Category: Mens Team

Rockets Senior Men ready to chase 2018/19 National Trophy

Reading Rockets are aiming to transform their pre-season performances into tangible results as 2018/19 National Basketball League Division 1 action gets underway this weekend.

Fresh from an impressive and measured win against the Welsh national side, Rockets senior men will play newly promoted Thames Valley Cavaliers in the National Trophy.

Five time winners of the Trophy, Reading Rockets will once again field their new-look squad, which combines experienced players with exciting youngsters from the Rockets Academy. The hunger and determination shown by all players in pre-season bodes well for the Rockets ahead of what promises to be a competitive year ahead.

The opening game of the new season will be something of a home affair for Reading Rockets as they make the short 45-minute trip down the M4 and onto Uxbridge to face the Cavaliers.

Despite facing the likes of Team USA and Surrey Scorchers in the pre-season friendlies, Rockets will be under no illusions as to the challenge that waits this Sunday.

The opening NBL 2018/19 Division 1 game will take place the following weekend, Saturday 6 October, against the Derby Trailblazers at the Rivermead Leisure Centre.

Head Coach Alan Keane: “Following this coming weekend we will have had four preparation games under our belt. Our three games to date (and this coming weekend’s preparation game) have given us great opportunities to establish what we want ahead of the opening game of the season. The process is long and challenging and we are nowhere near where we will be, however Thames Valley will be a very stern test. They are loaded with experienced players who will test every team in the country to their limits. We look forward to opening the competitive season with such a challenge.”

For more information about Reading Rockets, please contact:

Chris Hughes – 07917 352511

Chris.Hughes@sqn.agency

 

Rockets new line-up set for pre-season clash against Welsh National Squad

The Reading Rockets senior men’s squad will play their first home game of the 2018/19 campaign at the Rivermead Leisure Centre in Reading this Sunday with a pre-season friendly against the Welsh national team.

Tipping at 5pm, the match will see a new-look Rockets men’s team line up against the best players in Wales, offering recent signings the chance to gel ahead of the National Basketball League (NBL) season later in September.

It’s been a busy off-season for the Rockets with the announcements of US stars Trae Pemberton and AJ Carr, Irishmen Adrian and Ronan O’Sullivan, and recently confirmed Club Captain Danny Carter. The senior men’s side has received a further boost with Sydney Donaldson and Troy McIndoe confirmed for 2018/19.

There have also been changes to the coaching team following the departure of Manuel Pena Garces. Alan Keane has taken over as Head Coach, ably supported by Josh Thorne, who has moved from the men’s Division 4 side.

Keane also maintains responsibility for developing the young players in the Rockets Academy. Over the summer, Keane also guided the GB under-18s to their highest ever finish in the European Championships. With a focus on youth players, Coach Keane will now look at moulding a revitalised men’s team while launching the senior careers of a number of Rockets Academy players.

Head Coach Alan Keane: “I am excited that we will host the Welsh National Team at home this Sunday. Coach James Bamfield and I had some dialogue in the off-season about the possibility to play this game. With James doing a wonderful job with basketball in Wales, I have no doubt this team will offer us the challenges we need to continue building our Rockets principles and standards of excellence. The growth and development of Welsh basketball over the past few years has been great to see. This Welsh senior team comes to us off the back of a narrow loss to USA Select. In addition, two days prior to our showdown, BBL side Bristol Flyers will test them. This is another great opportunity for us to establish and cement our style of game, offer another valuable benchmark and a platform for our guys to exhibit their skillset and commitment to our process.”

Rockets Chairman, Gary Johnson, is delighted with the reality of seeing the Academy players getting more court time than ever before this season: “It’s been our goal for a while,” said the Welshman. “Already in two friendlies we’ve played five of the six Academy squad players with the sixth out injured, so we’re releasing these young men, furthering their development and being contributors. I urge everyone to come and witness first-hand the array of talent we have on offer at Rockets this coming season.”

In friendlies against Team USA Select and British Basketball League outfit Surrey Scorchers, Rockets new senior men have given much encouragement to the coaching and performance team, as they finalise their preparations before the National Cup, National Trophy and league campaign begin in earnest on Sunday 30th September.

The entire Rockets organisation will be keen to secure some silverware having come close in two competitions last season. In a year when the club turns 21, this could be the breakthrough season where Reading Rockets truly ‘comes of age.’

For more information about Reading Rockets, please contact:

Chris Hughes – 07917 352511

Chris.Hughes@sqn.agency

 

Reading Rockets name Danny Carter club captain for 2018/19

Reading Rockets has begun its pre-season preparations in earnest with the arrival of new and returning players to the town ahead of the 2018/19 National Basketball League, which gets underway later this month.

As part of a strengthened line-up including recently announced signings AJ Carr (USA), Trae Pemberton (USA), Adrian O’Sullivan (Ireland) and Ronan O’Sullivan (Ireland), Rockets tower of strength Danny Carter (6ft8) has re-signed for the club where he has spent much of his professional career.

The 29-year-old, Windsor-born forward will be returning for his seventh consecutive season with the club. He also spent four years in the USA at Stonybrook University, where he further honed his talent. In total, Carter has spent over 14 years with the Reading-based club.

As a veteran of Reading Rockets, Carter will take on additional responsibilities this season as Club Captain, working closely with Head Coach Alan Keane and the senior men’s team, while also overseeing and contributing to the Rockets’ age-determined junior teams. It is a hugely influential role, which will see Carter’s enviable experience permeate all areas of the Reading Rockets organisation.

Reading Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane said: “I’m thrilled to have Danny back with us. I joke with DC often that he will be a great coach someday. That will be some time yet as he has a lot of top quality basketball left in him. However DC brings experience, leadership and competitiveness each game. The guy wants to win and with such a young team his knowledge, leadership and maturity is going to really important for us”.

Reading Rockets Chairman Gary Johnson added: “Danny is part of the Rockets DNA, having spent much of his career as a crucial member of our club, some 14 years in total! It is a pleasure and a privilege for us to name him as Club Captain. His wealth of experience and his passion for Reading Rockets will be instrumental in bringing together our new-look senior men’s squad as well as giving the up-and-coming youngsters an influential role model and mentor.”

Danny Carter said: “I’m really pleased to be returning to Reading Rockets once more. The club is truly a home for me and I couldn’t see myself playing in another jersey. It’s a new chapter in the club’s history with a new coaching staff and also for me as I broaden my role. The league is getting more competitive this year and I can’t wait to get out and compete and try to bring back some silverware to Reading.” 

For more information about Reading Rockets, please contact:

Chris Hughes – 07917 352511

Chris.Hughes@sqn.agency

Rockets sign Trae Pemberton for 2018/19

Reading Rockets have made another important announcement ahead of its 2018/19 National Basketball League campaign with the signing of 26-year-old American Trae Pemberton.

The 6ft4 guard from Indiana, who celebrates his birthday later this month (19 August), joins compatriot AJ Carr and Irish players Adrian and Ronan O’Sullivan on the Rockets roster for the new season.

Pemberton’s move to Reading comes following two seasons of impressive competition in Ireland, where he starred with the Tralee Warriors.

Contributing to the club’s Irish Superleague Championship successes, Trae was named Eurobasket.com Import Player of the Year last season, as well as Basketball Ireland All-Star two years in a row.

A multiple winner of Sportleague Player of the Month, he was also named Irish Men’s Superleague Player of the Year for 2016-17.

Reading Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane said: “Trae is a really good signing for us. On the court he is a high volume scorer, who is very dynamic and can score in a variety of ways. His calm demeanour means he is very good in key moments of the game and has a track record of producing the goods when the game is on the line. A man with great character, Trae is going to be an awesome Rocket both on and off the court, as well as in the community.”

Reading Rockets chairman Gary Johnson added: “Our senior men’s squad just keeps getting better and better, with even more still to come. I am delighted that Trae has signed for us. He has all the qualities we look for in a Rocket, and I think this season will be an exciting new chapter in his career. In Trae, the communities in and around Reading will definitely have another sporting hero to look up to.”

Trae Pemberton said: “I’m really excited about this upcoming season here in Reading! There is a high level of basketball being played in England and the Rockets have a great history of winning. I’m proud to be a part of that. I think it will be a great opportunity for my basketball career and for me to be involved in a great community. The family atmosphere really helped me make my decision, and I really want to be a part of the Rockets family. We have a lot of good pieces on this team and I think we can do some special things. Having played against Adrian in Ireland, we are looking forward to playing on the same side for a change! The ultimate goal is to win some hardware at the end of the season. I’m looking forward to it!”

 

Reading Rockets Adds American Flair to Senior Men’s Squad

Reading Rockets has revealed the next player to join its senior men’s squad for the forthcoming 2018/19 National Basketball League (NBL) season, American forward AJ Carr.

The 23-year-old, who hails from Fairfax, Virginia, becomes the first American player to be announced for the new season after recent Irish signings Adrian O’Sullivan (24) and Ronan O’Sullivan (24).

A graduate of Saint James School in Maryland, AJ went onto play basketball for Shepherd University in West Virginia for four years, totaling 85 competitive games since 2014.

At 6ft6, AJ will bring a brand-new dimension to the growing Rockets squad with a versatile playing style that promises to bring a unique flair to the team’s game. The American will move to Reading in late August, when he will meet with Rockets colleagues and start to integrate himself into the club.

Reading Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane said: “I am very pleased with how our team is coming together. Our most recent signing, AJ, adds another dimension to the team. AJ’s versatility really suits the style of game we will play. AJ possesses a skill set which will make us difficult to defend and play at a tempo that will be exciting to watch. In addition, AJ’s character fits the values and personal traits we value most at the club. I have big expectations of AJ and have no doubt he will deliver that and some.” 

 

Reading Rockets chairman Gary Johnson added: “To sign someone of AJ’s calibre sends a strong message of our intentions this coming season. We 

are always deeply privileged when a player decides to commit to our club, but never more so than when it requires a move overseas. The whole of Reading will take note when AJ’s in town, and I can’t wait to see the fans’ reaction to his game play.”

AJ Carr said: “Coach Keane contacted my agent and I about playing in England and joining the Rockets. It was an honour to be considered to play professionally overseas in Europe and after talking with Coach Keane and Mr. Johnson, my agents at SportsFive and I decided that signing with the Rockets was the best move for me. As far as the season ahead, I’m extremely excited to continue building upon the longstanding success of the Reading Rockets’ programme and bringing a commitment to excellence as well. The Rockets are a competitive, prestigious, and family/community-oriented organisation that I’m ecstatic about joining. Big things are coming!”