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!