Category: Main News

Burnham matches-up with Rockets as second import signing

Reading Rockets have signed their second player ahead of the 2019-2020 season with American Match Burnham the latest to put pen to paper for the Berkshire outfit. Burnham provides some much-needed height in the front court with the 6’8 forward also recently completing his college career in the United States.

After graduating from Liberty High School in Spangle, Washington, the 22-year-old was the only NAIA freshman in the nation to earn honourable-mention All-American distinction after being named Frontier Conference Freshman of the Year. He was third on the team in scoring with 13.0 points per game, averaged 3.6 rebounds, and was second on the team in blocks. Burnham also shot 42.9% from the three on that season.

As a junior in 2017-18, Burnham was arguably one of the best forwards in the nation. He finished the 2017-18 season shooting 45% from the three-point line. After receiving an All-American honourable mention and Frontier Conference second team all-conference his junior season, Burnham was selected in the preseason coaches’ poll to be first team all-conference.

In signing his first professional contract, the 6’8 forward was very buoyant about joining the Rockets and is looking forward to getting started in England. Burnham said,

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue playing basketball at a high level and I’m excited to join a community and family atmosphere the Reading Rockets provide. I’m really looking forward to getting started and linking up with my new teammates in a few weeks’ time.”

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was pleased to get both his import spots filled early on and is looking forward to working with Burnham from next week. The GB Under 18 Head Coach said,

“We are really pleased to have Match and indeed Nick joining us this year in Reading. Both players are fresh out of college and look hungry to impress so I have no doubt they will be a great fit for us. Match looks an exciting prospect, a big body that can play in the paint but can also step out and shoot the three really well so for me this was an easy signing to make. I’m really looking forward to seeing Match and Nick in action when pre-season begins next week.”

Check back tomorrow at midday for another player announcement!

Richards first signing for new look Rockets

Reading Rockets have completed their first signing ahead of the 2019-2020 season with American guard Nicholas Richards putting pen to paper for the Berkshire outfit.

The 6’4 24-year-old joins the Reading team having completed four years in college in the United States. Richards attended Kirkwood Community College in his freshman and sophomore years winning a national title before moving to Wilmington University for his junior and senior years.

He averaged 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists as well as being named in the all-conference first team and was also voted the Most Valuable Player of his university.

Richards comes to the Rockets on a one-year deal, signing his first professional contract and is excited to join up with his teammates for pre-season which begins next week. The American guard said,

“I’m excited to get to Reading and play under Coach Alan along with the rest of the coaching staff. This should be an interesting season as we hope to accomplish the main goal, winning a championship. I can’t wait to come in and compete with the rest of the team and even more excited to join the Rockets, meet our fans and overall see what Reading has to offer! Get ready for a great and exciting season!”

Rockets Chairman Gary Johnson was really pleased to capture the signing of Richards and is looking forward to seeing his new American in action. He said,

“Nick comes to us highly recommended with a very positive CV, so we are really looking forward to seeing him play during this campaign in what is a really new-look squad. He looks to have a great pedigree and will really help us at both ends of the floor as well as off the court too which is so important for us. I know Alan (Keane, Rockets Head Coach) is very much looking forward to working with him and we are excited with the squad we are putting together.”

Check back tomorrow at midday for our second player announcement!

 

JMA Rockets duo in Great Britain Under 18 Squad

John Madejski Academy students and Reading Rockets players Samuel Grant and David Chive have recently represented the Great Britain Under 18 team alongside Division One Men’s Head Coach and JMA Basketball Director Alan Keane who oversees the programme as Head Coach.Coach Keane selected 16 players for his initial squad but has been faced with a number of injuries and limited preparation time but this hasn’t stopped messers Grant and Chive cutting their teeth at the highest level. Both players attended the first camp in Manchester just over a week ago before being selected to represent their country in a warm up tournament to the European Championships in France last weekend.

Alongside their teammates, the pair faced three powerhouses at the Under 18 level, in France, Russia, and Croatia as Coach Keane and his men prepare for the European Championships at the end of the month in Greece. All four teams in the tournament currently hold Division A status with the Great Britain outfit of 2018 finishing in their highest position last year in seventh.

The tournament started with a heavy defeat to France before a narrow loss against Russia which saw  Sam Grant score 9 points and pull down 4 rebounds in his 11 minutes of play whilst David Chive had 9 rebounds from the point guard position to go with 10 points. In the final game of the tournament against Croatia, Chive was again active on the glass securing 5 rebounds for his team as the 17 year old started all three games and was a big factor heading into next week’s final camp in Loughborough.

JMA Rockets Performance Director Matt Johnson is really pleased to see the representation of players and coaches at GB level and was particular impressed with both Grant and Chive leading up to the European Championships. He said,

“Sam and David are both fantastic members of our school and club and we are thrilled to see all their persistence and hard work standing them in good stead as they continue their international journeys with the Great Britain Under 18 Men in France last week. Their journey with the Rockets over the last year has been one filled with consistent challenges and hurdles to overcome, from injury to coursework deadlines, EABL to Men’s Division One. The programme for any young athlete at this age group is a testing one and it is a testament to their upbringing, character and desire to get better each day.

We are very proud of all of our student athletes and to hear when any of them excel towards an International level is wonderful. We wish them and all the other young men involved all the best on their next training camps.” 

Match Report – NBL & WNBL Quarter Finals

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Loughborough Student Riders83Win
Reading Rockets63Loss

Loughborough Riders 83 v 63 Reading Rockets.

In the Playoff Championship quarter final, despite a good and encouraging first half, Rockets couldn’t contain Riders as they stormed the third period 22-10 thanks in principle to outstanding treble shooting. Riders hit five in this quarter and defended stoutly to take a double digit lead into the final stanza, which they edged  to take their place in the semi-final stage next weekend.

In the 2 league games Rockets had the head to head as each team won their home game but at the semi-final stage of the National Trophy in January, Riders lifted their game to win and go on and take the Cup.  Rockets were quick out of the blocks at the University but A J Carr was a little too enthusiastic as he was called for a pair of fouls inside the opening two minutes of early exchanges, meaning Head Coach Alan Keane had to bring him off court .  Captain Danny Carter ( in what was to be his last ever appearance in a Rockets vest ) worked tirelessly inside, took down rebounds and made key assists whilst Sydney Donaldson again proved the heart of the team seeing  Rockets to a 19-14 advantage at the first break.

The  second quarter was a much lower scoring affair as both defences stayed on top though Riders took the lead for just 50 seconds before the interval before Carter saw Rockets go the locker room 31-30 ahead. The third period was a tough one for Rockets as Riders hit five from beyond the arc compared to just one in the whole of the first 2 periods as they took the quarter 22-10. Carter, Donaldson and Trae Pemberton were the only Rockets scorers as Riders stepped up their already good defence. Despite a David Chive rejection with less than two minutes remaining of the third quarter, Riders stroked a brace of trebles, the last one on the buzzer and giving Riders a big boost and an eleven point lead at 52–41.

A Pemberton effort came back out of the ring at the start of the final quarter before Carr hit his only treble of the afternoon to reduce the deficit.  When Carter went inside to score, Rockets found themselves just seven points down inside two minutes. A very tough call with just one second left on the shot clock proved disappointing and costly for Rockets as Riders were secure from the free throw line and hit a pair of trebles to take a fifteen point lead at 64-49 mid way through the quarter. Carter shone throughout the game but especially in the final period as he worked ferociously to take Rockets to the semi-final stage as he poured in ten personal points, drove hard drawing fouls but Rockets just couldn’t find a way of stopping the rampaging Riders. Adrian O’Sullivan hit two trebles to reduce the deficit to just ten points at 63-73 with two minutes remaining but with Rockets needing to stop the clock to regain possession, Riders were frequent visitors to the penalty stripe from which they only missed one whilst Rockets’ treble efforts were unsuccessful as Riders took the quarter final 83-63 with a 10-0 run.

Top scorers for Rockets were Danny Carter with 19 points, 5 rebounds and 2 assists with Sydney Donaldson hitting 14 points and taking down 7 rebounds. Adrian O’Sullivan and A J Carr hit 8 points each with Trae Pemberton and Arinze Emeka-Anyakwo scoring 7 each.

Details

Date Time League Season
06/04/2019 14:00 NBL Division 1 2018 / 2019

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Results

TeamScoreOutcome
Loughborough Student Riders63Win
READING ROCKETS58Loss

In a most unusual Play-off Championship draw both Rockets Men and Ladies found themselves playing Loughborough away on the same day so they travelled together bringing encouragement to each other with Ladies taking the moral win though Riders went to the semi-final stage with a narrow margin of just five points. From a 3-14 deficit Rockets got within five points midway through the final quarter and into the last 1 minute 17 secs but a very contentious refereeing call saw Rockets top scorer being called for an unsportsmanlike foul and having to leave the court. Despite this impact Rockets Ladies tried fervently to take the victory but just one of three treble efforts hit the target and Riders hit three from the free throw line to move into the semi-final stage. Four of Rockets Ladies had scored double figures compared to just the pair from the Riders  professional WBBL team as Rockets fought tirelessly giving a great performance.Riders had made three blocks inside the opening three minutes as Rockets just couldn’t break through the tough defence , finding themselves on the receiving end of a 12-2 Riders run. Rockets captain Maike Delow Fasbender stopped the rot and Noa Sanchez Marques made a pair of steals and finishes before Monica Herranz De Antonio  was secure from the penalty stipe as Rockets returned the 12-2 compliment and the scores levelled on 14 apiece. Five unanswered Riders points saw them enjoy a narrow 19-14 advantage at the end of the period.

Andrea Gomez De La Vara stroked the first of her three trebles and Herranz hit one too to stay close to Riders at 20-26. Sanchez Marques caused Riders into a five second inbound violation as Rockets ramped up the pressure but nothing seemed to be going Rockets way as they found themselves 26-37 down at the interval. Head Coach David Sanchez was expecting a fresh upturn in pressure from Riders and quickly Rockets found themselves 42-28 and then 48-32 in arrears as Riders struck a brace of trebles, one on the buzzer. Nonetheless this Rockets Ladies team wears the badge with pride and great team work and ethics shone through as they recovered to 43-48 moments before the last break though Riders went into the last period 50-43 ahead.

Rockets scored off their first possession to close the gap and then made a pair of stops but Riders stroked a treble. Sanchez Marques scored and Herranz De Antonio made a big rejection as the travelling Rockets fans bellowed their encouragement. Another Gomez De La Vara treble saw Rockets just two scores behind at 53-59 with two minutes remaining and Rockets in the ascendancy and causing this smart Riders team many problems they hadn’t envisaged after their early dominance. Then the decision that fuelled up Rockets through losing their stalwart player as Rockets did their upmost to take the win though losing out narrowly 58-63.

Top scorers for Rockets were Monica Herranz with 13 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals accompanied by Andrea Gomez with 13 points, Noa Sanchez with 11 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals and Anabel Latorre Ciria with a double double of 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Details

Date Time League Season
06/04/2019 16:30 WNBL Division One 2018 / 2019