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