Category: Game Preview

Rockets V Warriors | Game Preview

Reading Rockets V Leicester Warriors

Saturday 27th February | 6:00pm Tip

Game will be livestreamed on Basketball England’s YouTube Channel

This Saturday, Rockets (4-4) host the Leicester Warriors (2-9) at the John Madejski Academy to face in the National Basketball League. The game will be livestreamed on Basketball England’s YouTube channel at 6:00pm, you can also follow all the action on FIBA LiveStats too.

Our opponents, Leicester Warriors, have had a shaky start to the season losing their first 7 games, but after the signing of 7-foot centre Morakinyo Williams in January, the Warriors have found their fighting spirit, winning their last 2 games. Williams teams up with 6’11 Henri Langton to make Leicester’s front court physically dominant, and since Williams’ arrival Leicester have averaged an enormous 40 points in the paint. Alongside the Warriors’ towering front court, head coach Karl Brown has some terrific sharpshooters to call upon such as Leon Henry, Martin Gayle and Ellis Haggith, who combined shoot a remarkable 36.4% from 3-point range.

Head coach Alan Keane had this to say about our upcoming opponents this weekend:

“The Warriors have had a great start to the 2021, getting a couple wins underneath their belt. They have a lot strengths inside, especially with Mo Williams who we will have to factor and focus in on. But they also have some great shooting guards who have a lot of experience, so they are a well-balanced side and we will have to be at our best to eliminate their strengths.”

Rockets are currently 3-1 in 2021 and have just come off a fantastic 21-point win over the Oaklands Wolves, after inspiring performances off the bench from Chuck Duru (9 points, 4-5 FG) and Jaz Bains (14 points, 4-7 3P).

Although significantly smaller than our opponents, we have been playing with terrific amounts of pace this season, resulting in the Rockets leading the league in fastbreak points (23.4 per game). With the likes of O’Showen Williams, Reis Pinnock, Ben Dixon and Latrell Maitland in the squad, the Rockets are able to push the ball quickly up the court in transition and catch the defence before they are set, scoring from many easy looks. This has led to the Rockets scoring an extraordinary 90.6 PPG which places us top 5 in the league.

Ones to watch

New recruit Jaz Bains was impressive in his first outing for the Rockets against the Wolves, finishing with 14 points, 4-7 from 3-point range as well as picking up 6 steals. He has been training well this week, putting in lots of effort and working hard. We look forward to seeing what he will do on his home debut for the Rockets.

Mo Williams has been phenomenal in his first 3 games for the Warriors. The 7-foot big man averages 30 points, shooting an incredible 71.2% from the field and led the Warriors to their first wins of the season.

The game will be streamed on the Rockets YouTube channel where Director of Basketball, Matt Johnson, will be joined by former Reading Rockets captain Danny Carter for commentary. We will also be debuting a brand-new halftime show which you certainly do not want to miss.

Wolves V Rockets | Game Preview

Oaklands Wolves V Reading Rockets | Tip-off: 3:30pm | Sunday 21st February 2021  

Reading Rockets look to bounce back from our defeat at the hand of league-leaders Team Solent Kestrels, on Sunday when we face Oaklands Wolves. The match will take place at Oaklands College at 3:30pm. You can follow the game via FIBA Live Stats.

Rockets currently sit 7th in the National Basketball League, holding a 3-4 record for the season so far. Although coming off a heavy defeat to the Kestrels, Rockets were able to keep them to their smallest win margin of the season after a very spirited performance and lots hard work from all of the team. The team have been back in training and putting in tremendous amounts of effort to get back to winning ways this weekend.

Captain Ben Dixon is excited for the upcoming match against Oaklands. “The team is eager to get back on track this Sunday with a new challenge in the Oaklands Wolves,” he stated.” “We have been building each week and will be looking to give four quarters of fast paced, high intensity basketball.”

This weekend we will also see the debut of new signing Jaz Bains. We are keen to see him in action for the Rockets and wish him all the best ahead of his first game in Rocket red and black.

Our opponents, Oaklands Wolves, have struggled to get their 2020/2021 season off to a great start. They sit near the bottom of the table after attaining a 2-7 record and are coming off a 61-point defeat to the Kestrels.

Ones to Watch

For the Wolves, they will be looking for another huge individual performance from their American 5’11 guard Jordan Santiago. Santiago is currently 3rd in scoring for the league averaging an impressive 24.6 PPG, as well as grabbing 9.5 RPG and 3.1 SPG.

The Rockets will be hoping our own American guard, O’Showen Williams, continues his impressive run of form in recent games. He continues to fill the stat sheet – currently averaging 20.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.8 APG, and 2.9 SPG for the season.

In our previous game, British-guard Reis Pinnock was on top form, achieving 14 points, 9 assists, 6 steals and 6 rebounds. We hope Reis can continue this against the Wolves.

Kestrels V Rockets: Game Preview

This Saturday, Rockets travel to reigning NBL division 1 champions Team Solent Kestrels. The game will take place at 16:45 and will be livestreamed Team Solent Kestrels YouTube channel.

Reading Rockets are currently unbeaten in 2021, coming off the victories over the Nottingham McDonald’s Hoods and Bradford Dragons. What has been really promising for the Rockets are the contributions from their academy players in the past two games. Kivuvu Live and Latrell Maitland have achieved the Elephant and Castle Impact Player of the Game award for their magnificent contributions off the bench in the said matches, as well as Sam Grant taking on a role in the starting 5 the past 2 games. Head coach Alan Keane has recognised their development as players and highlights the key role the professional players in group have in this process. He states:

“The refreshing part of a very challenging year for us has been the maturity, growth and development of our academy players at the NBL level. It is easy to see their growth in confidence and impact on our performances. However, what will not be seen by the outside world is the impact and influence that players like Chuck, Sam T, Ben, Reis, O and Leome are having on these young guys. Chuck Duru is such a great example. He drives a 3 hour round trip to practice, never gets rattled, works his tail off and offered nothing but support to all his teammates. That has as much a ripple effect than any coaching that goes into these academy players.”

Our opponents, Team Solent Kestrels, haven’t lost in the league since their defeat to the Derby Trailblazers in February 2019. They have a star-studded roster with 3 players having an average efficiency of over 20.0 for the season, as well as a led by a great coach Matt Guymon.

“Solent is an incredibly deep team that have been joyful to watch this season,” said Coach Keane when asked about our opponents this weekend. He continues to say that the Kestrels are  “a team with not only a depth of talent but also a depth of experience and when you combine both the level of players ability and experience then you have the recipe for success that they continue to have. It is always exciting for our players to go against that level of player and team when the opportunity presents itself.”

Ones to watch:

O’Showen Williams has started 2021 unbelievably. Over the last 2 games, the American-guard is averaging 26.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 5.0 APG. He is highly athletic and brings a lot of energy to the Rockets team, injecting pace into our play.

The Kestrels American-floor general, Ian Smith, has been crucial to the team’s performance this season. Last year’s D1 MVP averages 13.8 PPG, and 1.7 SPG whilst also being 2nd in the league for assists, providing 7.2 APG.

Another star of the Kestrels to look out for is 6’6 American-forward, Travis Charles. In their last game against Derby in the BBL Trophy, he was phenomenal, getting 30 points shooting an outstanding 75% from the field, 10 rebounds, finishing with an overall efficiency of 38.0.

Dragons V Rockets: Game Preview

Reading Rockets return to the Nottingham Wildcats Arena this Saturday to face the Bradford Dragons in the NBL Division 1.

The Rockets are coming off a fantastic 79-98 win over the Nottingham McDonald’s Hoods in their last game taking the Rockets to a 2-3 record for the season. This will be Reading’s second game back after 2 months and they will be looking to keep the winning spirit alive in the camp.

The Bradford dragons have started the season very strongly, boasting a 4-2 record, however they are coming off an 86-101 defeat at the hands of the Essex Rebels.

When asked about this week’s opponents, Coach Keane had this to say:

“Bradford a very well coached team in this league for a long time, we know we will have our hands full on Saturday. Bradford have done an amazing job with retaining their core group year to year and what comes with that is great synergy within the team. We will have to be at our best on both ends and players coming from the bench will need to have a big impact throughout. It is our second game back from two months out, so all players are excited to get going again this weekend.”

Ones to watch

American-guard, O’Showen Williams, was in top form for the Rockets in their win against the Hoods, where he achieved 23 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. He currently averages 19PPG whilst shooting 35.3% from 3-point range, as well as leading the team in steals averaging 2.4 a game.

For the Dragons, the American 6’8 forward, Ricky Fetske, has been the star man for Bradford this season. He leads the team in both scoring and rebounds averaging 19 points, shooting an impressive 40.9% from 3-point range, as well as collecting 10.8 rebounds a game.

The game will be livestreamed on the Basketball England YouTube channel, with Reading Rockets Director of Basketball, Matt Johnson on commentary.


Rockets to take on high scoring Thunder

Reading Rockets (14-9) will be up against one of the leagues highest scoring teams this weekend when they entertain Worthing Thunder at Rivermead Leisure Complex on Sunday, 5pm tip-off. Rockets split last weekend’s games but were victorious in their second encounter as they finally stopped the rot of four consecutive league defeats when they beat Bradford Dragons 86-63 after losing out to Derby Trailblazers the night before 104-97.

This Sunday’s opponents recorded an incredible 80 point victory over relegation threatened Liverpool last weekend as they put 150 points on their opponents to 70 to keep themselves in contention for a top three finish. Runaway leaders Team Solent Kestrels claimed the NBL Division One title after a pair of wins last weekend with Thames Valley Cavaliers almost certain to now claim the runners-up spot in the division.

The meeting between the two teams will be the second of the season with the Rockets claiming an impressive 100-81 away win at the Thunderdome back in December.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s clash against Worthing, Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane highlighted what a force to be reckoned with this Sunday’s opponents are and the importance of the game at this late stage of the season. The Irishman said,

“Arguably the most potent scoring team in league, Worthing Thunder certainly proved that as they unloaded 150 points last weekend in one game! A team who are capable to have all five players on the floor who can shoot the 3 ball really well.”

“Worthing will certainly stretch the capacity of our defence, however on the other end we will have to be very aggressive attacking the basket relentlessly. An important game for both teams with playoff seedings we should see the best that both teams have to offer.”

Rockets go into this weekend’s game with no new injury concerns and should continue to have a fully fit squad available after an injury-strewn season. All of the Berkshire outfits concerns have returned to full training and game play with Spanish duo Matias Boho and Pau Mayor the latest to be declared fully fit. Coach Keane will be buoyed by the valuable minutes given by academy duo Ross Stepney and Asher Ndah last weekend as well as new signing Leome Francis who has made a positive impact since beginning life in Reading last month.

Rockets will know a win this weekend keeps them right in the play-off mix but defeat for the Reading team will all but consign them to seventh place in the division and a tough quarter-final away trip in the post season to this year’s runners-up. To keep up to date with all the latest news and information, follow the Rockets on social media; Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – @rocketsreading or check out the club’s website –
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