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.