Johnson continues his hot streak on Friday night then the Sheffield defence may well be in for a long night, as they were the last time he faced the Sharks. Johnson was four for eight from deep in that game, and led the Riders on scoring with 20. 

The Sharks recently signed Jeremy Hensley, after the departure of Mackay McKnight. Hensley shone on his debut, dropping 21 points and getting six assists, leading his team in both categories, before following the game up with another 21 point performance. The 6’3” guard was ranked 63 in ESPN’s top 100 high school athletes when he graduated and went on to play for Division 1 San Diego State University in college. Hensley uses his electric speed and tricky handles to get to the rim with ease and can make acrobatic lay-ups at a high rate this is something the Riders will have to do their best to contain on Friday Night.

Previous meeting

The Riders last faced the Sharks earlier in the week, in a game with little consequence. With home court in the second round already secured for Leicester, and Sheffield out of the competition, the Riders gave game time to some of their young talent. New signings Ali Fraser and Aaron Falzon saw the court too, Falzon leading the team in scoring with 16 points. The two teams also met earlier in the group stage. The Riders led wire to wire and had established a significant lead by halftime. They never looked back, winning the game 85-64. It was Corey Johnson’s 20 points that led the Riders to victory in the fixture.

How To Watch

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game by purchasing a pass from the brand new BBL Player, CLICK HERE to purchase your pass. Riders Season Ticket Holders will be able to access the game for FREE, an email will be sent to you from BBL Player instructing you on how to gain access.

Levenston elected to BE board

Riders Managing Director, Russell Levenston, has been elected to the board of Basketball England.

Russell has been with the Riders since 2007, transforming the club both on and off the court. He has been integral in developing the Riders player pathway from Charnwood College through Loughborough University and the senior teams. Having also spent 13 years at Milton Keynes Lions/Hemel Royals as a volunteer then later as a general manager, Levenston has vast experience in the basketball community.

Elected Directors are from within our sport and are appointed through an election process in which BE voting members can vote for their preferred candidate.

Levenston has been appointed an Elected Director for an initial term of three years.

A huge congratulations Russell, from everyone at Leicester Riders, Loughborough Basketball, and Charnwood College.

Riders team up with Glencar for Sky Sports game

Britain’s oldest BBL franchise, Leicester Riders, has partnered with Glencar Construction for the upcoming Sky Sports game against Bristol Flyers on Friday 18th December (7.30pm tip). 

The game will be the first time the reigning Playoff champions have featured on Sky Sports since coverage got underway last week. The club are delighted to welcome Glencar Construction to the Riders family as an official game night sponsor for the first game on the channel.

“The Leicester Riders young player pathway and community development programme has contributed massively, not only to the success of the team on the court, but also off the court in terms of providing young people with opportunities to grow, develop and be part of a success story,” commented Glencar Managing Director Eddie McGillycuddy.

“Basketball is an integral part of community sport and actually one of most played sports in the U.K. amongst young people. Glencar are very happy to partner with one of The British Basketball League’s leading teams who share our core values in investing in young people, education and community development.”

Glencar Construction is a contractor specialising in the creation of high quality turnkey facilities in partnership with some of the UK’s leading developers, occupiers, retailers and logistics businesses.

“We are extremely excited to be working alongside a company such as Glencar which clearly shares our core values and sense of community,” said Leicester Riders’ Managing Director Russell Levenston.

“Like with our recent success on court it’s a chance for us to help celebrate Glencar’s recent successes off court, after being awarded top spot in the annual Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 league table.”

Riders have made a great start to the 2020-21 season having qualified for the BBL Cup quarter final against Glasgow Rocks and opened their league campaign with a victory over Surrey Scorchers.

Jamell Anderson, who was a standout versus Surrey added: “Leicester is a club that’s synonymous with leading the way in British Basketball as well as its work in local community so the partnership with Glencar is a great fit.

“Everyone is looking forward to playing back in front of the Sky Sports cameras.”

Sky Sports have also confirmed that Leicester will also feature on the channel on Friday 26 February when they host Worcester Wolves.

Quarter Final date announced

Leicester Riders will host Glasgow Rocks on Wednesday 16 December 2020 (8pm tip) in the quarter final of the BBL Cup.

Riders wrapped up their group phase on Monday night having already secured their spot in the quarter finals.

The game will be available to watch on BBL Player.

Youthful Riders fall to Sharks in the BBL Cup

A very young Leicester Riders team made a full strength Sheffield Sharks work hard to pick up their second victory in the qualifying stages of BBL Cup, with an 87-61 win at the Morningside Arena. Only new signings Ali Fraser and Aaron Falzon played from Riders regular senior side, in a match that had little significance, since Sheffield were already out of the competition, and Riders were assured of a home tie in the quarter-finals.

Riders will now play Glasgow Rocks in the next round, on Wednesday 16th December (8pm) at the Morningside Arena. The quarter-finals are played over a single leg. Newcastle finished up topping Riders group, and will play Bristol Flyers at home. The other quarter-finals see match-ups between Plymouth Raiders and London Lions, and Manchester Giants against Surrey Scorchers.

Riders started the game positively with Scottish International Fraser hitting an early 5 points to give the home side a 5-2 lead. Sheffield came roaring back, courtesy of their new signing Jeremy Hemsley, who looks a very good addition to the team at the point guard position. The Sharks raced into a 13-7 lead with an 11 to 2 run, but young Riders prospect Kyle Jimenez stopped the rot with a three pointer, and he handled the ball very well against the experience Sheffield guards, turning the ball over just once, while dishing out 6 assists. Hemsley and veteran Sheffield forward Mick Tuck hit consecutive threes, and Tuck finished that off with a three point play to push Sheffield 24-14 clear at the first quarter break. 

Young Leicester guard Joe Bielak responded with a three to open the second period, and Jimenez hit another, and after three minutes of the second quarter the Sharks lead was 30-20. Powerful forward Victor Ndoukou was showing his strength inside for the Riders, and he hit 7 points in two minutes to keep Riders in touch, trailing 42-27. At half-time Sheffield had a deserved 48-31 lead.

The third quarter-final was a shoot-out, as both teams started to find their range from beyond the arc. Ndoukou hit another superb three under pressure from the corner, but former Rider Johde Campbell, looking very impressive in extended minutes for the Sharks, hit back with a three, which was matched by Falzon. Campbell hit another and Falzon, now finding his range, yet another, followed by a three point play. Riders edged the third quarter 21-19, and they closed the gap to 67-52 with ten minutes left. 

With these two teams matching up again in the BBL Championship at the same venue this Friday evening, Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro limited Fraser and Falzon’s minutes, and Riders went very young in the final period, as Sharks pulled clear. Jimenez continued to impress and he hit his third three from 6 attempts, as Sharks won the final period 20-9.

Ndoukou looked comfortable in this company, finishing with 14 points, 8 rebounds along with 3 assists, on 55% shooting. Falzon got some good minutes leading the scoring for Riders with 16 points, including 3 three pointers, and added 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Scorers

Riders

Falzon 16, Ndoukou 14, Jimenez 9, Fraser 7, Hayden 5, Bielak 5, Jordan 3, Gudza 2

Sharks

Lillard 19, Hemsley 16, Campbell 14, Lewis 13, Baldwin 8, Koch 6, Tuck 6, Nichols 3, Marsden 2

Riders victorious in BBL Championship opener

Leicester Riders started their BBL Championship season with a solid win 84-72 on the road at Surrey Scorchers. The win was even more impressive as Riders had two of their players fouled out, Geno Crandall and Scottish International Ali Fraser on his debut, as Leicester racked up 25 fouls, the most in a match in four seasons. It was Riders 26th win in their last 27 games at Surrey, the other being a draw in the first leg of a playoff series. It was also the tenth season in a row that Riders have won their league opener.

Both teams got off to a slow start, with the big men Darien Nelson-Henry and the Scorchers Ryan Richards trading baskets, as Riders built a 6-2 lead after two and a half minutes. Geno Crandall was controlling the game for the Riders, and he sparked another run with a three pointer, and a layup from William Lee put Riders 13-4 up. The home side were feeling the pressure of Riders tight defence, and a Conner Washington three from a long way out pushed Riders 21-12 up. Richards helped the Scorchers pull back, with a couple of big rebounds, and at the first quarter break Riders led 21-14.

Both sides were tentative to start the second quarter, and with Surrey turning the ball over regularly, Riders were failing to capitalise and a Conner Cashew long range shot kept Surrey close 25-19 down. Zach Jackson hit a couple of fine turn-around jump shots and twice Crandall penetrated the Surrey defence to draw fouls, converting 2 of 4. But a no-look pass from him found Jamell Anderson wide open for a dunk, and then Riders has three breakaways in a row off Surrey turnovers, and at halftime Riders were good value for a 46-28 lead.

The Scorchers came back in the third quarter mainly from the free throw line, as their aggressive play on offence led to a succession of trips to the free throw line, particularly for their captain Tayo Ogedengbe. A three from Ogedengbe pulled the Scorchers to within 55-43, but Jackson and Washington hit successive threes, and Riders were looking comfortable with a 63-50 lead with a quarter left.

Surrey came roaring back at the start of the final period, and Riders were rocking when Crandall picked up an unlikely technical foul to exit the game, with Riders lead down to 66-58 with eight minutes left. But a Washington jump shop steadied the ship, Nelson-Henry made a tough basket inside, and then a cutting Anderson completed a huge three point play that took the air out of the Scorchers comeback, as Riders lead ballooned back to 14. Washington was reliable from the free throw line as Surrey sought to pressurise the visitors, and a William Lee dunk put an exclamation mark on the win.

Once again Riders spread the scoring with six players in double figure points. The leader was Anderson off the bench with 16 points, on 7 from 8 shooting, along with 4 rebounds. Captain Nelson-Henry was his efficient self with 15 points and 8 rebounds, while Zach Jackson contributed 15 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. On a court where he scored 10 three pointers last season, Corey Johnson had a night to forget, failing to score on 11 attempts, and Fraser failed to score or get a rebound in 8 minutes play before fouling out. The other debutant for Riders Aaron Falzon was solid, with 3 points and 3 rebounds in eight and a half minutes. 

Scorchers

Ogedengbe 17, McLemore 11, Cashew 10, Cook 8, Walshe 7, White 6, Raftopoulos 6, Rickman 4, Richards 3,

Riders

Anderson 16, Jackson 15, Nelson-Henry 15, Washington 14, Crandall 11, Lee 10, Falzon 3,

Falzon is a Rider

Leicester Riders have added Aaron Falzon to their roster ahead of the start of the BBL league season opener in Surrey on Saturday.

Falzon, brother of former BBL player Tevin, joins Leicester having started this season in France with NM1 side Etoile Angers.

In college, Aaron spent four years at North Western before a final year transfer to Quinnipiac both schools in the NCAA D1. Falzon is also a Maltese international, and was part of the Gold winning side at the European Championship for Small Countries in San Marino two years ago.

“We’re excited to have Aaron”, explained Coach Paternostro. “When we lost the players through injuries we knew we needed to bolster the squad and when Aaron became available we jumped at the chance.”

“Aaron is another offensive weapon. A type of player that can stretch the defence and a guy that can put points on the board. He can really shoot the ball. We like what he brings to us. We think that his presence in the team will improve us.”

Falzon has been at the Riders this week and has received clearance to play in Saturday’s league opener versus Surrey Scorchers.

“I’m really excited to represent Leicester and the organisation,” commented Aaron.

“I’m really excited to get the opportunity to play in the BBL and to showcase my skills and style of play.”

“I can’t wait to get started tomorrow evening against Surrey.”

You can watch Aaron’s debut tonight at 6pm, free on bblplayer.co.uk.

Preview: Riders at Scorchers

Surrey Scorchers vs Leicester Riders

Competition: BBL Championship

Venue: Surrey Sports Park

Tip-off: 6:00 PM

Season so far- Riders

Despite a tough 98-89 loss on the road to the London Lions in their previous fixture, the Riders are sitting pretty at the top of the group of death in the BBL Cup. Geno Crandall led the scoring in the game and has enjoyed a prolific start to his first season in Leicester. Crandall has brought flair and finesse to the Riders backcourt, creating opportunities off the dribble to leave the opposing defence scrambling. He and Connor Washington, whose play so far this season has earned him a place in the GB squad, have shared the backcourt for stretches in games and worked in tandem nicely. 

Season so far- Scorchers

When the league was cancelled during the 2019/20 season, Surrey had conceded the most points of any team in the BBL. Since then, they have made several good signings during the offseason to improve their roster. These signings include ex-Rider Rashad Hassan, who led the league in scoring two years ago, and Martelle Mclemore, who returns to the franchise after averaging nearly 22 points last season with the Thames Valley Cavaliers in the NBL. The Scorchers have earned a spot in the BBL Cup Quarter Finals after finishing second in their group with a 3-3 record. Finding consistency has been the biggest challenge for the Scorchers so far this season who will be looking to make a positive start to their BBL Championship campaign on Saturday Night.

Ones to Watch

Since their last game, the Riders have announced the signing of Ali Fraser, who left French side Avignon after the Covid-19 pandemic put their season at risk. The 6’7’’ forward comes into the roster to fill the hole in the front-court left by the season-ending injuries to Raheem May-Thompson and Mo Walker. Fraser is an exciting prospect for Leicester after he averaged 16.3 points and 8.1 assists for the Rocks last season, helping them to the best record in the BBL. 

Tayo Ogedengbe has led by example early in the season for the Scorchers averaging 13.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.  Tayo has returned to play in his sixth season for Surrey, after averaging 16 points last year. He has a complete offensive arsenal, with his ability to score in a multitude of ways. Tayo can get it done from the mid-range, with a go-to move of his being a turn-around jump shot from the post. He is a crafty player in the paint, using pump fakes to get open looks, and can throw it down too. Tayo can also step outside and shoot the three, making him a dangerous opponent on all three levels.

Previous Meeting

The Riders and the Scorchers last met in the 2019/2 season in a closely contested game that came down to the last few plays. Leicester outscored Surrey by six in the final quarter and took the lead with just seconds to go. The Scorchers couldn’t make the game-winning basket, and the Riders won the game 99-96. Corey Johnson torched Surrey in this one, nailing nine three-pointers in his 32 point effort. Meanwhile, Lovell cook and Tayo Ogedengbe performed well for Surrey, dropping 27 and 20 points respectively. 

Both teams will look for a good performance in this one, as they look to kick off the new BBL Championship season with a winning start. 

How To Watch

Fans can watch the Riders take on the Scorchers for FREE on the brand new BBL Player, CLICK HERE to register!

LIVE stream on BBL Player

As you may have seen this past week the BBL Player was launched by the BBL, a central platform to watch BBL games.

This weekend all games on the platform will be FREE for registered users – bblplayer.co.uk.

Registration is free and there’s no commitment to purchase after this weekend if you don’t want to.

After feedback, the BBL has restructured the pricing so from next week, the Monthly Game Pass covers ALL GAMES shown on the platform live and on-demand for £19.99 a month. If you do choose a subscription then you can pause or cancel at any time.

All money goes direct to the clubs. Riders fans can nominate this club to receive the monthly subscription payment or share equally to all eligible clubs.

Single game passes are also available for £4.99 to watch games live. The money from single-game passes goes directly to the home club.

Riders reign

As Saturday’s start to the 2020-21 league season draws upon us, we thought it’d be a great time to reflect on how the Riders have contended over the last few seasons.

Under Coach Rob Paternostro’s guidance, the side have had a 116-28 record in league play since 2015/16. An incredible statistic that is the best record in the BBL.

Since Rob’s arrival, Leicester have picked up 13 major trophies… including four league titles and four play-off wins. That includes the last three Play-off finals at the O2.

Of the current squad Conner Washington (10) and Jamell Anderson (7) have claimed the most silverware – Conner featuring in three of the four league titles and three of the four Playoff victories. Jamell has won both twice.

Fraser added to roster

Leicester Riders are pleased to announce the signing of Ali Fraser to this years’ roster.

Ali joins the Riders after spending the start of the season with NM1 side Avignon in France. But with the CoronaVirus pandemic putting the French season in doubt, Fraser opted to join Rob Paternostro’s side.

“I’m happy to have the opportunity to be back playing in the BBL again,” commented Ali. “I am looking forward to practicing with the team and getting the league season started. I have been following the games in the BBL Cup and can’t wait to get back on court.”

“Hopefully this team can continue to build on the success that has been seen over the years from this organisation.” 

The Great Britain Senior International arrives with a great reputation and will be familiar to the Riders faithful having spent three seasons in the BBL with Glasgow Rocks (2017-20).

“We are looking forward to working with Ali. He is a veteran player who has good experience and has proven himself in our league” commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro.

“I thought he was really good last season, he was always a tough guy to play against, he is strong, skilled and smart.”

“He is a big guy that can do a lot of productive things on the floor. He scores in different ways, rebounds on both ends, sets very good screens and has shown the ability to make plays with his passing.”

Fraser started his playing career at Falkirk Fury before heading to D1 with Maine in the NCAA. He returned to Europe post-college with spells in Germany and the Netherlands.

After representing Scotland at every age group, Fraser was part of the Scotland Commonwealth Games side that finished 4th in the Gold Coast last time out.

Ali is due to make his Riders debut in the first league game of the season against Surrey Scorchers on 5th December.

Conner Washington to represent GB in Eurobasket Qualifiers

Leicester Riders point guard Conner Washington has been called up by Great Britain for their rearranged EuroBasket games in France.

Washington was in the original 24 squad selected, and his recent performances has meant he has earned a slot on the plane.

Great Britain are in a qualifying group with France, Germany and Montenegro.

GB face FIBA sixth-ranked France and Montenegro (26th ranked) in the Pau ‘bubble’ in what were scheduled to be home games before Covid-19 played havoc with the sporting calendar.

GB play France on this Friday and Montenegro on this Sunday. Both games tip off at 17:00 GMT.

But despite being rated 42nd in the world, GB will go into the pair of qualifiers for the 2022 finals in confident mood.

All four nations in the group have a 1-1 record and GB go into the games coming off a strong win over Germany in Newcastle in February.

With Riders already shorthanded due to injuries, Washington’s selection means Leicester’s final North Group qualifying match in the BBL Cup against Sheffield Sharks will be rescheduled from this Friday to Tuesday 1st December at the Morningside Arena.

Scorchers first up!

The BBL today confirmed the remaining schedule for the 2020-21 season. Leicester Riders will face Surrey Scorchers in Guildford in the first league game of the new campaign on 5 December 2020.

Riders first home game will come in the shape of Sheffield Sharks on Friday 11 Dec, who also visit the Morningside to complete the BBL Cup group phase on 1 Dec.

The BBL Trophy First Round will take place the first week in February, with the knockout stages taking place thereafter before moving onto the Final with details to be announced.

The Championship will wrap up on the weekend of Friday 23 April, with the Play-Offs then commencing the week after and the season concludes with the Play-Off Final, details also to be announced.

The full game schedule can be found here.

Riders fall to Lions in the Capital

A short handed Leicester Riders fell short on Sunday afternoon 98-89 in a tough BBL Cup group qualifying match against the London Lions. Riders overcame a slow start to push the Lions all the way, but former NBA star Deandre Liggins proved the difference. However Leicester remain tied at the top of the North Group.

Leicester started the game tentatively, struggling to score the basketball, and turning the ball over uncharacteristically. With London needing a win to assure they progress in the Cup they jumped out quickly and fine interplay between two time MVP Justin Robinson and former Rider Chris Tawiah saw Lions into an early 11-3 lead, following consecutive mid-court turnovers by the Riders. Riders three point shooting has been excellent so far this season, but they managed just 1 from their first 6, and that single make was by Corey Johnson to stop the Lions momentum, with a minute left in the first quarter. But at the end of the first period the Lions were cruising 25-12.

Geno Crandall started the second quarter with a three point play, but, once again sparked by Robinson, the Lions went on a 9-nil run to build their largest lead of the game at 36-19. But Riders went with a smaller line-up, and a three point play by Johnson was followed by a Jamell Anderson triple. From then on, Riders dominated the second period, with Darien Nelson hitting a couple of baskets inside, and with fine play from Zach Jackson, they were back in the game, trailing just 45-40 at half-time, in spite of shooting 35% from the floor at that stage.

Riders started the second half with a 5 nil run that included a rare Crandall dunk. And the teams then traded blows with the scores tied on 53 four minutes in. Then former Cleveland Cavalier Liggins took over the game, and swung it decisively in London’s favour. He hit a driving layup, followed by a long three, then another three, following by a another driving lap-up, and Lions were suddenly 10 points clear at 63-53. A technical on the London bench stopped the rot, and then Crandall was switched onto marking Liggins and that slowed the momentum to cut the London lead to 71-67. But Liggins then hit a three, and a Robinson threw up a hail-mary three point shot on the buzzer, to put London up 77-67 with ten minutes left.

Riders kept plugging away in the final quarter, and a Zach Jackson three point play kept Riders within 7. But London got good shooting from Robinson and Kevin Ware and were eyeing the 21 point win Riders had achieved in the home leg, when Riders were forced to a timeout trailing 92-77 with four and a half minutes left. Three 3 pointers by Johnson in the final minutes ensured Rider maintained their points edge over the two legs, but Leicester couldn’t prevent the Lions from taking the win.

Riders again had 5 players in double figures, led by another double-double by William Lee with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Crandall looked very impressive with 18 points and 9 assists as well as some fine defence, while Darien Nelson Henry also managed a 16 points and 10 rebounds double-double.

Lions

Liggins 26, Williams 20, Robinson 19, Ware 11, Taiwah 9, Okoroh 8, Ikhinmwin 3, Lockhart 2

Riders

Crandall 18, Jackson 17, Johnson 17, Nelson-Henry 16, Lee 15, Anderson 3, Washington 3

The Riders return to action on Tuesday 1st December when they take on the Sheffield Sharks at the Morningside Arena in their final BBL Cup qualifying game.

Injury update: Walker & May-Thompson.

Leicester Riders can confirm today that they are likely to be without Mo Walker and Raheem May-Thompson for the remainder of the season.

Walker pulled up in the home fixture versus London Lions earlier this month and after scans revealed a hamstring tear, will see a specialist on Monday and undergo surgery this Tuesday. May-Thompson was injured in practice ahead of the season, rupturing his achilles, and is also due to see a specialist this week. 

“We expect both players to make a full recovery, but the timing of both makes it unlikely they will feature in this campaign,” commented Riders MD Russell Levenston. 

“We really feel for both Mo and Raheem – they are two talented players and great guys in the group.”

The club would like to wish both players a speedy recovery and give a special thanks to Spire Hospital Leicester for their continued support of the club. 

Preview: Riders at Lions

London Lions v Leicester Riders

Competition: BBL Cup

Date: Sunday 22nd November

Venue: Copper Box Arena, London

Tip-off: 2:30 PM

Season So Far – Riders

One week on from their impressive victory over the London Lions at the Morningside Arena and it’s the turn of the Leicester Riders to make the trip down south for the return fixture. The Riders have won their last three games on the bounce and will be looking to carry their momentum down to the Copper Box on Sunday. The Riders currently hold a 3-1 record in the North Group of the BBL Cup and are in a good position to make the quarter finals. 

Season So Far – Lions

The Lions had a tricky start to their BBL Cup campaign dropping their first two games to Newcastle and Sheffield. Since then, the Lions have somewhat found some form winning two of their last three games as they eye a spot in the BBL Cup Quarter Finals. At times the Lions star studded roster has looked to be lacking chemistry however, their 99-79 road win over the Newcastle Eagles on Friday Night was arguably their most impressive performance of the season.

Ones To Watch

American Forward William Lee has made an impressive start to his time with the Riders and is currently averaging 13.3 points and a team high 8.7 rebounds per game. Lee’s athleticism and length coupled with his ability to step out and shoot the ball from the outside make him one of the most versatile big men in the league. Lee has two double doubles in his last two outings and will be looking to carry this impressive form down to the capital on Sunday. 

Former NBA player DeAndre Liggins has been the standout player for the Lions so far this season. Liggins is averaging an impressive all action stat line of 20 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game which includes a season high 32 points against the Sheffield Sharks last weekend. The Riders held Liggins to a season low 14 points the last time the two teams met and will no doubt be looking to replicate that defensive performance on Sunday afternoon.

Previous Meeting

The Riders and Lions last met last Sunday is a one-sided affair at the Morningside Arena. The Riders led from tip to buzzer in an impressive display on both ends of the floor that saw them run out 97-76 winners. With a place in the BBL Cup Quarter finals on the line the Lions will be looking for a much improved performance on this occasion.

How To Watch 

The game will be available to watch for free via YouTube, CLICK HERE to tune in as the Riders and the Lions do battle in the BBL Cup!

Riders defeat Sharks to move to 3-1 in the BBL Cup

An undermanned Leicester Riders defeated the Sheffield Sharks away in the BBL Cup qualifying with a comprehensive 85-64 victory. The result improves Riders record to 3 and 1 in the North Group and puts them in a good position to qualify for the quarter-finals.

Leicester came out strong at the start, with sharpshooter Corey Johnson opening their account with a three pointer. A Zach Jackson three helped Riders to a 10-3 lead after three minutes, with a William Lee dunk off a Geno Crandall assist also catching the eye. Rob Marsden then scored four points in a row for the home side in a 5 nil Sharks run, before Darien Nelson-Henry and Lee combined well inside for a 18-10 Riders lead. Another Jackson three helped Riders to a 24-17 first quarter lead.

Crandall and Johnson picked up 2 fouls apiece in the second period which meant an extended period on the bench in an already depleted Riders team. But Conner Washington was an able deputy at the point guard position and his three pushed Riders 30-24 clear 3 minutes into the second period. Riders defence was causing Sharks to miss some close-in shots under pressure, and with Lee impressive and another Johnson three, Riders pushed their lead out to 40-26. Johnson hit another three in the final minute to give Riders a well deserved 45-31 lead at half-time.

Sheffield needed a strong start to the third quarter to get back into the game, and Nick Lewis obliged with a three, and then Marsden hit a couple of buckets in a row to cut the Riders lead to 49-38. But fine play from Lee and Johnson sparked a Riders revival and suddenly the Sharks scoring dried up. They were forced to a timeout with three minutes left in the quarter trailing 57-38. Another Jackson three pulled Riders further in front, and then there was a crucial blow against the Sharks when their star Antwon Lillard fouled out of the game, following a technical foul. Riders led 64-43 with ten minutes left.

Riders kept up the pressure in the fourth quarter with an eye to retain their lead, in case points’ difference came into deciding the tough North Group. But the Sharks were picking up the fouls and Washington was the main beneficiary, picking up his points from the free throw line. When Sheffield’s big man Bennett Koch also fouled out with 4 minutes left, the game was up. Corey Johnson hit another three and Jamell Anderson did the same, as Riders eased to a comfortable victory.

Once again Riders spread the scoring load, with five players in double figures. William Lee again caught the eye with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while his front court partner Nelson-Henry also had a double-double, with 14 points and ten rebounds. But it was Riders three point shooting prowess that provided the edge, as Riders made 10 from 24, with Johnson best with 4 from 8, as he top scored with 20 points. Washington also impressed with 15 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists.

Sheffield

Nichols 13, McKnight 12, Marsden 10, Lewis 9, Lillard 9, Koch 7, Tuck 3, Campbell 1

Leicester

Johnson 20, Washington 15, Nelson-Henry 14, Lee 13, Jackson 10, Crandall 8, Anderson 5

British Basketball to receive £4m from Govt

The British Basketball League is delighted with the support announced today for basketball by the Government. The Government has announced a rescue package of up to £4 million for basketball to address the impact of the absence of spectators because of coronavirus.  The bulk of that is targeted at the BBL and WBBL who have been hardest hit by the loss of spectators at games. 

BBL Chairman Sir Rodney Walker said, “We are very pleased with the announcement by the Minister for Sport, Nigel Huddleston MP, today. Our league was hit very hard last season by the Covid-19 pandemic, causing us to have to curtail the season, to the great disappointment of our Clubs, players and fans.” “DCMS did give us the confidence to start the 2020/21 season a few weeks ago, with a commitment of support, and we are particularly pleased with the level now confirmed.” 

“Our Clubs have worked extremely hard to mitigate the impact of loss of spectators at our events, and sadly that has included job losses.” 

“With no certainty of when spectators can return, the announcement today ensures we can now go forward with some confidence, and continue our competitions and our planning for when we can welcome fans back to games.” “It will also be very important to ensuring the Clubs’ vital community engagement programmes will be able to continue with confidence, giving the stability this provides overall to the clubs, their Foundations, and the sport in general.”


“Clearly recognising the sustained impact on our league and clubs, including the large seven figure loss we sustained last season, we are hopeful that the Government will ensure that a significant portion of funding will be via grants.”


Matt Neville, chair of Basketball England said: “This is fantastic news for the whole sport of basketball. Clubs are right at the heart of “This is fantastic news for the whole sport of basketball. Clubs are right at the heart of communities right across the country and have been suffering like many so others have during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“We welcome and are grateful for the financial assistance that the Government is providing and are sure it will be a massive boost for us and our top-level clubs, allowing them to continue to play this season and helping to protect jobs and livelihoods. “It will also help basketball carry on with the great work done to support their communities, many already suffering hardship, as we work through the challenges of the pandemic with this vital support.” 

Preview: Riders at Sharks

Sheffield Sharks v Leicester Riders

Competition: BBL Cup

Venue: Ponds Forge International Sports Centre, Sheffield

Tip-off: 6:00 PM

Season So Far – Riders

The Riders currently sit second in the group with a game in hand and are coming off the back of a resounding 97-76 victory against the London Lions on Sunday. William Lee will be looking to build off arguably his best performance of the season to date, in which he scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Lee played big minutes as a result of Mo Walker’s early injury and shone in the role. Geno Crandall, who has averaged 18.5 points in his last two games, will also hope to continue his good form after a dazzling display at point guard as the Riders look to build on their impressive display last weekend. 

Season So Far – Sharks

The Sharks have had a tough start to their cup campaign, they currently find themselves third in the group, after losing two of their three group games thus far. They will want to bounce back after their last game, a 97-87 loss to the Newcastle Eagles. The Eagles were up 75-55 going into the fourth quarter but a late fight back from the Sharks wasn’t enough to get the win on the road.

Ones To Watch

American Guard Geno Crandall has been electric in the Riders opening 3 games of the season and currently leads the Riders in scoring and assists with 16 points and 5.3 assists per game. Geno’s ability to get into the lane to both score and create for others is an important weapon for the Riders and is something that Sharks will have to do their best to contain if they are to be successful on Friday Evening.

Antwon Lillard has made a bright start to life in the BBL after arriving from Canada in the off season, the Sharks current leading scoring is averaging 20 points and 7 assists per game and is coming off the back of a 23 point performance against the Eagles. Lillard will no doubt be a man who the Riders will look to slow down on Friday Evening.

Previous Meeting

The last time two teams faced off was in this year’s preseason, and the Riders will hope for a different result this time around. They lost narrowly to Sheffield, 66-70, in a tight game at the Morningside Arena. Riders will want to settle the scores this time around.

How To Watch 

The game will be available to watch for free via YouTube, CLICK HERE to tune in as the Riders and the Sharks do battle in the BBL Cup!

Riders beat Lions in an impressive Home display

Leicester Riders completed a hugely successful second weekend of the new season, with a stunning 97-76 win over a powerful London Lions side at the Morningside Arena, after beating the Newcastle Eagles away on Friday night. Riders dominated the game from start to finish and have now improved their record to 2 and 1 in the North group of death in the BBL Cup.

Riders were clearly lifted by the win against the Eagles and came out in a determined mood. Geno Crandall set the mood early, mesmerising the Lions with his dribbling and a Crandall assist to William Lee, and fine play inside by Darien Nelson Henry had Riders 8-3 in front. The Lions offence by contrast was mis-firing and not even a three from ex-NBA star Deandre Liggins could get them going. Another jump shot from Crandall and a three pointer from Conner Washington pushed Riders 21-9 clear. Jamell Anderson added the icing on the cake with a typical three from the corner to give Riders a 26-11 first quarter lead.

Riders continued the relentless pressure in the second period, marred only by an injury to big man Mo Walker who limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury. Corey Johnson hit a long three to push Riders 33-14 clear, and although the Lions stepped up their defensive pressure, Riders maintained their composure and kept the score board ticking over. Crandall again penetrated the London defence at will, and hit a couple of ten foot jumpers. The Riders benefited from the Lions foul count, which was mounting up, and by half-time were well in control, leading 53-31.

Riders came out with determination in the second half and kept up the defensive pressure on London. Another Crandall three point play got Riders 61-36 clear, before Dirk Williams helped a mini comeback for the Lions with a three followed up by a quick jumper. But Riders were getting contributions from everywhere and another Washington three followed by a Lee dunk kept them well in front. Once again Riders delivered a killer blow with a three from Johnson on the third quarter buzzer to keep them 75-49 in front.

London mounted one final charge early in the fourth quarter, helped when Riders captain Nelson-Henry picked up his fourth foul. Ex-Sheffield star Williams hit another three, and his teammate Kevin Ware finally got untracked hitting a couple of long jump shots. When Riders were called for a technical with the Riders lead cut to 84-64 with six minutes left, it could have been a turning point. But Riders held their composure, Anderson hit a big three from the corner, and that took the steam out of any London comeback.

Once again Riders got contributions from all over, with 5 players in double figure points. Washington top scored with 20 points including 4 three pointers, and added 4 assists. His back court partner Crandall had another big game with 17 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. And big man Lee had his best game in a Riders shirt with 18 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists, shooting 53% from the floor. Johnson also had a welcome return to the score sheet with 17 points including 3 three pointers.

Leicester

Washington 20, Lee 18, Johnson 17, Crandall 17, Anderson 12, Nelson-Henry 8, Jackson 5

London

Williams 20, Liggins 14, Ware 14, Lockhart 11, Walker 7, Taiwah 5, Robinson 2, Bristol 2, Dang Akodo 1

Riders defeat Eagles on the road

Leicester Riders bounced back from their opening night defeat to Newcastle Eagles, with a dominant final quarter in the away match at the Eagles Community Arena, winning 88-82 in the BBL Cup Group stages. It was Eagles first defeat of the season. 

Once again the teams could barely be separated in the opening three quarters, but with Riders point guard Geno Crandall pulling the strings, Riders pulled away in the final quarter.

Riders had been burned in the last game by the Eagles experienced back court of Rahmon Fletcher and Cortez Edwards, but Riders made adjustments defensively, and held Edwards to just 8 points, all in the second half. 

Riders game plan was clearly to put pressure on the Eagles big men offensively, by pounding the ball inside, and their first three baskets were scored by Riders captain Darien Nelson-Henry. Former Notre Dame star Rex Pflueger responded with a three, to put Eagles 7-6 ahead, but Riders fired back with two three pointers from Conner Washington. Fine inside play by Mo Walker had the teams tied at the end of the first quarter on 20 points.

Walker continued to cause problems on the Eagles on the boards, and Crandall started to impose himself on the game, but the teams could hardly be separated, with a Zach Jackson 20 foot jumper taking Riders just clear, 30-27. Walker and William Lee combined for good play inside and by half-time Riders had edged in front 43-38.

The Eagles came back in the third quarter, as Edwards finally found some space, and they tied the scores on 53 points midway through the quarter. Successive threes by Justin Gordon and Pflueger gave Newcastle their biggest lead of the game at 59-55 with 4 minutes left in the third quarter, but back came the Riders, sparked by Washington, to close the gap to 62-61 with one quarter left, with Newcastle just in front.

Crandell hit a three early in the fourth quarter to spark a 21-11 Riders run that took the game away from the Eagles as the Riders matched the Eagles winning margin from their previous meeting taking the game by 6 points.

Crandall was Riders top scorer with 20 points, and dished out 4 assists, while William Lee was all action with 10 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. But most pleasing for Paternostro was that Riders had 6 players in double figure points.

Newcastle

Pflueger 21, Maxwell 15, Gordon 13, Fletcher 11, Edwards 8, Louis Sayers 6, Darius Defoe 4,

Leicester

Crandall 20, Jackson 19, Nelson-Henry 13, Washington 11, Walker 11, Lee 10, Anderson 4,

BBL returns to Sky Sports

The British Basketball League is delighted to announce the return of coverage of the BBL to Sky Sports this season. The two-year agreement will see Sky Sports air 30 live BBL matches a season.

As part of the agreement Sky Sports will also air the BBL Trophy Final, BBL Cup Final, BBL Playoffs and live coverage of the Women’s BBL Playoff final.

  • Sky Sports will show 30 live matches a season
  • Sky Sports will air both the men’s and women’s finals including BBL Trophy Final, BBL Cup Final, BBL Playoffs
  • Kieron Achara MBE and Drew Lasker to be part of the Sky Sports broadcasting team
  • Newcastle Eagles v London Lions to headline the opening night’s action on December 3 in a double header also featuring B. Braun Sheffield Sharks v Cheshire Phoenix live from Eagles Community Arena. Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event, 4.30pm

Sky Sports will broadcast a double header live from the Eagles Community Arena on December 3 to kick-start the coverage. Newcastle Eagles, who are the BBL’s most successful side with 25 major titles to their name, host a London Lions side who have been very busy adding to their line up in the close season in an eagerly anticipated opening night encounter in the BBL Championship. B. Braun Sheffield Sharks will tip-off against Cheshire Phoenix in the league season opener earlier in the evening. Both matches will be live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Main Event from 4.30pm.

It promises to be a highly exciting time for British Basketball as the road to the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where 3×3 basketball will be a featured sport, draws ever closer. Sky Sports coverage will include expert analysis from Kieron Achara MBE, who was part of the London 2012 Olympics Basketball squad, and current Newcastle Eagles star Drew Lasker.

BBL Chairman Sir Rodney Walker said: “It is fantastic to be teaming up again with Sky Sports to bring the excitement and action of the BBL to basketball fans at home. We are going to see some excellent games this season as there are incredible British and international players at all 11 clubs. We look forward to working with Sky Sports and the producers Buzz16 to showcase the best of British basketball over the next two years.”

Kieron Achara MBE said: “Although I may have stopped playing, I’m still part of the BBL family so it’s great to see this partnership with Sky Sports giving BBL the attention it deserves. I’m looking forward to working with Sky Sports to share the sport I love and grow our community.”

Sky Sports Managing Director Rob Webster said: “We are delighted to welcome the BBL back to Sky Sports. We look forward to showcasing the best of basketball from across the country in what promises to be a busy but exciting period with the 2022 Commonwealth Games on the horizon. We hope an event of that magnitude on UK shores will enable what is a big participation sport to continue its growth. We at Sky Sports are thrilled to be able to support the sport.

“With continued coverage of the NBA and WNBA, the addition of the BBL makes Sky Sports the home of basketball. We can’t wait for the action to get underway on December 3 from Eagles Community Arena”

Buzz16 Productions will produce BBL coverage for Sky Sports. Additionally, they will commit to including Mama Youth apprentices on the production team for BBL coverage.

Riders fall to Eagles in a thrilling Season Opener

Leicester Riders lost out to Newcastle Eagles in their opening match of the season in the BBL Cup Group stages, 102-96 at the Morningside Arena. 

The match was high quality shooting fest, with twenty three lead changes, and still the scores were tied on 96 with just under three minutes left, before the Eagles scored the crucial points to come out victors.

Both teams started on fire, with the game taking on the characteristics of a playoff battle, rather than an early season encounter. Riders point guard Geno Crandall was dazzling with his ball handling running the Riders offence with aplomb. Riders raced into a 6-2 lead, but a big three pointer Evan Maxwell pulled the Eagles back. 

Zach Jackson fired a three back for Riders and then the game turned into a shootout, with Corey Johnson firing in a three, which Maxwell matched. Justin Gordon got in on the act with a three pointer of his own to claw the Eagles back to 12-11, but a three point play by Crandall took Riders 15-14 clear. Johnson has looked very impressive in Riders curtailed pre-season and that has earned him a starting place, and he hit another three, four of six he made in the first half, to give Riders a narrow 30-29 first quarter lead.

There was no let up in the second period as it started with three consecutive threes, with Eagles MVP guard Rahmon Fletcher now starting to assert himself. Riders keep pulling away to 4 point margin, leading 39-35, and then 41-37, before a Rex Pflueger three got the Eagles to within one, trailing 41-40.  Maxwell was continuing to cause Riders all sorts of problems with his size inside and he converted two three point plays to keep Eagles in it. Another Johnson three had Riders in front 55-52 with 1 minute 52 left, but a flurry of scores had the teams tied at halftime at 57 all.

Riders raced into an early 69-64 lead in the second half, but the Eagles then outscored Riders 5 nil to tie the scores again. Consecutive baskets from the classy Cortez Edwards got the Eagles in front 73-70 but Mo Walker was started to put his weight about under the basket, and Riders came roaring back. A William Lee three on the buzzer saw Riders with a 78-77 lead heading into the final ten minutes.

The game stayed close throughout most of the final quarter with a fine move by Darien Nelson-Henry edging Riders ahead and then a Zach Jackson three point play midway through the final period had Riders 92-89 in front. But Maxwell made some baskets down the stretch to help Eagles pull clear.

Corey Johnson was top man for Riders with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists, but Riders had five players in double figures, including Mo Walker with 11 points and 10 rebounds, a testament to his continued recovery from long term injury.

Scorers

Leicester

Johnson 20, Jackson 19, Lee 12, Walker 11, Crandall 11, Anderson 8, Nelson-Henry 8, Washington 7

Newcastle

Maxwell 26, Gordon 19, Fletcher 18, Edwards 17, Pflueger 10, Darius Defoe 9, Louis Sayers 3

Rob ahead of Cup start

Coach Rob Paternostro can’t wait for the first competitive game of the season this weekend as his Riders side face Newcastle Eagles at the Morningside Arena, 5pm tip-off, on Sunday 8 November 2020.

The game is part of the first phase of BBL Cup fixtures which sees the Riders pitted against Newcastle Eagles, London Lions and Sheffield Sharks.

Riders beat Cheshire Phoenix 88-62 in their final pre-season game last Sunday and have been back in the gym each day this in preparation.

“I think we are all looking forward to starting the BBL season,” commented Coach Rob.

“It’s been a bit of a stop start to get here but as the game approaches you can feel the excitement within the team.”

“We thought it was important we played that friendly game on Sunday in Cheshire. The group enjoyed playing together and enjoyed playing against someone else. They showed some good things at both ends of the floor.”

“We’ve had a good week of practice, the guys are working hard and preparing for the weekend.”

Although the game will be behind closed doors, the game will be streamed LIVE on riders.basketball/live – available for just £4.99 and free to season ticket holders who will be emailed a pass code.

Eagles game on Live Stream

Leicester Riders’ first competitive game of the 2020-21 season will be available for fans to watch via the LIVE stream this weekend.

Riders face Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Cup group phase behind closed doors at the Morningside Arena on Sunday 8th November at 5pm.

The club have announced today that it will be available on LIVE stream for just £4.99 after a successful trial against Sheffield Sharks in pre-season.

The game will again be free for Season Ticket holders – an access code will be sent prior to the game. Fans wishing to purchase access to the game can do so at: riders.basketball/live .

Rob on final pre-season game

Riders ran out 88-62 victors over Cheshire Phoenix on Sunday evening in the final pre-season game of the campaign.

Corey Johnson led the scoring for Leicester with 24 points including six 3-pts made. Big man Mo Walker continues to impress, grabbing 12 rebounds, 11 on the defensive end.

Coach Rob Paternostro gave his thoughts, before his side turn their attention to Newcastle Eagles next Sunday in their first competitive game of the season in the BBL Cup:

“You can tell the guys where hungry right from the start.”

“Defensively in the first half we were excellent. I really like the potential of this team on that end of the floor. To hold them to 20 points in the first half really put us in a great position.”

“In the second half, they made some more shots and maybe the fatigue was there for us a little. So it’s important for us to continue to build as we head into the season.”

“All in all it was an excellent day for us. The ball movement was excellent and we shot the ball really well.”

“It was fun to be back out there on the court.”

BBL Cup line-up announced

Leicester Riders will face Newcastle Eagles, London Lions and Sheffield Sharks in the group phase of the BBL Cup.

The eleven BBL teams are split into three groups with the bottom teams being eliminated ahead of the knockout stages.

The BBL have grouped the competitions four most successful teams together, having won 12 BBL Cup’s between them. They are also the only four teams in the league’s history to have won the competition more than once.

The schedule sees Riders host Eagles on the 8th November at 5pm before the return on Friday 13th. Riders then host London Lions on Sunday 15th before travelling to the capital on Sunday 22nd. Riders line-up against Sheffield in-between those games on Friday 20th before the group phase is concluded on Friday 27th.

BBL COO Andy Webb said, “We are delighted to finally get the season launched after the very positive messages of support from the Government.”

“Of course, it won’t be the same without the fans being at the venues but all the players are keen to get to proper competition after a very long pre-season. The BBL Cup will be first up, just like last season, and then we will start the BBL Championship in early December. Those fixtures will also be
announced as soon as practical.”

It is also confirmed that all home games will be available for Riders fans to watch via an online stream – more information on this will be announced shortly.

8 Sun Nov – 5pm – Leicester Riders v Newcastle Eagles
13 Fri Nov – 7.30pm – Newcastle Eagles v Leicester Riders
15 Sun Nov – 4pm – Leicester Riders v London Lions
20 Fri Nov – 7.30pm – Sheffield Sharks v Leicester Riders
22 Sun Nov – 4pm – London Lions v Leicester Riders
27 Fri Nov – 8pm – Leicester Riders v Sheffield Sharks

Young guns named to Hoopsfix rosters

Hoopsfix has revealed the rosters for the 2020 Hoopsfix All-Star Classic, despite its cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual event – supported by Nike and 5or6 – would have brought together the top male and female junior players of their generation to play in three All-Star games across two days.

Congratulations to our pathway players Hannah Dawson, Molly James, Alex Baker, Victor Ndoukou, Giovanni Emejuru, Blaize Sagna, Greg Durand and Chester Morrell who were all named in the rosters.

The five previous events have all sold out in advance and another capacity crowd was anticipated in Brixton for the 2020 edition, which was originally scheduled for June before its cancellation.

“Though we are absolutely gutted to have had to cancel the event this year, we felt announcing the selected players is a small gesture to show recognition of those who would have been suiting up,” said Sam Neter, owner of Hoopsfix.

“Despite the event not happening, we will class those selected this year as alumni as with every other year, and they will be listed on the new website – launching soon – with player profiles.

“Congratulations to all those selected, and massive respect to all the clubs, coaches and people who contributed to their development. We look forward to following their progress and development in the coming years.”

With countless national titles and a wealth of junior international experience between them, the rosters represent a glimpse into the future of British basketball and include both domestic and foreign-based players.

The full selections for each game are as follows with name, height, position, and their 2019-20 programme as selections were based on performances up until the end of last season.

Class of 2020 Rosters

Team Black

David Chive, 6’0”, Guard, John Madejski Academy
Chris Feeney, 6’2″, Guard, Barking Abbey
Bradley Kaboza, 6’2″, Guard, Myerscough
Charlie Brown, 6’3″, Guard, Derby
Lewis McGlasson, 6’4″, Guard, Myerscough
Asher Ndah, 6’4″, Guard, John Madejski Academy
Eljay Morris, 6’4″, Guard/Forward, Governor’s Academy (USA)
Richard Amaefule, 6’9″, Forward, Bishop Lynch  (USA)
Sanmi Fajana, 6’8″, Forward, Myerscough
Amari Williams, 6’10”, Forward/Centre, Myerscough
Josh Ogundele, 6’11”, Forward/Centre, Worcester Academy  (USA)
Matt Marsh, 7’0”, Forward/Centre, FC Barcelona (Spain)

Team White

Blaize Sagna, 6’2″, Guard, Charnwood
Louis Norton, 5’10”, Guard, Barking Abbey
Ben Winter, 6’3″, Guard, Ipswich
Chester Morrell, 6’2″, Guard, Canterbury
Taiga Forster, 6’1″, Guard, Itchen
Greg Durand, 6’5″, Guard, Charnwood
Vasja Pandza, 6’8”, Guard, The Hotchkiss School (USA)
Tomiwa Sulaiman, 6’6” Forward, West Nottingham Academy  (USA)
Tom Sowoolu, 6’8″, Forward, Barking Abbey
Eduardo Andre, 6’10”, Forward, AZ Compass Prep School (USA)
Sam Chigbo, 6’11”, Forward/Centre, Myerscough
Theo Hughes, 7’0″, Centre, Barking Abbey

Underclassmen Rosters

Team Black

Cameron Hildreth, 6’5″, Guard, Holy Trinity
Latrell Maitland, 6’1″, Guard, John Madejski Academy
Elijah Walsh, 6’4”, Guard, Queen Ethelburga’s
Jacob Morgan, 6’0″, Guard, Ipswich
Michael Belle, 6’6″, Guard, Strasbourg (France)
Sam Alajiki, 6’7″, Guard, Beckley Prep (USA)
Flynn Boardman-Raffet, 6’4″, Guard/Forward, Barking Abbey
Blake Bowman, 6’5″, Guard/Forward, Derby Trailblazers
Franklin Agu, 6’6″, Forward, Myerscough
Sam Grant, 6’8″, Forward, John Madejski Academy
Josh Ijeh, 6’8″, Forward, BMET James Watt College
Ethan Price, 6’10”, Forward, Ipswich

Team White

Quinn Ellis, 6’3″, Guard, Orlandina (Italy)
Alex Distras, 6’0″, Guard, Haringey
Josh Uduje, 6’6″, Guard, Knox School (USA)
Owen Young, 6’4″, Guard, Haringey
Wakeem Richardson, 6’3″, Guard, BMET James Watt College
Veron Eze, 6’4″, Guard, Barking Abbey
Jeremy Sochan, 6’8″, Forward, La Lumiere (USA)
Moses Gordon, 6’6″, Forward, New City
Abiodun Adedo, 6’5″, Forward, St Charles
Giovanni Emejuru, 6’10”, Forward, Charnwood
Victor Ndoukou, 6’8″, Forward, Charnwood
Ndwedo Newbury, 6’8”, Forward, Haringey

Under-19 Women Rosters

Team Black

Ella Doherty, 5’11”, Guard, Caledonia Pride
Jade Mbam, 5’7″, Guard, Manchester Mystics
Mariam Olawoyin, 5’5″, Guard, Nottingham
Molly James, 5’9″, Guard, Charnwood
Tamara Fournillier Onadeko, 5’10”, Guard, Barking Abbey
Hannah Dawson, 5’10”, Guard/Forward, Charnwood
Rebecca Dwomoh, 5’10”, Guard/Forward, Femeni Maresm (Spain)
Esther Little, 6’2″, Guard/Forward, Copleston
Jannike Marshall, 6’0″, Forward, Caledonia Pride
MJ Sarkodee-Adoo, 6’2″, Forward, City of London Academy
Molly Lavin, 6’2″, Forward, Richmond Knights
Louise Rouse, 6’2″, Forward, Oaklands
Isimenme Ozzy-Momodu, 6’1″, Centre, City of London Academy

Team White

Amelia Sandie, 5’7″, Guard, City of London Academy
Abbey Whitehouse, 5’9″, Guard, Sheffield
Asha Andrews, 5’7″, Guard, Sevenoaks Suns
Charlotte Redhead, 5’7″, Guard, Copleston
Ella Pearson, 5’10”, Guard/Forward, Copleston
Simona Henshaw, 5’10”, Forward, City of London Academy
Shaniya Rose, 6’0″, Forward, Nottingham Wildcats
Susannah Rafiu, 6’1″, Forward, Copleston
Pollyanna Storie, 6’2″, Forward, Caledonia Pride
Adaobi Nebuwa, 5’10”, Forward, City of London Academy
Cameron Taylor-Willis, 6’0″, Forward, Copleston
Emma Imevbore, 6’4″, Centre, London Thunder
Alex Baker, 6’2″, Centre, Charnwood

Riders Ready to Go

Leicester Riders start to the new BBL season is now back on, after the BBL received confirmation that they will receive Government support to compensate for the games being played without spectators.

Riders BBL season was due to start on 2nd October, but the new season will now tip-off behind closed doors on Friday 30th October.

Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge was delighted with the news,

“There has been a huge amount of uncertainty since the announcement by the Government in September that the planned return of spectators from the beginning of October would not be allowed.”

“This has severe consequences for the Club because of our high dependency on ticket sales and local sponsors and additional game night sales, including corporate hospitality.”

“Playing behind closed doors for any period of time was never going to be sustainable.”

“And with the team in training for now nearly 8 weeks there was a cloud hanging over the way forward.”

“There remains a great deal of pressure on the Morningside Arena and the work of our Foundation, particularly because, for example, indoor team sports are also not allowed.”

“But the news from the Government is a huge step forward and one which all of basketball will welcome.”

“I know Coach Rob Paternostro, his coaching team and all the players will be delighted with the news and will now step up their preparations.”

Riders were due to play their second pre-season friendly at Bristol Flyers on Friday night, but Covid cases in the Riders student player pathway programme led the Club to cancel the fixture in an abundance of caution.

BBL Statement

The BBL is delighted to confirm that the 2020-21 season will now commence on 30th October 2020 with the detailed fixture list being announced as soon as possible.

Following the Government’s announcement on 22nd September that fans would not be allowed back into sports venues from 1 October, The BBL has been in urgent dialogue with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to determine the level of appropriate support Government would be able to provide given the significant impact the late decision has had on the League, which was originally scheduled to tip-off on 2nd October.

The BBL is grateful to those we have been speaking with at DCMS for the openness and rapid pace of the discussions, and for the assurances that appropriate support will be made available to those spectator sports affected.

Sir Rodney Walker said, “We extend our thanks to Oliver Dowden, Nigel Huddleston, and DCMS for their swift response in the wake of the very recent decision to not allow fans back into sports venues. This support comes in recognition of the immense work our clubs have done in preparation for the 2020-21 season, not only for competition but also in terms of the extensive work they do in their communities.”

Andy Webb, COO of the BBL, said, “We have a lot of urgent work to do to reformat the schedules and ensure they work with our arenas, but everyone is excited to get going. The games will be played behind closed doors but streaming packages will be available for fans to follow their teams.”

Club statement: COVID-19

This morning we received formal confirmation which shows that several members of the Riders programme have tested positive for COVID-19.

Leicester Riders’ priority is the health and well-being of its players and staff throughout its pathway programme.

The members who have tested positive, and people living in the same proximity, will now strictly follow government self-isolation guidelines.

We also have a wider care and responsibility to the players and staff from opposing teams. Therefore, with an abundance of caution, we have informed the BBL and Basketball England, and have cancelled the behind closed doors pre-season away Riders game against Bristol Flyers, scheduled for Friday night, and this weekend’s games for Loughborough Riders and Charnwood Riders.

Exclusive for Season Ticket holders

Leicester Riders can today announce a special bonus for our current season ticket holders. The Riders and Bristol Flyers have agreed to give access to a live stream of tomorrow’s behind closed doors game exclusively for Season Ticket Holders.

Current season ticket holders are urged to check their inboxes tomorrow morning with a link to the game.

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented:

“We really value our fans who have been there for us as a club in good times and tougher ones. This year they have once again shown their support during a tough time for everyone during the pandemic.”

“As a little gesture of our thanks we have been working with the Flyers to offer some added value to both sets of season ticket holders.”

“We’re really happy to be able to give them exclusive access to watch the game.”

Riders tip-off at 7.30pm on Friday evening in their second pre-season game of the campaign.

A tribute: Christine Gleadell

With great sadness we announced earlier today on social-media the passing of an incredible woman, Christine Gleadell.

Chris was selfless. An integral part of our basketball club and a Riders mum to so many players and staff over the years. She will be sorely missed.

Christine has played a pivotal role in the Riders family for many seasons being a founder member of the supporters club and in recent times running and looking after our Field House facility, which enabled so many youngsters into our pathway.

The Riders wished to share these words…

Head Coach Rob Paternostro:

“It’s a very sad time. Our thoughts go out to Phil, Laura, Clare and the rest of the family.” 

“Chris was an incredible person. She was a wonderful friend to so many of us, and was instrumental in our success both on and off the court.”

“She worked tirelessly for our club and was willing to help out in whatever way needed, but what stands out for me is how she made this place feel like home for so many of us that were far away from our loved ones . We will miss her so much.” 

Managing Director Russell Levenston:

“Christine was one of a kind and I’m going to miss her so much. We shared some great times whether our long conversations putting the world to right or having some fun going for dinner!”

“Chris did so much for me personally. Her support and advice in my early years with the Riders was invaluable. “

“Chris and Phil have helped so many people in the club whether it staff, academy players or the pro players. The Riders Family just won’t be the same.”

“I know how much everyone will be hurting right now to have lost such a great person from our lives but her legacy will live on through all of us.”

Our thoughts as a club and wider Riders family are with Phil, Laura & Clare, and family. Rest in Peace Christine.

Flyers next up!

Leicester Riders can today confirm they will travel to Bristol this Friday for their second pre-season game.

Riders will face Bristol Flyers at 7.30pm tip behind closed doors at the SGS Wise Arena.

Rob Paternostro’s men opened up pre-season with a narrow defeat to Sheffield Sharks on Friday night 66-70.

Corey Johnson led the scoring with 15 points for the Riders, Geno Crandall added 13 points on his Riders debut whilst fellow debutant Zach Jackson and forward Jamell Anderson both added 10.

“It was good for the guys to get a run out,” reflected Coach Rob. “It’s been a long time since these guys were able to play a competitive game. You could see we were a bit rusty and we know we have ways to go to get to where we want to be, the more games the better before the real season starts.”

“We missed having the fans there with us but we were pleased to hear that they were able to tune in to watch us on the stream in good numbers.”

“We look forward to getting back on court this Friday against Bristol. It’s another good opportunity for the guys to compete.”

Riders host pre-season Sharks game

Leicester Riders return to action this Friday as they face Sheffield Sharks in a pre-season game at Morningside Arena.

Although the game will be behind closed doors, Riders fans will be able to watch the game via a LIVE stream for just £4.99 – sign-up here: riders.basketball/live .

The club have also announced that Season Ticket holders will be able to watch the game for free through a code that the club will be issuing directly to those supporters ahead of Friday’s game.

It will be a first look for the Riders faithful of new signings Geno Crandall, Zach Jackson, and William Lee. As well as the return of familiar faces Conner Washington, Mo Walker and Raheem May-Thompson.

Darien Nelson-Henry, Jamell Anderson and Corey Johnson complete the line-up for Rob Paternostro’s side who will be looking forward to getting the ball bouncing again on Friday night.

“We’re excited to be back out there and playing competitive basketball,” commented Coach Rob.

“The Riders fans and their support has always been the heartbeat of the club. We really appreciate them buying season tickets and supporting us all the way.”

“We will miss the fans being there on Friday night but hope they can tune in to watch us through the live stream.”

“I’ve enjoyed working with the team the last few weeks. We have some hard-working talented players that our fans will enjoy watching.”

Watch Riders v Sharks LIVE this Friday at 7.30pm on riders.basketball/live for just £4.99.

Riders Consider Season Options

Leicester Riders are looking at all options, after the planned start of the BBL season later this week was put on hold.

Riders along with other BBL clubs met late last week online, to consider the Prime Minister’s announcement that the return of spectators to sporting events was on hold indefinitely, following an increase in Covid-19 cases.

The BBL had planned to announce fixtures for the new season last week, but that announcement has again been delayed.

Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge said the club were particularly frustrated,

“We had been in continuous discussions with DCMS, and were on track to be the first indoor sports pilot in the country last Friday in a pre-season friendly.”

“The Morningside Arena has done a huge amount of work to become Covid Secure, with a major investment in software and physical changes to the arena.”

“We have been advised that the changes have made means the venue is one of the best prepared in the county.”

“So to get this news is devastating, particularly to the people involved in all these works.”

“It is going to have a massive impact on all BBL clubs, because there is a huge dependency for all clubs on gate receipts and local sponsors.”

“We have been advised the Government will consider requests for support, but the challenge will be for Clubs to survive, while negotiations go on.”

“Because we are one of a few Clubs that have control of our own Arena, we also have amongst the highest overheads in the British game.”

“Obviously we want to play games only when it is safe to do so, but all venues are different, and the risks will be very different.”

“We will be working very hard with the BBL to consider all options and hope to let our supporters and sponsors know very soon the outcome.”

“We don’t rule out playing behind closed doors for a period, but that is not a sustainable way of operating, and it is unclear whether all clubs could even start on that basis.”

“Ultimately we are in the hands of Government.”

The BBL’s Chief Operating Officer Andy Web said,

“Following the Government announcement on 22nd September that fans will not be allowed back to sporting events for the foreseeable future, the British Basketball League is currently assessing the impact this will have on professional basketball in the UK.”

“The UK is a great sporting nation and the positive impact that sport has on communities and on physical and mental health can be seen at all levels from grassroots through to elite levels.”

“With all the BBL clubs firmly rooted in their communities, it is no exaggeration to say that the impact of this decision will be deeply felt by all 11 BBL clubs and the many stakeholders the Clubs and their charitable Foundations work with.”

“We recognise that the Government are taking these measures in the interests of the nation’s health and we fully support them in that.”

“However, to remove the possibility of such a vital source of income only a week before we were due to start our season means the BBL has no option but to call on the Government for support at this crucial time.”

“The viability of our league, the only professional men’s basketball league in the UK, is predicated on ticket and sponsorship income, as thousands of fans and local businesses show their support each week.”

“Without their support, there is a risk of the loss of clubs who work in the heart of their communities, as well as the current and future generations of talented sportspeople, many from our most deprived communities.”

“In the meantime, the BBL is reassessing its options with regards to the new season and will be making further announcements shortly.”

Riders sign Geno Crandall

Leicester Riders today announced the signing of American guard Geno Crandall.

Crandall, who spent last season in the Czech Republic with Turi Svitavy averaging 13.9 points per game and 3.7 assists, played for both North Dakota and Gonzaga in college.

Crandall averaged 14.3 points and 4 assists over three seasons at North Dakota, leading the side to the NCAA Tournament as a sophomore. Geno left North Dakota after his third year, transferring to American basketball powerhouse Gonzaga.

Described as a leader and high-level communicator in his one season with the Zags, Geno will give Coach Paternostro great options at the guard spot in the Riders roster.

Crandall spoke to Riders.Basketball: “I’m very excited to get to Leicester and help the Riders compete for a championship.”

“I’m looking forward to working with the staff and the players in Leicester.”

“I can’t wait to get on court and show what I can do.”

Coach Rob Paternostro commented on the signing:

“We are very happy to sign a player like Geno, he is a very talented player with pro experience who can play either guard position. Geno is a guy that has shown that he can fit into any team or situation thrown his way.”

“After a great career at North Dakota it was very impressive to see how he fit in with Gonzaga, one of the best teams in college basketball. It’s never easy to go to a new team with a different style of play but Geno was able to adapt very quickly.”

“He has good size , is very athletic, and has great quickness. He has a high basketball IQ and good feel for the game which is evident when you watch him play.”

“He can score , we have seen that at the collegiate level and the pro level but he also impacts the game in many other ways which makes him a very well rounded player.”

In other Riders news, guard Jonah Mathews has returned to America following the announcement of the NBA draft.

A number of NBA teams have made contact with the former USC captain. and he has made the decision to head back to California. Riders would like to wish Jonah all the best for his future career.

Coach Paternostro praises Captain Thomson

Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro spoke to Riders.Basketball on the retirement of Andrew Thomson…

“Andy is a legend of the BBL, there is no doubt about that, when you look at what he is done in his career, one thing is consistent and that’s winning.”

“He has won wherever he has played and has been a guy that any coach would love to have on their team.”

“He was a huge signing for us, one of the most important signings in Leicester Riders history.”

“I feel fortunate that he spent the 4 years with us. He was always all about winning and being a team player which made my job easier.”

“Andy was a big man that could do everything – he was an excellent shooter, who put so much pressure on the defence by being able to stretch the floor and make defender pay.”

“But if you took that away, Andy could beat you in many other ways, passing , interior scoring and rebounding.”

“Defensively he was very versatile and physical, but most importantly to me was his IQ. He studied the opponents and understood the game plan and what his team needed to do to win.”

“When I think of Andy I will always think of a player that would play his best basketball in the big games and the big moments. There are so many times that he came up with the big play late in the game to put is in the win column “

“It was always great to be sitting in the locker room before a final and to know he was on your team, you knew he would be ready and you know you had a great chance to win with him on your team.”

Leicester Riders Captain Andy Thomson Calls Time

Leicester Riders England international Andy Thomson has decided to call time on his career, as Riders restart full scale training for the new season.

36 years old Thomson has been Riders captain for the last two seasons and is one of the most successful players ever to grace the BBL.

Manchester born Thomson has accumulated 20 BBL trophies in a storied career, that included stops with Newcastle Eagles and Mersey Tigers, as well as in France and Spain.

The 6 foot 9 inch forward led Riders into Europe in the 2018/19 season for the first time in nearly two decades, and played his best basketball in European competitions, averaging nearly 11 points and over 3 rebounds a game, while shooting an excellent 53% from the floor and 39% from the three point line.

Thomson missed a big chunk of that season with injury, and with the England team at the Commonwealth Games in Australia, where he picked up another injury, but still had some big moments for the Riders, including in the decisive last moments in the BBL Trophy Final.

That season he missed 16 Championship games, but still averaged over 7.5 points and nearly 4.3 rebounds a game, while shooting 44% from the floor.

Last season he averaged 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 43% from the floor, and 35% from the three point line, in a season truncated early by the Covid-19 pandemic

Thomson said it was a difficult but inevitable decision,

“To step away from such a long career, in anything, is a tough, life changing decision, however with sport you’re fully aware it’s got to come to an end.”

“Going in to the 2019/2020 season, as my 14th year in professional basketball, I had the mindset that this season was likely to be my last one.”

“I may not have been able to complete this final season and finish on that high due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but I still reflect on my career with pride.”

“I’ve achieved 20 trophies across my 9 seasons in the BBL, having represented 3 different clubs and captaining my final 2 seasons.”

“This decision did not come easy to me.”

“I’d put these thoughts off for years as I could never bring myself to visualise hanging up my shoes, however over the last few I’d put my efforts into training and launching my business, Solvere Therapies, specialising in holistic, complementary treatments as my transition.”

“This gave me the confidence to see that there was another path out there for me.”

“Having also recently explored other opportunities which may still come in to fruition, I will always pursue this as a side line to satisfy my passion for helping people.”

“When I look back to starting out my career, I can see how much basketball, as a sport has grown.”

“The league is definitely trending in the right direction; its more competitive, there are more supporters, teams now have their own arenas and clubs are venturing into European Competitions.”

“Whilst Covid-19 has us hanging in suspense, I’m positive it won’t be long before the growth continues.”

“I would like to say a huge thanks to the Leicester Riders club and fans for welcoming myself and my wife to their community.”

“The support and loyalty from the fans during the highs and lows have made it an honour to represent them and their city.”

“I hope you enjoyed this part of my journey as much as I did.”

“A great thing about basketball is that it has its own network, you play with and against players who over the years of playing in the BBL, many have turned in to life-long friends.”

“You also get the privilege to meet with fans and sponsors, and through this I’ve made some great friendships.”

“I’d like to say a further thanks to coach Rob Paternostro for signing me up to his ball club.”

“He and Russell Levenston put together some very talented teams which I was lucky to be a part of, culminating in 7 trophies throughout my time here.”

“Whilst Rob’s a very emotive and animated coach on the side lines, he’s very supportive and understanding in the needs of his players on and off the court which I appreciated greatly.”

“The arena and the club are in good hands with Kevin Routledge at the helm and I wish them the best of luck in their future and I’m sure there will be plenty more trophies to line those cabinets.”

“I’m still residing in Leicestershire so will ensure I get down to the games to continue my support.”

Riders sign Jonah Mathews

Leicester Riders can today announce the signature of guard Jonah Mathews.

Hailing from Santa Monica, California, 6’3″ Mathews spent four years at USC averaging 13.4 pts in PAC-12 in the 2019-20 season

Although the season finished abruptly due to Covid-19, his last appearance for USC on Senior Day was a memorable one. The USC captain hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 6:52 left to become USC’s all-time leader in threes. In the same game Mathews took a game-winning three with 2 seconds remaining for a 54-52 victory over UCLA, the result is the first regular-season sweep over their rivals since the 2015-16 season, and made the Trojans’ NCAA Tournament berth all but confirmed.

After four years playing for the Trojans, Jonah can’t wait to get his professional career underway.

“I’m so excited to get out there and play for this program with a great coach and talented group of guys,” commented Mathews. “I’m very excited to play in a different country along with an amazing fan base that the Riders bring to every game.”

“I just wanna get out there and work. I want to win another championship with this program.”

Jonah was named to the All PAC-12 tournament first team in 2018, All PAC-12 second team and all-defensive team last season. Mathews becomes the ninth signing for Head Coach Rob Paternostro who is delighted to bring the American to Leicestershire:

“We are excited to have Jonah this season. His career at USC speaks for itself, individually he did great things, but what really stood out for me was that he had more wins than any other player in USC history. That’s a statistic to be proud of!”

“He is a talented guard with quickness, good size , and the versatility to play with the ball or without it. He has an excellent all around game. He led his team in minutes played which shows you his value to the team.”

“He was very effective in late game situations, you can see on video that he was confident in his ability to make plays in the important moments of the game.”

“Defensively he had a very good season, making the All defensive team in the PAC-12 shows how highly he was thought of on that end of the floor.”

May-Thompson returns to Riders

Raheem May-Thompson makes a return to Leicester Riders signing a two-year deal.

6’6″ forward May-Thompson, re-joins the Riders after a spell with Cheshire Phoenix, Mulhouse Pfastatt (in France) and Worcester Wolves.

Raheem played a role in Rob Paternostro’s side during the 2015-16 season when Leicester won both the league and BBL Trophy.

“Obviously Raheem is a guy we know very well,” commented Coach Rob. “We are excited to have him back. He was great to work with last time and we are all looking forward to working with him again”

“He is an athletic versatile player with plenty of experience who can play multiple positions and can fit in with many different line-ups.”

“I really like how he has performed in big games and is a player that doesn’t shy away from the big moments.”

May-Thompson will combine the professional contract with studying for his Masters in Marketing at Loughborough University, thanks to our partners at Loughborough University’s Business School.

Raheem added:

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to go back to Leicester and to play for the Riders again.”

“I know the organisation really well and I’m looking forward to linking up with the likes of Jamell (Anderson) and Conner (Washington) again who were both playing when I was here the first time around.”

“I am also very much looking forward to attaining a Masters degree. Loughborough University is a first-class University and I value the opportunity they have afforded me.”

BBL announce start date for 2020/21 season

The weekend of October 2nd will see the restart of British Basketball League competition with the specific date for Leicester Riders’ to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Rob Paternostro’s side will commence the 2020/21 season with the opening rounds of the BBL Cup competition, the league itself will tip off on Friday 13 November 2020.

The 2020/21 BBL Cup has seen a significant change, which will see teams split into three groups rather than two, with the bottom placed team from each group being eliminated before the knockout stage

Andy Webb, Chief Operating Officer of BBL, said:

“Planning for the new season has been something we’ve really looked forward to after the disappointment of the early end to last season. Seeing the talent that the clubs have been announcing only makes us keener to get going because there’s going to be some incredible games to come.”

Riders sign high-flying William Lee

Leicester Riders are delighted to announce the signing of William ‘HaHa’ Lee.

The American joins Leicester after spending last season with German Pro-A side Nurnberg Falcons BC. The 6-9 forward previously played in the G-League with Iowa Wolves having spent four years playing for the University of Alabama at Birmingham through college.

Lee was the all-time leading shot-blocker in UAB history, is a 2-time defensive player of the year in his conference and was a 2-time all conference player.

Speaking to the club’s new official website, Lee said : “First of all I would like to thank the Leicester Riders organisation for allowing me to be part of the upcoming season.”

“It’s been a long off-season and I’m ready to get back on the court and have fun again!”

“Words can not explain how excited I am for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to meeting my new teammates, the staff and all the Riders fans.”

Lee is Head Coach Rob Paternostro’s seventh signing ahead of the new season and he can’t wait to work with the forward:

“We are looking forward to working with William . He is an exciting player who plays above the rim on both ends of the floor and is a guy our fans should enjoy watching play.”

“He has the ability to impact the game on the defensive end. He moves his feet well has good size and with a 7 foot 2 wing span can change shots.”

“We are excited about his shot blocking ability, he has always been an excellent shot blocker which we feel will be an important part of our defence.”

“He is a skilled big on the offensive end, he uses his versatility to be effective. He can shoot from distance, score around the rim and put it down on the floor to make plays .”

Riders Sign Zach Jackson

Leicester Riders are delighted to announce the signing of American 6’7″ guard Zach Jackson.

Last season Jackson played for Ukrainian Superleague side Kharkivski Sokoly, after spending four successful years in college with Omaha Mavericks. He averaged an impressive 18 points per game in his Junior and Senior year, as well as being named in the all Summit League first team.

Speaking to the club’s official website, Jackson said:

“It’s exciting to join such a successful program and play for the fans of Leicester.”

“I’m ready to get to work with my new teammates and I’m really looking forward to a good season.”

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to represent the city of Leicester, play for the Riders organisation and its fans.”

Zach becomes Rob Paternostro’s six summer announcement, and the Riders Head Coach is delighted to be bringing the Wichita-born

“We are very happy to have Zach on board, he is a talented player who has the ability to score from all over the floor,” said Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro.

“He is an excellent long range shooter both off the catch and off the dribble, but he is also a guy that can score in the paint with drives, cuts, and post ups. He really has a knack for putting the ball in the basket.”

“We were very impressed with his efficiency on the offensive end and are looking forward to being able to use his versatility on both ends of the floor.”

“I enjoyed speaking with him, he has a hunger for the game and is a guy that has worked extremely hard to become the player he is.”

“He has great size for a perimeter player, a late growth spurt has seen him grow to 6-7 which I think that will make him an even tougher guy to defend. We like his ability to take advantage of smaller defenders, with his size at the guard position he can be a really tough match-up for smaller guards.”

Walker makes return to Riders

Mo Walker will return for the Riders for the 2020-21 season, it can also be revealed that having initially signed a two-year deal, Walker has now extended his stay by a further year making him a Rider for the next two seasons.

Mo was all set to make his Riders debut last season but for a season-ending injury which stalled his Leicester debut. Despite this, Walker will be a familiar face to BBL fans after spending a short stint with the Worcester Wolves three seasons ago in which he averaged 18 points and 9.5 rebounds per outing.

“I’m excited! I feel like I have a chip on my shoulder and something to prove from sitting out last season,” reflected Mo. “I want to make the city of Leicester and the fans proud by continuing to build on the winning culture already established by the Riders in the BBL.”

Coach Rob Paternostro is excited to have the 6’10” big available this time out, speaking to the club’s official website, Paternostro said:

“We can’t wait to see Mo put on a Riders uniform. Last year’s injury was unfortunate for both him and the club, and I know that he is really excited about getting back on the court.”

“Although he didn’t play in any games for us last season he settled in very well, he was a part of the team and was able to get a feel for what we do and how we do it.”

“He was a dominant player last time he was in the league, first team all BBL player, a player that opponents feared and had to game plan for.”

“Mo is a big who uses his size to get great position and can really score with his back to the basket. He is also a guy that rebounds both offensively and defensively, passes the ball well and plays with intelligence on both ends. We are expecting big things.”

The new Riders jerseys were unveiled earlier in the week and are available for pre-order until August 15. Check out our online store to order yours!

Jesse Chuku departs Riders

Leicester Riders can confirm that they will be without Jesse Chuku next season. The 27-year old forward is to take a year away from basketball to concentrate on recovery of a pre-existing injury that has affected his time on court the last few seasons.

“I would like to thank the Riders for a great year and for all the support I received battling a pre-existing injury,” commented Chuku. “The coaches, players, staff, and the fans have all been phenomenal and I am very proud to have been a part of this organisation.”

“Leicester now feels like a second home to me, so surely this is not farewell as I hope to see all the Riders family again some time in the future!”

Jesse clocked up 26 appearances for the Riders last season before Covid cut the season short.

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented: “We’ve enjoyed having Jesse with us this past season and wish him all the best in his quest for full fitness.”

“The door is always open to him and he’ll always be part of the Riders family.”

All the best for the future Jesse, from all at the Leicester Riders.

Corey Johnson signs new Riders deal

Corey Johnson has committed until the end of the 2020/21 season and enters his second season with the club.

Johnson averaged 12.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game over 10 games last season, arriving midway through with Jordan Spencer before the season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to leicesterriders.co.uk, Coach Paternostro said he was delighted to bring back the Canadian: “Corey made an immediate impact when he arrived last season, his energy and ability were immediately valuable to our team.”

“Obviously he is a dangerous three point threat, his shooting can impact the game in many ways, but he was more than just a shooter. He really plays with an intelligence out on the floor and we are expecting big things from him this season.”

“Defensively he was very good, he has good size and length and a hunger play to defence. He was locked in on that side of the floor from the moment he arrived. His communication and commitment to team defence was excellent.”

The Harvard graduate is back in his native Canada at the moment and will represent CEBL side Guelph Nighthawks before returning to Leicestershire.

“The Riders fans had my back from the moment I stepped on the floor,” reflected Corey. “After I hit my first shot the crowd went crazy. That was something that was really motivating for me.”

“I’m really happy to be returning to the Morningside Arena and bringing that energy.”

“It feels great to have signed again, I felt like we had a good thing going last year and a lot of momentum that got cut short. I’m excited about the new season ahead and I feel like we can carry that momentum over to next year.”

You can see Corey in action tonight as his Guelph Nighthawks side play Hamilton Honey Badgers (5pm ET) available to watch on CBCSports.ca or twitch.

Leicestershire Uniting ‘Together In Hope’ ahead of Leicester’s lockdown review

The University of Leicester’s Vice-Chancellor is working in partnership with the CEO of Leicester City Football Club and the Bishop of Leicester, on a celebration of community spirit in Leicester and Leicestershire this weekend, supported by a raft of other public figures.

Headed by Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Susan Whelan and Bishop Martyn Snow,Together In Hope will highlight messages of encouragement and the many acts of kindness and concern for one another that have been springing up during lockdown.

Sports, education, business, charity, arts, community and faith leaders and personalities are supporting ‘Together In Hope’ on social media, rallied by Turi King, Professor of Public Engagement at the University of Leicester, who is well known for her work on the discovery of the body of Richard III, and Revd Dr Tom Wilson of the St Philip’s Centre, Leicester’s internationally recognised interfaith centre.

Using the hashtags #TogetherInHope and #WeAreLeicester the coalition of leaders and personalities invite anyone with connections to the city and county to tell the world what we celebrate about Leicester and Leicestershire and how we’ll come through this current challenge and move forward together in hope.

You could produce a piece of art, poetry, make a film clip, create some spoken word, share a recipe, write a letter, pose for a photo with the Together in Hope branding, highlight your community and charitable work, whatever you like that tells the world how great Leicester is and how we’ll continue moving forward together in hope.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Leicester said:

“Leicester is an incredible city. There is so much diversity and unity in one place. It has the world at your doorstep.

“I am proud of Leicester and it is one of the reasons why I want to champion this great initiative, Together in Hope, to ensure we come out of this lockdown stronger and more united.

“It’s more important now than ever to shine a light on what is great about our city. Together we can be a beacon of hope for others.”

Susan Whelan, Leicester City Football Club Chief Executive, said: 
“Leicester is a truly special place, whose diverse and passionate community has been both the backdrop and the inspiration for some of the city’s finest achievements.

“As we’ve seen throughout this pandemic, it’s also a community that comes together to support each other when support is most needed, which gives me great confidence that we can overcome the current challenges and emerge from the lockdown stronger than ever before.”

The Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester, said:

“We’re launching Together In Hope because we’ve been so encouraged by the way people have come together across Leicester and Leicestershire during the pandemic and lockdown.

“We want the world to know about this and we want to tell people that our diversity is our
strength.

“We believe that this diversity and togetherness will enable us to emerge from this crisis with renewed hope for a society in which we care for one another and care for our planet. I’m delighted that so many partners have already come on board with this initiative and we hope you will join us and start sharing stories of Together In Hope.”

Personalities and organisations supporting #TogetherInHope #WeAreLeicester include:

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Leicester
Susan Whelan, CEO, Leicester City Football Club
Rt Revd Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester
Rosemary Conley CBE, Businesswoman, author and broadcaster
Jonathan Agnew, The BBC Cricket Correspondent
Gary Lineker OBE, BBC Sports Correspondent
Maggie Philbin, Tomorrow’s World
Simon Cole QPM, Chief Constable, Leicestershire Police
Rick Taylor, Chief Fire and Rescue Officer
Professor Robert Allison, President and Vice-Chancellor, Loughborough University
Professor Andy Collop, Interim Vice-Chancellor, De Montfort University
Geoff Rowe BEM, Festival Director, Big Difference Company
Scott Knowles, Chief Executive, East Midlands Chamber of Commerce
Flor Healy, Group Chief Executive, Samworth Brothers
Kevin Routledge, Chairman, Leicester Riders
Sean Jarvis, Chief Executive, Leicester Cricket Club
Andrea Pinchen, Chief Executive, Leicester Tigers
Verity Hancock, Principal, Leicester College
Dawn Whitemore, Principal, The SMB Group
Chas Bishop, Chief Executive, Leicester Space Centre
Karamjit Singh, Chair, University Hospitals of Leicester
Andy Williams, Chief executive of the NHS Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland CCGs
Chris Stafford, Chief Executive, Curve Theatre
Nikolai Foster, Artistic Director, Curve Theatre
Revd Mark Burleigh, Head of Chaplaincy and Bereavement Services, Leicester’s Hospitals
Suleman Nagdi, Spokesperson, Federation of Muslim Organisations
Resham Singh Sandhu, MBE, Leicestershire Interfaith Forum
Pradip Gajjar, President, ISKCON Leicester
Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Loughborough
Jonathan Kerry, Chief Executive, Leicester Diocese
The Very Revd David Monteith, Dean of Leicester
Revd Jenny Impey, Minister, Leicester Trinity Methodist Circuit
Revd Novette Headley, Superintendent Minister, Leicester West Methodist Circuit
Dilwar Hussain, Chair, New Horizons in British Islam
Associate Professor David Bartram, Chair, Leicester Progressive Jewish Community
Jiten Anand, Director, Inspirate
Sean Carroll, Director, Inspirate
Bipin Anand, Director, ImageNova
Glynis Wright, President Leicestershire Law Society
Professor Turi King, Professor of Public Engagement, Leicester University
Revd Dr Tom Wilson, Director, St Philip’s Centre

Morningside Arena First in Leicester Waterworks Transformation Project

Leicester’s waterways are set to be transformed with a series of colourful artworks as part of a major community arts project beginning this summer.

Five large-scale murals will brighten up parts of the city’s riverside and canal corridor thanks to a partnership between Leicester City Council, the Canal & River Trust and local arts company Graffwerk.

Over the coming months, local artists from the Graffwerk street art collective will carry out specially commissioned pieces at key locations across the city.

The first commission has already seen the canal side wall of the Morningside Arena transformed with a large-scale mural celebrating home champions Leicester Riders alongside a tribute to basketball icon Kobe Bryant.

Kevin Routledge, director of the Morningside Arena and chairman of Leicester Riders, said: “We are delighted to be a part of this stunning community arts project. The Morningside Arena’s location alongside the new Charter Street bridge leading to Abbey Park, has seen much-increased footfall and cycling.

“We think people using the park and canal will be very impressed with the artwork. The design strongly captures the essence of the arena with its community focus and great events, as well as being home of the Riders.”

The Morningside Arena project will be followed by artworks at Abbey Park underpass, Soar Island wall and Lime Kiln Lock on the edge of Abbey Park. The recently constructed flood relief culvert at Loughborough Road Bridge will also be brightened up with a specially commissioned design.

The artworks will celebrate the sites’ wildlife and history and include improved waymarking to help people find their way along Leicester’s waterways and make more use the city’s towpaths and riverside walking routes.

The £45,000 project is funded by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) with £30,000 of Government cash from the Local Growth Fund, and by the Canal & River Trust through its Community Roots programme, which is supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Liz Fleuty, community engagement manager for the Canal & River Trust, said: We’re so excited to be a part of this project which will brighten up the waterside and make a visit to the towpath even more appealing

“For many Leicester’s waterways are an undiscovered gem and we’re hoping that, once finished, these artworks help to attract more people down to the waterside and encourage them to see their local canal or river in a whole new light.

“More than a third of people in Leicester live less than a kilometre from a canal or river – which have such an important role to play in daily life, helping us to keep active and clear our minds. By brightening spaces up and creating new places of interest we hope this project will enable more people to feel those benefits for themselves.”

Deputy City Mayor for environment and transportation Cllr Adam Clarke said: “Leicester boasts some beautiful riverside and towpath routes but there are some parts that need a bit of a lift. We are keen to work with partner organisations like CRT and the Inland Waterways Association to do that and help more people discover the city’s riverside.

“These new artworks will brighten up key locations along our waterways, signposting routes, attractions and areas of interest and encourage people to explore more of the city’s beautiful riverside and canal by walking and cycling.

“We have worked with Graffwerk on a number of projects over the years, with events like Bring the Painthelping to create stunning artworks in the city centre. I am excited to see how this latest project will transform and brighten key waterside locations.”

Izzy Hoskins, co-director at Graffwerk, said: “Graffwerk is extremely excited to be delivering these large-scale artworks alongside some incredible artists. Being based upon the canal side ourselves it means a lot for us to be involved in projects within the local community.”

The project may involve some short-term towpath closures while the artists are working. This will be clearly signed and alternative routes suggested. All work will be carried out only when it is safe to do so, and with strict social distancing in place.

Lascelles takes up new challenge

After three successful seasons with the Riders, Leicester Riders can confirm this morning that they will be without the services of Rema Lascelles next season as he ends his professional basketball career to take up a new challenge.

“I’d like to thank both Rob and Russell for giving me an opportunity to play the game I love at the highest level this country has to offer. I loved my time at the Riders. From competing with some amazingly talented players day in day out to travelling the country and Europe showcasing our own skills, including playing in front of 15k people at the O2. I have made some lifelong memories and friends,” commented Rema.

“I felt like it was the right time to end my pro career and to take steps into the next chapter in my life. My girlfriend and I are starting a family together and I am embarking on a career which I am hopeful can provide the same amount of enjoyment and fulfilment from that I got from basketball.”

Rema clocked up 87 appearances for the Riders including two treble winning seasons and the FIBA Europe adventure.

“We are all happy for Rema and wish him well for the future. He was a winning player with the club and was an important part of some very good teams,” reflected Head Coach Rob Paternostro.

“He was a very unique player, he had great size at the point guard position and did a great job passing the ball and running the offence and was always a guy that teammates enjoyed playing with.”

Managing Director Russell Levenston added:

“We wish Rema all the best with his career. He has been a tremendous asset for our club over the past three seasons and really contributed to the success of our team. We are really proud of him, and although we’ll miss him at the Arena, he goes with our blessing and good wishes.”

All the best for the future Rema, from all at the Leicester Riders.

Jamell signs for 2020-21 season

British forward Jamell Anderson returns to the Leicester Riders next season after signing a new one-year deal.

Anderson who has spent seven seasons in Leicestershire having made his Leicester debut back in the 2011-12 season, has racked up 274 appearances and seven trophies with the Riders.

‘We are thrilled to have Jamell back for another season,’ commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro. ‘He is a guy who does whatever a team needs to win.’

‘I thought he played very well last season, defensively his commitment and ability is a valuable tool for any group and his length, speed and size makes him an elite defender in this league.’

‘He shot the ball well last season and offensively was very efficient, he is a player who puts the work in and you can see how his game develops every season.’

🍿 Exclusive: Forward Jamell Anderson (@Jamell_A ) on his Riders return! #weridetogetherpic.twitter.com/PfO5iS3XW5

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) July 6, 2020

Anderson shot a 2 point percentage of 68.0 last season, third highest in the BBL. He was also amongst the leagues’ leaders for field goal percentage with 57.6.

‘Leicester has been good to me down the years and I am happy to be part of the Riders family again next season,’ reflected Jamell.

‘The Morningside Arena is a great venue to play at, the fans really get that place rocking. It’s a real community club and I want to be a part of it.’

‘I have a lot of respect for Coach Rob. I love playing for him as he understands my game and knows how to get the best out of me. We’ve had seven seasons together so far and I’m excited to be making it number eight next season.’

Anderson has been a member of the long squad for Great Britain in the last couple of windows as well as representing Team England at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

Ian Davidson – Rest In Peace

It is with great sadness that the Club announces that Ian Davidson, the Riders Commercial Manager, has passed away.

He died suddenly and unexpectedly at Glenfield Hospital on Tuesday night.

He was 63 years old.

Ian has been with the club over seven years, although more latterly he had gone part-time, while he pursued a post graduate degree at DMU in his favourite subject – the history of sport.

Leicester Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge said,

“Ian will be greatly missed by everyone in the Riders family. He helped grow the club on the commercial side at a critical stage in its development, and he always left everyone with a smile on their face.”

“He is one of Leicester’s greatest sports fans, with his passionate interest in all sports Clubs in the city, including holding a similar role at Leicestershire County Cricket Club to the one he held for us. He remained a very passionate cricket fan, but he was also a huge fan of Leicester City, as a long time season ticket holder, and author of a recent book on Keith Weller. He was also a Tigers fan.”

“There was little that Ian did not know about sport, and he loved nothing better than regaling everyone with fascinating sports statistics from decades ago.”

“He made an immense contribution to the development of the Riders, including organising many of our corporate events, and he always brought a passion to everything he did.”

Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston said,

“I am really shocked by the passing. Ian was a friend that will be missed by myself, and all at the Riders. My thoughts are with his family at this time.”

“Ian was a hugely positive guy that would do anything for anyone, and helped to transform our club commercially. His work helped us to become sustainable and grow.”

Head Coach of Leicester Riders Rob Paternostro was shocked by the news,

“My family and I are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague Ian. His passion for sport in Leicester was unmatched, and his dedication and commitment to the Riders was immense. Ian accomplished so many great things for our organisation, was a huge part of our success and will be sorely missed by all at the club. I feel fortunate to have had him as a friend. My thoughts go out to all his family and friends.”

Ian is survived by his wife Sue, son Ashley, daughter-in-law Angel, daughter Nicolette, and granddaughter Aimee.

Conner Washington is back!

GB Guard Conner Washington has returned to the Leicester Riders signing a two-year deal after spending last season in Europe.

Conner is one of Riders’ most decorated players having won 10 trophies over 7 seasons in Leicestershire including 261 appearances.

“We are thrilled to have Conner back. We are excited to see him in a Riders jersey again!”

“He plays with passion, intensity and a style that Riders fans have enjoyed throughout the years,” commented Head Coach Rob Paternostro who has brought the British guard through the Riders programme.

“He first came to us many years ago and we have enjoyed watching him grow and have watched him win many trophies with many different teams here.”

“His defence can be a game changer, his athletic ability, intelligence and intensity on that end of the floor is valuable for any team to have and we look forward to that again this season.”

🍿 Exclusive: @gbbasketball guard Conner Washington (@Con_Air11 ) on his Riders return! #weridetogether pic.twitter.com/Xg3lg4HELb

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) June 19, 2020

Last year Conner was a key player for German team VfL Bochum averaging 18.3 points and 5.1 assists per game.

“It feels great to be back. I love the organisation and love the city,” commented Washington. “My family are here and I”m closer to my hometown Bedford so anytime I can play here is a true blessing.”

“I’m confident there’s a lot of success to come. I’m anxious to get on the court and take my skills to another level. I can’t wait to get back out there in front of the Riders fans.”

The Great Britain senior player is the first signing announced by the Riders as they continue to finalise the roster for the 2020-21 season.

Ward-Hibbert leaves Riders

Riders Managing Director Russell Levenston has today confirmed that guard Josh Ward-Hibbert will not return next season.

Ward-Hibbert who still had a year to run on his contract, was contacted by another team while under contract with the Riders and he has decided to opt out of the second year.

Josh joined the programme initially with the Loughborough side before progressing to Rob Paternostro’s team in the 2016-17 season. Josh represented the Riders 91 times winning 7 trophies including two treble winning seasons.

“He’s a great talent and we have invested in him over the past four seasons to a point were we feel he is in a position to push for a GB spot. So naturally we’re disappointed that Josh has decided to leave us,” reflected Levenston.

“We thank him for his efforts whilst in a Riders shirt and wish him well for the future.”

In some more promising news for the Riders, Levenston also confirmed there will be some player announcements around the corner.

“We have several players already signed and we’ll be making those announcements over the coming weeks. We’re really pleased with the way the pieces are coming together and looking forward to seeing this exciting team back on court at the Morningside Arena. Watch this space!”

2019-20 BBL season cancelled

The British Basketball League (BBL) announced today that the remainder of the current 2019/20 season will be cancelled following the continued impact of coronavirus.

The statement read that member clubs unanimously agreed that there was no viable option to allow for the season to be completed in a safe and meaningful manner after the season was originally postponed on 17 March.

The League had been working alongside the basketball national governing bodies (NGBs) of Basketball England and Basketball Scotland and the British Basketball Federation, as well as following advice from FIBA (International Basketball Federation) and the UK Government to explore all the available options to resume play.

Following the cancellation of the season, and based on multiple teams mathematically capable of winning, the independent directors of the BBL Management Board agreed that there would be no winner of the championship title.

Looking ahead, the British Basketball League has also announced plans for the 2020/21 season, as the lockdowns start to slowly ease, and sports start to resume across the UK and the world. Announcing plans for the BBL Trophy, BBL Cup and Championship competitions, British basketball fans will see even more games being played over the season as a change to the Championship competition sees teams face each other three times over the course of the season.

Our supporters are the heartbeat of our club. In the light of today’s announcement we don’t want any of our supporters to worry about their tickets, we will be in contact with all those supporters affected in the coming weeks.

A further announcement regarding the new season-tickets will also be made soon.

Managing Director Russell Levenston commented “First and foremost we would like to send our best wishes to all of our supporters and their families who have been affected by the pandemic over the last few months. As ever the support we have had this season as a whole has been incredible and it is really valued and hugely appreciated.”

“We thank them for their patience and we can’t wait to be back on court with the Riders family in the autumn. We will be making many announcements, including next season’s roster, over the next few months and will continue to keep fans updated on our social-media channels.”

Season Recap: Namon Wright

Games played: 24

Points Per Game: 15.8

Rebounds Per Game: 4.9

Assists per game: 1.75

Namon Wright joined the Riders in the summer of 2019 following graduation from the University of Colorado. Namon joined the Riders with the reputation as a talented scorer of the ball from the perimeter and did not disappoint in his rookie professional season.

Wright was the Riders leading scorer in the 2019/20 season averaging 15.8 points per game on an excellent 46.7% from the two and 43.9 from three. Namon also displayed a good rebounding ability from the ring averaging 6.2 rebounds per game in the BBL Cup.

Coach Paternostro thought Namon had a good rookie season and has all the tools to go on and have a very successful professional career. “Namon was an exciting player for us this season. He showed the ability to shoot the ball from long range and used his athleticism to be an effective player in the bbl. From day one You could see he has a lot of tools and because of that he is a guy that has tremendous potential in professional basketball.”

Key Performances

November 1st v Newcastle Eagles – BBL Cup

Stat line: 19 points (6-10 FG), 6 rebounds, 2 steals

The Leicester Riders travelled to the North East to take on the Newcastle Eagles as the two teams were set to do battle for the second time in the BBL Cup. Namon got the first score of the game scoring a highly contested layup inside but no team was able to take control of the game in the early exchanges. Wright knocked down a pair of three throws with 3 minutes left on the clock before the Eagles took control of the final 2 minutes leading at the end of the quarter 25-18. Wright got the first score of the second quarter with another crafty layup inside but the Riders failed to make inroads into the Eagles lead as the Riders went into the half time break down 6. The Riders came out firing in the second half and Namon set the tone with an early three before getting fouled driving to the basket and converting the and one at the line. Wright continued to take over the third quarter with a floating layup inside and knocking down another two free throws as the Riders regained the lead heading into the fourth quarter up 57-59. Namon continued to score around the basket with ease in the fourth scoring his fourth layup of the game which sparked another Riders run. The Riders lead by five heading into the final minute as the Eagles looked to foul and make the Riders miss from the line. Wright knocked down the final two free throws of the game as the Riders ran out victorious 69-76.

December 6th v Plymouth Raiders – BBL Championship

Stat line: 23 points (7-17 FG), 3 rebounds, 4 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Plymouth Raiders at the Morningside Arena in the first game of the BBL Championship. The teams exchanged baskets in the opening minute as Wright got involved with a sweet scooping layup before knocking down a fading mid range jumper followed by a three from the ring as the Riders won the first quarter 26-24. The Riders began to pull away in the second quarter hitting a number of threes with Namon getting in on the act. Wright scored a tough lefty layup and a corner three with a minute left in the quarter as the Riders went into the half time break up 54-40. The Raiders game out strong in the third quarter cutting the Riders lead to just 6 points heading into the final quarter. The Riders regained their lead in the fourth quarter after some early scores and they never looked back continuing to get stops and easy scores on the break as they ran out victorious 97-79.

February 14th v Newcastle Eagles – BBL Championship

Stat line: 29 points (9-12 FG), 6 rebounds, 2 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Newcastle Eagles for the final time this season as Namon Wright exploded for a season high 29 points. Namon once again got the Riders off the mark, this time with two early free throws before knocking down a mid range jumper with 5 minutes left in the quarter. Namon went on to knock down 4-4 free throws to finish the quarter as the Riders went into the break up 26-16. The Riders continued to build on their lead in the second quarter as Wright knocked down a three with three minutes left in the quarter as the Riders headed into the half time break up 49-34. Namon made another three mid way through the third as the Riders continued to dominate heading into the final period up 71-52. Namon and the Riders exploded in the fourth quarter, Namon entered the game with 6 minutes left in the game and immediately scored a three followed by two sweet finger rolls. Namon capped a great personal and team performance with a deep three as the Riders ran out winners 101-63 in a record breaking win over the Eagles.

Season Recap: Corey Johnson

Games played: 10

Points Per Game: 12.4

Rebounds Per Game: 3.9

Assists per game: 2.1

Corey Johnson arrived in Leicester in late January after starting the season with Spanish LEB Silver side Zornotza. Johnson hit the ground running w providing the Riders with another lethal shooter from behind the three point line as well as excellent energy on the defensive end.

Johnson quickly built a reputation for himself as one of the deadliest marksmen from behind the three point line across the league after some impressive shooting displayed in his first few games for the Riders. Johnson finished the season averaging 7.9 three point field goal attempts per game and season highs of 32 points and 10 three point field goals made against the Surrey Scorchers in February. Despite impressing individually the Riders form also improved following Johnson’s arrival as they went on to win 6 of their next 7 games since he joined Coach Paternostro’s team.

Coach Paternostro knew that Corey was going to have a big impact on his team when they signed him in January. “He was someone that we had recruited in the summer so we knew him very well and knew he would impact our team. His three point shooting was very important for us, he had some big games and hit some big ones but it also really opened up the floor for our offense. We were very impressed with his energy and his ability to defend. He played excellent 1 on 1 defence and was also an excellent team defender who played with a high IQ”.

Key Performances

January 31st 2020 v London Lions – BBL Championship       

Stat line: 18 points (6-14 FG), 4 rebounds, 4 assists

In just his second game in Leicester Corey and Riders took on defending BBL Champions the London Lions at the Morningside Arena. The Riders got off to a hot start offensively and opened up a early lead as Johnson and the second unit entered the game midway through the first quarter. Johnson nailed a three as the Riders took a 20-10 lead into the quarter break. Corey  and the Riders continued to rally in the second quarter as he scored a layup on the break as the Riders extended their lead to 14 at the half. Unfortunately the Lions battled back in the third quarter as the Riders offence dried up, the gap was just 3 points heading into the final period. Corey came to life in the final period as the Riders re gained the momentum. An early three steadied the ship before he knocked down another 3 two minutes later to extend the lead back to 7 points. With the lead back at just 4 points with a minute 30 left in the ball game before aa Johnson layup made it a three shot game. Corey scored 5 points in the final minute of the game to see the Riders over the line 83-76.

February 8th v Surrey Scorchers – BBL Championship

Stat line: 32 points (11-19 FG), 5 rebounds, 4 assists

The Riders travelled to Surrey to take on the Scorchers as the two teams did battle for the first time this season. Corey Johnson put on an all time great shooting performance as he knocked down 10 3s on the way to a game high 32 points. The two teams exchanged buckets in the early stages, Johnson entered the game midway through the first period and quickly knocked down three catch and shoot threes as the Riders went into the quarter break up 3 points. Johnson’s hot shooting continued as he hit a sweet step back three to get going in the second quarter before hitting another from the top of the three as the Riders went into the half time break down just two points. The Scorchers came out the break the hotter of the two teams but another two Johnson threes out of a Coach Paternostro time out got the Riders going. Corey hit his eighth three of the night with two minutes left in the quarter but it was the Scorchers who went into the fourth quarter up 2. Corey got the Riders going in the fourth with another three to start the quarter as the Riders made a run. With the game tied with just 9 seconds to go a Namon Wright long two secured the win for the Riders on a night that would be remembered for unreal shooting performance by Corey Johnson.

Season Recap: Jordan Spencer
Games played: 10
Points Per Game: 5.30
Rebounds Per Game: 3.00
Assists per game: 6.2

Jordan Spencer joined the Leicester Riders in January after leaving German Pro A side Schalke where he started the 2019/20 season. Spencer provided the Riders with efficient minutes off the bench following his arrival as he stepped into the back up guard role previously filled by Rema Lascelles before he was side-lined with a hand injury.

Spencer’s ability to lead the team and distribute the ball became key components of the Riders offence as their form picked up following his Arrival. The Milton Keynes born Guard averaged 6.2 assists per game which was enough for 7thin the league despite coming off the bench and he also shot an excellent 85.7% from the free throw line over his 10 games for the club. Despite some impressive numbers Jordan’s importance to the Riders went beyond the stat sheet as the Riders won 6 out of their next 7 following his arrival in Leicester.

Head Coach Rob Paternostro was impressed with what Spencer brought to the team. “I thought he did very well when he came in. It gave us another excellent passer who did a great job of running the offense and being a playmaker for others. I think we won 6 out of 7 after he joined the team, his arrival gave us good balance and made everyone better.”

Key Performances

February 8th 2020 v Surrey Scorchers – BBL Championship

Stat line: 6 points, 1 rebound, 11 assists

The Riders travelled down to Surrey to take on the Scorchers for the first time this season. The game got off to a slow start with both teams trading buckets in the early exchanges. Jordan entered the game with 5 minutes left in the quarter and quickly got his first assist from a Corey Johnson three as the Riders took a slight 2 point lead into the quarter break. The second quarter began in similar fashion with the teams continuing to exchange blows, Spencer kept the Riders ticking over with a tidy assist to Andy Thomson for two before assisting another Johnson three pointer and getting in on the act himself with a sweet finger roll inside. Spencer fed Nelson-Henry inside as the Riders got going in the second half however it was the Scorchers who managed to jump out to a 9 point lead before two more Corey Johnson threes cut the deficit and another Spencer finger roll cut the gap to just two heading into the fourth quarter. The Spencer to Johnson connection continued to start the fourth as Jordan found Corey for another three ball to put the Riders back up by one. Spencer then found Nelson-Henry out on the break as the Riders made a run. However, no team was able to pull away before a Namon Wright long two gave the Riders a two point lead with 8 seconds left which was enough for the Riders to see out the game.

February 14th 2020 v Newcastle Eagles – BBL Championship

Stat line: 4 points, 4 steals, 10 assists

The Leicester Riders and Newcastle Eagles did battle for the Final time in the BBL Championship as the Riders looked to take the season series 2-0. The Riders made a quick start to the game opening up an early lead, as usual Spencer was injected into the game midway through the first quarter and continued the Riders momentum finding Ward-Hibbert for three to close our the first quarter up 26-16. In the second quarter Spencer once again found Ward-Hibbert for a score this time for an easy two in transition as the Riders continued to rally heading into the half time break up 49-34. Spencer racked up another two assists in the third quarter as he continued his fine passing display and the Riders kept up their offensive masterclass taking their lead to 21 heading into the fourth. With the gam already out of the Eagles reach the Riders didn’t slow down in the fourth playing some great team basketball which included 4 assists and a breakaway dunk on the break from Spencer as the Riders took the win 101-63.

Season Recap: Josh Ward-Hibbert
Games played: 21
Points Per Game: 10.76
Rebounds Per Game: 6.8
Assists per game: 1.3

Following a breakout season last campaign Josh Ward-Hibbert cemented himself as one of Coach Paternostro’s most consistent performers this season.

Now in his fifth season with the club Josh looks as comfortable as ever out on the court which is reflected in his career highs of 10.76 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. Josh also shot the ball extremely efficiently over the course of the season shooting 54.6% from 2-point range. Ward-Hibbert also recorded 5 double doubles on the season which highlights his excellent rebounding ability for a man of his size.

Coach Paternostro was impressed with the season that Josh had despite battling injury after an excellent start to the campaign. “Josh had a great start to the season. He was playing very well scoring and rebounding at a high level but unfortunately, he picked up a knee injury which side-lined him for a while but he battled through that for the rest of the season. His game continues to develop every year. He showed that this season His shooting ball handling and playmaking continue to develop. Josh plays hard, he is the type of player that will never get out worked or out hustled, he goes 100 percent every day.”

Key Performances

September 20th v Sheffield Sharks – BBL Cup

Stat line: 19 points (7-13 FG), 14 rebounds, 4 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Sheffield Sharks at the Morningside Arena as they opened up their 2019/20 BBL Cup Campaign. Josh made an impact early collecting a couple of rebounds and finishing back to back plays inside with layups just 3 minutes into the game as the Riders won the first period 21-14. Josh sprung into life in the second period collecting 5 defensive boards and scoring 10 points as he led the Riders into the half time break up 50-28. Josh continued to rack up the rebounds in the third quarter collecting three more whilst he continued to hurt the Sharks inside scoring easy twos and getting to the foul line. The Riders dominance continued as they held a 65-40 lead going into the fourth quarter. Josh nailed a three to get the Riders going in the fourth as the Sharks tried to battle back but it wasn’t enough as the Riders ran out winners 75-54.

October 4th v Newcastle Eagles – BBL Cup

Stat line: 15 points (5-14 FG), 12 rebounds, 6 assists

The Riders took on their rivals the Newcastle Eagles at the Morningside Arena as the two teams did battle for the first time this season as Josh posted another double double. It was a high scoring first quarter as the Eagles jumped out to an early lead before the Riders battled back, Josh has a busy opening period on the glass collecting 4 offensive boards. Josh got the scoreboard moving in the second quarter scoring 2 layups and knocking down 4/4 free throws however the Eagles continued to cause the Riders troubles inside and took a 10 point lead into half time. Despite the Eagles keeping the Riders at arms length for much of the second half it was an outstanding effort from Ward-Hibbert who battles throughout racking up 8 points and 6 rebounds in the second half but unfortunately it wasn’t enough as the Eagles took the win 86-94.

February 14th v Newcastle Eagles – BBL Championship

Stat line: 18 points (8-12 FG) 10 rebounds, 3 assists

The Leicester Riders once again took on the Newcastle Eagles at the Morningside Arena as they did battle for the final time this season in the BBL Championship. It was yet another outstanding effort from Josh Ward-Hibbert who posted another double double against the Eagles. It wa an impressive first quarter from the Riders who jumped out to an early lead, Josh entered the game at the 5 minute mark and quickly scored a driving layup and a three as the Riders won the period 26-16. Josh and the Riders continued to punish the Riders inside in the second quarter with multiple easy scores in the paint as they extended their lead. A Ward-Hibbert three followed by a layup in the final minute of the half saw the Riders go into the break up 49-34. The Riders didn’t take their foot off the gas in the second half, Josh got in on the action late with an offensive rebound and put back as the Riders went into the final period up 71-52. The Riders didn’t slow down in the final period, Josh got the Riders off the mark with a strong layup inside on the break as the Riders continued to dominate running out 101-63 winners.

Season Recap: Jamell Anderson
Games played: 26
Points Per Game: 11.03
Rebounds Per Game: 4.2
Assists per game: 3.03

Jamell Anderson returned to the Riders this season fulfilling the second year of his two year contract with the club. The Nottingham born Forward is one of the most talented defensive players in the league being able to guard all positions and on most nights is tasked with guarding the opponent’s most potent offensive threat.

Anderson had arguably his best season to date in a Riders jersey over the 2019/20 season posted a season high of 23 points whilst shooting an extremely efficient 57.6% from the floor and 68% from 2 over the course of the season. Jamell also put in some outstanding defensive performances over the course of the season and averaged the most minutes per game on coach Paternostro’s roster averaging 30.04 minutes per game.

Coach Paternostro was impressed with what Jamell brought to his team this season. “I thought Jamell was rock solid for us this year, his ability to play a lot of minutes and at multipolar positions was valuable to our roster. Defensively he is as valuable as anyone in our league, he guards bigs and guards and he has the energy and stamina to be effective on that end of the floor. Offensively he was very efficient, his FG percentage and three point percentage were very good”

Despite the sudden end to the season Jamell believes the team learnt a lot and is trying to make the most out of the circumstances we currently find ourselves in due to the Coronavirus. “I think personally I enjoyed the ups and downs. I think every loss is a lesson and although we didn’t have that many I feel like as a team and me personally they were great learning points which I believe lead up to us becoming our best version this year.

Another year under Rob as a coach and I still love competing with him and of course in front of the amazing Leicester Riders fans and family.

Obviously not the way anyone expected or wanted the year to finish but I think I’ll hold my head high knowing I gave my everything when I stepped on court and will continue to do the same for the rest of my career.

Right now I don’t have a statement as such about the current situation other than I can’t commend and show my admiration and love for those fighting the effects of this pandemic. Now more than ever I share my heart and well wishes to all those effected and pray that we all find ways to get through this unusual situation we find ourselves in.

To put on a riders Jersey and I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I come back stronger physically and mentally for my next opportunity to step on court.

I’m training almost every day at home and I’m reading and stretching my mind as much as possible to make sure that even under these circumstances I’m finding ways to grow and enjoy life.”

Key Performances

September 29th 2019 v Manchester Giants – BBL Cup

Stat Line: 21 points (8-12 FG), 5 rebounds, 2 steals

The Leicester Riders travelled up to Manchester to take on the Giants as they looked to move to 3-0 on the season. Jamell made a quick start of the game knocking down a three early in the first quarter before finishing a fast break with a dunk to ended the lead to 7 points. Jamell knocked down another three with two minutes left in the second quarter as the Riders went into the half time break up 20-44. The Giants tried to make a run early in the third quarter but the Riders came back at them at the end of the period behind a late 4 points on the break from Jamell off two sweet dimes from Kyron Cartwright. The Giants were unable to mount a comeback in the fourth as the Riders ran out 57-96 winners behind a game high 21 from Jamell.

November 8th 2019 v Glasgow Rocks – BBL Cup

Stat line: 20 points (5-10 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist

The Riders took on the Glasgow Rocks at the Morningside Arena after defating them up in Scotland earlier in the season. Jamell made a quick start scoring 8 of the Riders first 10 points of the game as the Riders took a 6 point lead into the quarter break. The Riders went in a tear in the second quarter as they won the period 29-16, Jamell made his contribution to the run scoring 7 points including another three from the corner. The Riders dominance continued in the second half as they won the third and fourth quarters despite being out of sight, Jamell knocked down another three and finished strong three times on the break as the Riders ran our victorious 93-58.

December 6th 2019 v Plymouth Raiders – BBL Championship

Stat line: 23 points (9-10 FG), 9 rebounds, 2 steals

Jamell and the Riders took on the Plymouth Raiders at the Morningside Arena in their opening fixture of the BBL Championship. Anderson knocked down a three on the opening possession of the ball game to get the Riders going before slamming one down on the break just a minute later. Anderson then knocked down a pair of three throws and scored a neat layup inside to give the Riders a slight two point lead at the end of the first quarter. The Riders continued to put the pressure on I the second quarter extending their lead to 12 at the half. Plymouth made a quick start to the second half but a Jamell layup steadied the ship and got the Riders going, despite the Raiders closing the gap to just 8 heading into the final period. Jamell helped the Riders extend the lead at the beginning of the fourth scoring two floating layups as the Riders pulled away once again, this time it was too late for a Raiders fightback as the Riders ran out victorious 97-79.

Riders fans pick Team of the Decade

A big thank you to all the Riders fans who voted this last week, the public votes are all in for the Fans Team of the Decade!

A huge thank you is owed to all the players who have contributed to the club over the past 10 years, they have all played a part in the most successful period of the clubs’ history under the guidance of our most successful coach, Rob Paternostro.

The combined impressions from the vote posts reached over 41,000 people. We had 2,600 votes cast by fans before the Monday 9am deadline on both Twitter and Instagram platforms.

🔥🔥🔥 And here it is… after 2600 votes… the Fans Team of the Decade as voted for by you on Twitter & Instagram!

1 – @Con_Air11 
2 – @BernardiniTyler 
3 – @Jamell_A 
4 – Pierre Hampton
5 – @DeuceBeGoinIn #BritishBasketball pic.twitter.com/xl8Yi1TKRF

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) April 6, 2020

Conner Washington

With 39% percent of the vote Conner is a firm fans favourite in a tough field of options with the likes of Cameron Rundles, Zaire Taylor and Neil Watson in his category. Current GB International, Conner won 10 major trophies making 261 appearances for the Riders.

Tyler Bernardini

Former club captain, won the vote with 56% of fans voting for Tyler. Bernardini has an impressive trophy to game ratio having picked up 8 major trophies in just 167 appearances for the Riders.

Jamell Anderson

The popular forward won more votes than any other player with 299 (equated to 49% of the vote for the three spot). Jamell has been a regular fixture for the Riders with 274 appearances collecting 7 trophies.

Pierre Hampton

Pierre won the four spot with 44% of the vote. Pierre played 114 times for the Riders having 231 assists, and won 7 trophies during that time.

Rashad Hassan

Rashad won the closest category winning with 28% percent of the vote ahead of Tim Williams, Shane Walker and Andy Thomson who were all within a handful of votes. Hassan had 634 rebounds in 86 games with Leicester, that’s 7.4 a game!

Congratulations to all the players involved in the fans vote – we hope to see you all at the Morningside Arena sometime soon.

Season Recap: Rema Lascalles
Games played: 9
Points Per Game: 2.6
Rebounds Per Game: 2.8
Assists Per Game: 4.4

British Guard Rema Lascelles returned for his third season with the Riders this summer after winning four pieces of silverware in that time.

Lascelles’ battled injury throughout the 2019/20 season only playing 9 games across all competitions, despite this he still contributed his usual steady minutes at the back up guard position and was always reliable when called upon by coach Paternostro. Although he only played 9 games Rema averaged a career high 4.4 assists per game, had a season high 11 assists and posted a double double against the Glasgow Rocks when the Riders were without starting Guard Kyron Cartwright.

Coach Paternostro highlighted Lascelles as a big miss for the Riders during some important games in their schedule. “It was unfortunate that Rema picked up the hand injury, it really affected his season and ours. We missed him in some important games, When healthy he helped us win games. Early in the season when we played Glasgow and Kyron was injured he produced and came up with an excellent performance.”

Key Performances

October 20th 2019 v Glasgow Rocks – BBL Cup

Stat line: 13 points (5/5 FG), 4 rebounds, 11 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Glasgow Rocks north of the border as Rema Lascelles was inserted into the starting line up as Kyron Cartwright remained on the side line injured. It didn’t take long for Rema to get involved in the action as he drove to the basketed for a smooth layup before finding Namon Wright open for three in transition. Rema capped off the quarter splitting a pair of free throws as the Riders went into the quarter break up 17-21. The Riders came out hot in the second quarter with Lascelles pulling the strings, finding Chuku for three before Nelson-Henry and Thomson inside for easy twos. Lascelles then made a three of his own before finding Joe Scott for the Riders third three of the quarter which took them into the half time break up 18. With the Riders out of sight at the half Lascelles kept the team ticking over in the second half scoring another 6 points and handing out 4 dimes as the Riders cruised to a 66-88 win over the rocks.

November 8th 2019 v Glasgow Rocks – BBL Cup

Stat line: 4 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Glasgow Rocks at the Morningside Arena as they looked to move 2-0 on the season against the Rocks. Despite coming off the bench this time Rema’s influence on the game remained as important as in the reverse fixture. Up by 6 at the end of the first quarter the Riders made a run in the second as Lascelles got the Riders going on the break with two sweet assists to Darien Nelson-Henry to give the Riders a 20 point half time lead. It was more of the same from the Riders and Lascelles who knocked down two more free throws and handed out 3 assists in the period as the Riders were cruising ahead 79-48. It was a low scoring fourth period with the Riders winning it 14-10 which meant the Riders sealed a 93-58 victory.

Team of The Decade

This week on Twitter we are polling the 2010-2020 Team of the Decade!

We have five spots available, one for each position. We have narrowed the players down to just four for each spot and need your help in voting for which players you’d like to see in the Team of the Decade.

We’ll leave the deciding factors up to you whether its the ten trophies for Conner Washington, 2685 points from Drew Sullivan or 172 blocks in 117 games from Trayvonn Wright! It’s now in your hands!

Monday we are starting with the point guards so keep an out on our twitter feed!

📣 Calling all Riders fans! 

We need your help to pick our Team of the Decade – first up the point guard spot… Vote on the thread below 👇 pic.twitter.com/4fmzTaAZLY

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) March 30, 2020

📣 Calling all Riders fans! 

We need your help to pick our Team of the Decade – next up the shooting guard spot… Vote on the thread below 👇 pic.twitter.com/7u2Xaj0hc1

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) March 31, 2020

📣 Calling all Riders fans! 

We need your help to pick our Team of the Decade – next up is the three spot… Vote on the thread below 👇 pic.twitter.com/U88qWS9ZyE

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) April 1, 2020

📣 Calling all Riders fans! 

We need your help to pick our Team of the Decade – next up is the four spot… Vote on the thread below 👇 pic.twitter.com/lOmLAz2YCk

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) April 2, 2020

📣 Calling all Riders fans! 

We need your help to pick our Team of the Decade – completing the starting five is the center… Vote on the thread below 👇 pic.twitter.com/3JtGQIyovW

— Leicester Riders (@RidersBball) April 3, 2020

Season Recap: Jesse Chuku
Games played: 26
Points Per Game: 8.46
Rebounds Per Game: 4.34
Blocks Per Game: 1.00

6’8 British Forward Jesse Chuku joined the Riders for the 2019/20 season following an 8-year stint plying his trade abroad in the USA, Greece and Spain.

The Lehigh University alumni brought an ability to stretch the floor on the offensive end this season with his sweet shooting stroke but he also brought an intensity on the defensive end averaging 1 block per game across all competitions. Although not a high volume scorer Chuku did have a season high of 22 points and shot the ball efficient all season shooting 45% from the field and 75% from the free throw line.

Coach Paternostro highlighted Jesse’s rim protection as a key ingredient to his teams success this season. “Jesse ability to defend the paint and protect the rim was very important for our team His size, length, and strength allowed him to defend anyone inside. He also has the ability to stretch the defence with his shooting ability which creates space inside for others to create.”

Chuku said that he enjoyed the challenge of competing everyday with this team. “I really enjoyed playing with this group of guys this season, we had a lot of fun strived to improve as individuals and as a team each and every day. We had a few good runs throughout the season and I feel we we’re just starting to play our best basketball when the season got postponed. It’s a shame the season has been postponed due to coronavirus but I am using the time to relax and recover in isolation as the season takes its toll on you mentally and physically.”

Key Performances

October 20th 2019 v Glasgow Rocks – BBL Cup

Stat Line: 21 points (7/11 FG), 6 rebounds, 3 steals

The Leicester Riders put on an impressive performance as they defeated the Glasgow Rocks on the road behind a game high 21 points from British Forward Jesse Chuku. Chuku got going early making 2/2 free throws to get himself off the mark with 4 minutes gone in the first period before knocking down a mid range jumper followed by a three to put the Riders up by 8. A further 7 points in the second period combined with some excellent defence around the basket propelled the Riders to a 18 point half time lead. It was more of the same from the Riders in the second half, Chuku was once again shooting the ball with his usual efficiency as he knock down another mid range jumper and a three as the Riders won the quarter by 6. With the Riders already out of sight by the fourth quarter not even a late run from the rocks was enough to trouble them as they ran out victorious 66-88.

October 26th 2019 v Manchester Giants – BBL Cup

Stat Line: 21 points (10/10 FG), 5 rebounds, 1 block

The Leicester Riders took on the Manchester Giants at the Morningside Arena as the teams met for the second time in the BBL Cup North group. It was a perfect shooting night for Chuku who knocked down all 10 of his field goal attempts for what was a joint season high of 21 points. What made Jesse’s perfect shooting night even more impressive was that only 2 of his points were around the basket the other 19 all came from mid range jumpers or three point field goals. Chuku’s 21 led the Riders in scoring as they defeated the Giants 102-70.

December 15th 2020 v Cheshire Phoenix – BBL Championship

Stat Line: 22 points (8/12 FG), 5 rebounds, 1 block

Jesse Chuku had his highest points tally of the season against the Cheshire Phoenix as the Riders unfortunately fell on the road. Chuku surpassed his previous season high of 21 points which he has reached on 2 occasions by pouring in 22 points against the Phoenix. The Londoner once again displayed his sweet shooting touch scoring several midrange jumpers and 2 threes as he caused trouble for the Nix all night. Unfortunately, another efficient performance from Jesse wasn’t enough as the Riders fell to the Phoenix 95-91 on the road.

Season Recap: Kyron Cartwright
Games played: 25
Points Per Game: 10.16
Rebounds Per Game: 4.56
Assists Per Game: 8.72

Kyron Cartwright joined the Riders following playing his rookie professional season in Hungary with Alba Fehervar  competing both domestically in the Hungarian first division and the FIBA Europe Cup.

Cartwright is a true Point Guard who’s ability to lead the team and distribute the ball was a key part of the Riders offence this season. Kyron’s elite court vision saw him finish second in the BBL Championship in assists with 8.80 per game, first across all competitions in assists with 8.72 per game and included season highs of 30 points and 19 assists.

Coach Paternostro was pleased with Kyron’s performance this past season and noted he had a unique ability to impact games without scoring. “Kyron speed and quickness was something the defence had to prepare for, his ability to see the floor was incredible, his passing was tremendous, he could dominate the game without even taking a shot. We loved what Kyron brought to our team this season”.

Cartwright was also pleased with the season however, admits it was frustrating the season has been postponed as the team was finding their form. “I thought personally and as a team we had a pretty good season, being a second year professional now I definitely felt more comfortable out there on the floor leading the team. As a team I feel like we were starting to play some of our best basketball right when we needed to so it’s a real shame that all our remaining fixtures have been postponed as who knows what we could’ve gone on to do.”

Key Performances

October 26th 2019 v Manchester Giants – BBL Cup

Stat line: 14 points (5/10 FG), 3 rebounds, 12 assists

The Leicester Riders and Manchester Giants did battle in the group stages of the BBL Cup as Kyron Cartwright posted his first double double in a Riders Jersey. Kyron got the Riders off the mark with a tough layup a minute into the contest followed by a trademark midrange jumper off the dribble as the Riders jumped out to an early 6 point led at the end of the first quarter. The Riders continued to assert themselves in the second quarter giving them a 20-44 half time lead with Cartwright running the show contributing 7 points and 7 assists. It was more of the same from the Riders and Cartwright in the second half as they continued to cause the Giants problems, Cartwright handed out another 5 assists and scored 7 points with a variety of crafty finishes around the basket as the Riders took the 57-96 victory to moved to 3-0 on the season.

December 6th 2019 v Plymouth Raiders – BBL Championship

Stat line: 11 points (3/7 FG), 8 rebounds, 19 assists

The Leicester Riders took on the Plymouth Raiders at the Morningside Arena as they opened up their 2019/20 BBL Championship campaign. It was yet another jaw dropping passing display from Kyron Cartwright who handed out a season high 19 assists. Cartwright set the tone early pushing the pace with two sweet dimes on the break before finding Andy Thomson for three to push the Riders out to an early 2 point lead and the end of the first quarter. The Riders came out hot in the second quarter scoring 4 threes in the period with Cartwright running the show dishing out a further five dimes including two flashy no look passes to Darien Nelson-Henry for easy finishes inside. The Raiders fought back in the third quarter winning the period 24-18 to close the gap to just 6 heading into the final period. Cartwright ignited the Riders run at the start of the fourth scoring a jump hook over Raiders guard Josh Wilcher before once again connecting with Nelson-Henry inside for two. Kyron saw the Riders over the line in the closing minutes finding Josh Ward-Hibbert on the break for two followed by Jesse Chuku for a jumper as he totalled 19 assists on the game and the Riders took a 96-79 win.

January 17th v Worcester Wolves – BBL Championship

Stat line: 30 points (12/21 FG) , 6 rebounds, 4 assists

Kyron Cartwright posted a career high 30 points as the Leicester Riders defeated the Worcester Wolves avenging their BBL Cup Semi Final loss to the Wolves two weeks earlier. Kyron put on his most impressive scoring display of the season causing the Wolves problems all evening. Cartwright got going early pushing the pace and finding lanes to the basket with ease as the Riders jumped out to an early 31-15 lead at the end of the first quarter. Worcester closed the gap in the second quarter winning it by 6 despite still being unable to control Cartwright who found his way into the lane at will. The second half was far closer with the Wolves pulling it back to just an 8 point game heading into the final quarter however it was Cartwright that sealed the deal for the Riders scoring 8 points including three clutch free throws in the final minute to secure a 4 point victory for the Riders.

Thank you for your continued support

Leicester Riders Chairman Kevin Routledge has thanked all Riders fans, after an outpouring of support following the postponement of the BBL 2019/20 season.

The BBL announced last Tuesday a suspension of the current season indefinitely, because of the national measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

No date has been set for a possible resumption to the season, with the BBL awaiting updated Government advice.

“These are challenging times for the Riders, and the BBL, in common with other professional leagues and clubs.”

“Indeed the challenges are being faced across a lot of sectors of industry in these unprecedented times, and so we have to be understanding, and keep a perspective.”

“In addition, we are rightly proud of the work in the community of our Foundation, but now their activities will be significantly curtailed, particularly due to the schools closure.”

“We are also extremely proud that we were the first club in the BBL to build their own venue, the Morningside Arena, and that too had to be closed to the public as of last Friday evening, with the most recent announcement by the Prime Minister.”

“The public generally may not be aware, but the Morningside Arena is owned by our charity, the Leicester Riders Foundation, and inevitably, as the largest indoor venue in the city, it has significant overheads.”

“If any of our supporters, or the public, wished to provide further support, donations to our Foundation will greatly assist us continuing with a reduced service.”

“The total loss of revenues to those three organisations, as a result of the suspension and closures, could reach £1 million, depending upon how long the closures continue.”

“This means it will take some time for us to recover.”

“We are exploring every opportunity to continue to make some use of the arena, in line with Government advice and guidelines, during these challenging times.”

“But we have been overwhelmed with messages of support from our players, fans, sponsors, funders and suppliers.”

“We are particularly thankful that we have not yet had a single request for a ticket refund for the advanced sales for the remaining Riders home games, which is hugely helpful to sustaining our businesses through these difficult times, while we find out if the season can resume.”

“In addition, all our sponsors have remained very supportive and are offering their help and expertise.”

“Also, all the players and staff of the Riders, and the staff of our Foundation and Arena, have stepped up and voluntarily agreed short term reductions in wages to help get us through these unprecedented conditions.”

“And we have been delighted with the support from our main suppliers, who have shown great flexibility in terms of payment, notwithstanding some having their own difficulties.”

“We have also had support and advice from the Council, which has been very helpful, particularly recognising that the demands on their leadership and staff are immense in these circumstances.”

“We particularly welcome the announcement by the Chancellor on Friday night, to support keeping people in work. That will be boost for all businesses like ours.”

“We are also aware that the BBL is having conversations with national government to see what support might be forthcoming because of the damage to our sport.”

“The Riders continue preparations so that we can restart to finish the current season, although understandably some of our overseas players like Kyron Cartwright, Corey Johnson and Namon Wright returned to the US, in light of pending or threatened travel bans by American authorities.”

“We will address the strength of our playing squad, once clarity is provided on what happens next.”

“The Riders will also accelerate our preparations for next season, and in that regard we will launch our season tickets offer for the 2020/21 season later this week.”

“Any of our fans who can afford to buy theirs soon would make a huge difference to the short and medium term sustainability of the Leicester Riders.”

“I understand that many of our fans and their families are facing similar financial uncertainty, but even a small contribution could go a long way.”

“Meanwhile everyone at the Club, the Foundation and at the Arena remains resolute, and determined to stay safe, comply with Government guidelines, and get back, in due course, to normal business.”

Preview: Riders v Giants

Following defeat on the road in Bristol last weekend the Riders will be looking to bounce back this Friday as they take on the Manchester Giants at the Morningside Arena, here’s all you need to know about the two teams.

About the Giants

Manchester Giants are looking to build for the future after a new ownership group pulled together by former player Jamie Edwards took charge a month ago.

It has been lean pickings since the Giants return to the BBL in 2012, and the new group will look to turn that around, but, with the deadline passed for player signings this season, much of the change is likely to occur in the off-season.

Current Head Coach Danny Byrne is in his third season with the club.

Mancunians Callum Jones and his brother James Jones provide experience in the backcourt, aided by Latvian sharpshooter Ingus Bankevics, Spanish forward Eduard Arques and local guard Jack Hudson. Benson Arogbo and Zak Powell provide support off the bench

Americans Jonathan Mulmore and Del’vin Dickerson have been dispensed with, replaced by Londoner Allie Fullah and Brit David Ulph.

Form Guide

Manchester has yet to win in the BBL Championship, but is showing much improved form in recent weeks. They took Plymouth Raiders to overtime in a home defeat, racked up 80 points away at Sheffield Sharks in a 92-80 loss, and then took Cheshire close last Sunday, before Phoenix prevailed at home, 99-88.

After winning 6 in a row, Riders are now on a 2 game losing streak, after going down away to London Lions and Bristol Flyers.

The teams met twice in the Group stages of the BBL Cup, Riders winning both, 96-57 in Manchester, and 102-70 at home.

Players to Watch

Captain Callum Jones pulls the strings for the Giants from the point guard position, and he had a typical display against Cheshire last time out, scoring 16 points at a highly efficient 80% shooting, as well as dishing out 2 assists in 34 minutes of play.

For Leicester, the ability to get Darien Nelson-Henry engaged in the offence is often key to their performances. He is averaging 13 points and 5 rebounds per game, and shoots over 60% from the floor.

Tickets are still available for Friday’s game, CLICK HERE to purchase yours!

Three Things to look out for this weekend v Giants

The Leicester Riders take on the Manchester Giants this Friday at the Morningside Arena as they look to bounce back from last Weekend’s defeat in Bristol. Here’s three things to look out for ahead of Friday’s game.

Riders aim to move 3-0 on the season against the Giants

In their two meetings so far this season the Riders have had great success against the Manchester Giants overcoming the Giants on both occasions. The Riders have stamped their authority on the defensive end against the Giants in both their previous meetings holding the Giants to 57 points in the first meeting and just 70 points in the second meeting. Although the Giants are yet to win a game in the BBL Championship they have pushed the Raiders, Sharks and Phoenix close in their last 3 games. The Riders will once again need to be locked in on the defensive end of the floor if they are to defeat the Giants on Friday as the Giants have averaged a much improved 86 points per game across those three games.

Improved execution down the stretch 

In their defeat to Bristol last weekend the Riders struggled to get their offence going down the stretch, Coach Paternostro mentioned that he was happy with the shots they were getting however they could not get them to drop. Coach Rob mentioned that it is important he sees a reaction from his team this weekend who in previous weeks showed great execution on their way to a 6 game winning streak.

Riders look to get back to winning ways

The Riders were the most impressive team in the league over the month of February winning all four of their games in impressive fashion however, in their last two games the Riders have stumbled falling to the Lions and Flyers. Typically, Coach Rob has his men playing their best basketball right when it matters at the end of the season, and Friday’s game v Manchester provides the perfect opportunity to get back to winning ways. The Riders face a busy April with 6 games as the BBL Championship comes to a close with everything to still play for the Riders.

Tickets are still available for Friday’s game, CLICK HERE to purchase yours!

Rob’s Reflections on a tough visit to Bristol and an opportunity to bounce back this Weekend

Leicester Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro was left frustrated after Riders let another game get away, as Bristol Flyers came from behind to beat Riders for the second time this season 73-69 on Friday night.

Riders had a first half lead of 13 points, and were still up 9 points at halftime, and were 6 points to the good entering the final quarter, but failed to execute down the stretch.

Josh Ward-Hibbert led the way for Riders with 13 points and 7 rebounds and Darien Nelson Henry added 12 points and 7 rebounds.

“We let another game get away from us and it really should not have happened.”

“We controlled most of the game, but struggled to execute when it mattered.”

“This has happened a couple of times too often this season, and we must address it as a team.”

“It was not a matter of their defence, because we got the openings we wanted, and very few of our misses were poor shots which is a positive on the offensive end.”

“We still have a lot of work to do, to get this team to its potential and I will be looking for a reaction this week.”

“Fortunately everyone is dropping games at the minute as the league is so competitive, so we have the chance to recover.”

“The guys now have the perfect opportunity to bounce back this Friday.”

Riders now look to get back to winning ways in the BBL Championship when they take on Manchester Giants this Friday night in an 8pm Tip at the Morningside Arena. Riders have already beaten the Giants twice in the BBL Cup, 96-57 in Manchester, and 102-70 at home. CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!

Report: Riders fall to Flyers on the road

Leicester Riders slipped to a fourth league defeat of the season, going down 73-69 at Bristol Flyers. In a similar pattern to their trophy defeat in the south west, Riders had led for long periods, only for a fourth quarter rally to see the home side over the line.

Jesse Chuku hit a couple of early three pointers before Josh Ward-Hibbert scored eight consecutive points for the Riders as they opened an 18-11 lead.

Levi Bradley pulled his team back into the game, but Leicester would post eight points without reply to lead 28-17 early in the second quarter. Namon Wright’s back-to-back three-pointers kept Leicester’s lead in double figures, but Bristol were able to make inroads into the deficit just before half-time.

Corey Johnson was able to send Riders into the interval with a nine-point lead as he connected from behind the arc for the final score of the first half.

The home side then started the second half strongly to trim Riders’ advantage to only three-points as Lewis Champion got the scoreboard ticking for his team, but Ward-Hibbert and Johnson re-establish a small cushion a 52-44 with twelve minutes to go.

Early in the final quarter, Bristol posted seven points without reply to move 55-54 ahead and for the next five minutes the lead went back and forth. With 2:30 to play, Riders trailed by one-point, but Champion helped the Flyers to a 72-66 advantage.

Andy Thomson halved that with a three-pointer and though he had to more attempts to level the game from behind the arc, neither dropped and Riders slipped to a second consecutive victory against the Flyers.

Riders struggled to find consistency in their shooting and as such whilst they had four players in double-figures, their top score was only 13 from Josh Ward-Hibbert.

The Riders return Home to the Morningside Arena next Friday when they take on the Manchester Giants in the BBL Championship, CLICK HERE to get your tickets!

Coach Paternostro Claims February Kevin Cadle Molten BBL Coach of the Month award

Head Coach Rob Paternostro has claimed the Kevin Cadle Molten BBL Coach of the Month after leading the Riders to a perfect four wins from four in the month of February.

The Riders impressive Month included their largest ever win over the Newcastle Eagles after they defeated their rivals 101-63 at the Morningside Arena as well as gutsy road wins against the Surrey Scorchers and Plymouth Raiders.

Coach Paternostro signed the Month off in style defeating the Sheffield Sharks 87-80 on February 29th as Rob celebrated his 500th game as Head Coach of the Riders.

New additions Corey Johnson and Jordan Spencer played a key part in the Riders change in fortune in the Month of February with the pair fully integrating into the squad adding extra bench depth to the Riders Roster. Johnson and Spencer’s additions now mean that the Riders have nine players averaging double figure minutes per game and and seven players averaging eight points per game or more.

The Riders return to the Morningside Arena on Friday March 13th when they take on the Manchester Giants, CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!

Rob’s reflections on 500 games in charge and a busy last weekend

Leicester Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro had a mixed weekend, as he went through the milestone for 500 games in the BBL as a coach, splitting a pair of games in the BBL Championship.

Riders had to work very hard for their sixth straight league win over Sheffield Sharks 87-80 on Saturday night, but then struggled to recover on the road on Sunday afternoon against the London Lions, going down heavily 99-65.

Against Sheffield, Riders led from the middle of the first quarter and had a twenty point lead midway through the third quarter, but the Sharks got back within a single shot in the final thirty seconds, before a Kyron Cartwright steal sealed the result.

Cartwright scored 10 points and dished out 11 assists, and Andy Thomson had a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. Namon Wright finished with 20 points on 67% shooting along with 5 assists.

Against the Lions Riders scored the first basket of the game, but the Lions scored the next 21 points and never looked back. Only Darien Nelson-Henry troubled the Lions with 17 points and 6 rebounds.

“It was disappointing on Sunday for sure, because we never got going.”

“These back-to-back games with so little recovery time are a mental as well as a physical challenge, and we did not handle it well.”

“The Sheffield performance was excellent at times, but they are always tough, physical affairs, and this one was no different.”

“The win took a lot out of us, because we were hanging on at the end.”

“But we know the Championship is going to be tight this year and we are still sitting on just 3 losses, as good as anybody.”

“it is about quickly putting that loss behind us and getting back on the horse.”

Riders now go on the road to Bristol Flyers this Friday night in the BBL Championship.

The Riders return to the Morningside Arena on Friday March 13th when they take on the Manchester Giants, CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!

Three things we learnt last Weekend

Last weekend the Leicester Riders defeated the Sheffield Sharks at the Morningside Arena on Saturday Night before falling to the London Lions on the Road the next day, here’s three things we learnt across the two games.

Depth makes the difference

The Leicester Riders continued their impressive form on Saturday Evening as they took down the Sheffield Sharks 87-80 at the Morningside Arena. It was the usual controlled performance on both ends of the floor from the Riders who won each of the first three quarters giving them a 12 point lead heading in to the final period. It was the Riders strength in numbers that got them over the line, with 6 players contributing 9 or more points it the Riders versatility offensively was too much for the Sharks to handle. Kyron Cartwright and Andy Thomson led the way for the Riders contributing double doubles of 10 points and 11 assists and 12 points and 13 rebounds respectively.

Darien Nelson-Henry continues to produce

6’11 American Centre Darien Nelson-Henry has been in fine form for the Riders over recent weeks arguably playing his best basketball since joining the Riders in October. Nelson-Henry is averaging 15.4 points per game on an outstanding 68.2 percent shooting from the floor over his past 4 games which has contributed to the Riders win streak. Darien has been a major presence inside for the Riders using his back to basket playing style to outmuscle defenders on the defensive end but also clogging up the paint on defence making it tough for opponents to score around the basket.

Win Streak snapped at 6 by Lions

Prior to playing the London Lions on Sunday afternoon the Riders were firing on all cylinders on a 6 game win streak in the BBL Championship and playing their best basketball of the season. The defending BBL Champions got off to a quick start and never looked back as their hot shooting kept the Riders at arm length for a majority of the contest. The Riders now have the opportunity to bounce back on Friday Evening against the Bristol Flyers before they return to the Morningside Arena to take on the Manchester Giants on March 13th.

Tickets for the Riders v Giants clash are on sale now, CLICK HERE to purchase yours.

Preview: Riders at Lions

Following their 87-80 win over the Sheffield Sharks Yesterday Evening the Riders travel to London to take on the Lions in a 4pm tip.

About the Lions

The Lions are coming off their most successful season, including their first BBL Championship.

Head Coach Vince Macaulay has recently given up his ownership position with the club, to focus on his court side job.

Much of their excellent form, which has kept them at the top of the Championship this season, revolves around their big three – two time league MVP, point guard Justin Robinson, versatile American forward Brandon Peel, and GB forward Ovie Soko, the former Love Island star, and a European Club basketball veteran.

British forward Joe Ikhinmwin and British guard Andre Lockhart bring huge experience from the bench. The other positions include British guards Jules Dang Akodo, Jordan Whelan, Ogo Adeboye and Samuel Toluwase, all capable of stepping up on any given night, augmented by French centre Alioune Tew, and Ethiopian forward Buay Tuache.

Form Guide

The Lions started the season poorly, as they chopped and changed personnel, and they exited both cup competitions at an early stage.

The Lions lost to Riders 72-63 at the quarter-final stage of the BBL Cup, after going up by 18 points early on, but things were closer in the league, Riders winning 83-76 – both games in Leicester.

The Lions have won two straight in the Championship, at home to Cheshire, and away to Bristol. Riders went into the weekend having won 5 on the bounce.

Players to Watch

In their last win at Bristol, the Lions were without Soko, but got big contributions from Robinson and Peel who scored 14 points each, while Peel added 7 rebounds and Robinson 5 assists.

For Riders, ex-Lion Jordan Spencer showed fine form in the last victory over the Lions at the end of January, scoring 5 points, and adding 6 rebounds and 9 assists, in 24 minutes of play, as he provides a very effective back-up to Kyron Cartwright.

The Riders return to action at the Morningside Arena on March 13th when they take on the Manchester Giants in the BBL Championship, CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!

Report: Riders defeat Sharks to continue winning run

Leicester Riders survived a late scare to claim an 87-80 victory over Sheffield Sharks and stretch their winning run to six games.

Riders had led by 20 in the third quarter, but some impressive shooting from the short-handed visitors in the fourth period meant the result was in the balance until the final seconds.

Both teams started slowly, but Leicester were able to hit a few three-pointers as they edged the first five minutes 11-6. Andy Thomson sparked a bit of life into proceedings and with Jamell Anderson scoring well, Leicester still held a five-point lead at the end of the opening quarter.

Sharks level the scores at 24 points each, but the two sides were stuck on that score for over two minutes. A bizarre goaltending call gave Sheffield a 29-28 lead with four minutes to go, but Riders then held the Sharks scoreless for the remainder of the half.

Namon Wright had five of 11 unanswered points to finish the second quarter and Leicester took that momentum into the second half. Nick Lewis hit a tremendously difficult three-point shot early in the third quarter, but that was their only score in the first three minutes of the period.

In the seven minutes either side of half-time, Riders posted a 22-3 burst which had them 50-31 in front. The lead peaked at twenty points and with 13 minutes to go it looked like the game would meander out into a comfortable home win.

But Bouna Ndiaye caught fire for the Sharks, pulling them to within ten at the start of the fourth quarter. Corey Johnson’s three re-established a 15-point lead, but Lewis and Ndiaye had the gap down to five with four minutes to play.

Johnson hit another two corner three-pointers as Riders seemed to be keeping the visitors at bay, but Connor Cashaw refused to let it go and cut the deficit to 83-80 with a minute to go. Riders, though, held their nerve and sealed the win from the free throw line.

Wright was again in imperious shooting form, netting 20 points including four three-pointers, whilst Thomson and Ky Cartwright both posted double-double.

Scorers:

Riders: Wright 20, Anderson 13, Thomson 12, Cartwright 10, Nelson-Henry 9, Johnson 9, Chuku 5, Ward-Hibbert 5, Spencer 4, Lascelles, Scott.

Sharks: Ndiaye 21, Lewis 18, Cashaw 14, Koch 12, Marsden 6, Tuck 5, Backovic 2, Montgomery 2, Chubb, Brownell.

The Riders return to action at the Morningside Arena on March 13th when they take on the Manchester Giants in the BBL Championship, CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets!