Coach Will Maynard on BUCS glory

Will Maynard played on the Loughborough BUCS team which won its first championship in 22 years. Last year, he accomplished the same feat as head coach, leading the University to its fifth title in the last six seasons. 

“Coaching is way more stressful than playing,” said Maynard, comparing the two accomplishments.

“Winning as a player was special because we hadn’t won in so long. There was no pressure going up against a great Newcastle team. That was a huge difference from when I came in as a coach. We were expected to win.

“We had such a stacked team, and losing the year before in the semi-final, we felt pressure to get back on top. We had Kimbal Mackenzie, Conner Washington, Jubril Adekoya, Patrick Whelan, Blake Bowman and Evan Walshe from the pro team. We couldn’t afford to lose that game.”

They were crowned the Men’s basketball champions with a 86-75 win over the University of West England Bristol. Mackenzie was named MVP after scoring 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting. 

“Credit to UWE. They made it hard for us! We were down double digits early, and Kimbal dug us out of the hole. They had a few professionals as well and made it a good game.

“To win it for the Division One guys who hadn’t won anything up to that point was really special. I’m super proud of all of them: they put in so much work over the season.”

Having risen through the ranks of the Loughborough pathway, it was an especially proud moment for Maynard to come back and win as a coach.  

Maynard came up through the Charnwood programme, going on to play for Loughborough’s Division Three team above his age, then attending American college for a season. He returned to a Loughborough team attempting to establish themselves on the UK scene. 

“I came back from the States after one year, and I joined as Russell Levenston (Leicester Riders managing director) was trying to make Loughborough into a well-renowned university programme, which there weren’t many of at the time. The year I came back, they recruited well and got a lot of guys in.

“My first year was with Drew Sullivan, which was an amazing experience. I learnt so much from him. I was lucky enough to practice with the Riders’ first team, which helped me develop as a player.”

Sullivan, two-time BBL MVP, helped establish Loughborough as a top-tier programme and aided Mayard’s understanding of the game immensely. 

“Being around a professional team and seeing how they worked was massive for me to understand the game at a different level,” Maynard reflected.

“I was never the quickest or most athletic, so I really benefited from learning from Coach Rob, Drew and so many others. Learning the game from them allowed me to take the next steps in my career.”

The Riders’ association with Loughborough University is of great benefit to any player, from those looking to further their development, set themselves up for life after basketball, or anything in-between. 

“I loved getting the experience of the university lifestyle and playing loads of basketball. I played BUCS, D1 and practised with the professional team. We had so much going on, and I loved everything about it.

“The Riders association with Loughborough attracts all types of players. Tyler Bernardini and Darien Nelson-Henry are guys that spring to mind who earned a really good degree alongside playing. It sets you up brilliantly for life after basketball, which is something that really sells. 

“The players have first-class facilities available to them. Having access to the physios, equipment, and courts is great for the players. The Riders’ partnership with a world-recognised university is really attractive for players looking to further their career.”

This current cohort of Loughborough University talent faces a tough test this preseason, facing off against British Basketball League opponents in Leicester Riders and Cheshire Phoenix. 

Maynard believes this will set them up for a successful season, and an important season for this group of players. 

“It will give us some confidence going into the season, no matter the score. We know we can’t match their talent, but having the opportunity to go up against professionals before our regular season will tell us where we’re at and what we need to work on. 

“It also gives our guys a chance to show British Basketball League coaches what they can do, as they look to further their careers. That’s the biggest reason we wanted to do it.

“I can’t wait to give all our guys in their final year a great send-off. We have four or five guys in their final year, and they’re determined to go out and have a great year. Seeing them flourish in their last year and seeing what life after Loughborough holds for them will be super rewarding. 

“The continuity we have in our group excites me, so playing the same guys as last year with a couple of new faces is great. The aim is another BUCS championship. 

“I’m so thankful to be involved with the Riders as a young coach.”

With Maynard at the helm, who has already brought so much success to Loughborough since his arrival over a decade ago, the programme is in safe hands.  


Want to see us in action?

Get tickets to our preseason fixture against Leicester Riders here!

Get tickets to our preseason picture against Cheshire Phoenix here!

Get tickets to our preseason picture against USA Select here!

Leicester Riders launch rebrand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ticket Information: Loughborough Men’s preseason fixtures

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

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

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

Get your tickets here!

Ticket prices are as follows:

Ticket typePrice
Adult£10
Child/Student£5
ID will be required on the door for child and student tickets

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

Get your tickets here!

Ticket prices are as follows:

Ticket TypePrice
Adult£8
Child (6-16)£5
Student £2
Family (2 Adult, 2 Child)£15
ID will be required on the door for child and student tickets

Please note, seating is unreserved. 

T&C’s and bookie fees apply

Ticket information: Riders at Loughborough

Leicester Riders are set for preseason action against Loughborough University!

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

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

Get your tickets here!

Ticket prices are as follows:

Ticket typePrice
Adult£10
Child/Student£5
ID will be required on the door for child and student tickets

Please note, seating is unreserved. 

T&C’s and bookie fees apply

Freeman appointed D1 women’s Head Coach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KitKing Trophy returns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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