Category: JMA Academy

Vacancy: Elite Coach for Reading Rockets Div. 1 Senior Men and JMA Basketball Academy


Elite Coach for Reading Rockets Div. 1 Senior Men and JMA Basketball Academy.

Job Description

Reading Rockets are looking to appoint an elite coach to act as the Head Coach for the NBL Div. 1 Men’s team and for the Basketball Academy at the John Madejski Academy. The coach will be responsible to Rockets’ Director of Coaching.

The role is ideal for an ambitious coach who wants the opportunity to develop and progress their coaching career, having already served as Head Coach or Assistant coach of an academy (or similar) team and of a Div.1 or 2 NBL team (or similar). Rockets are looking for an experienced coach with excellent basketball knowledge, combined with enthusiasm and strong interpersonal and leadership skills.


The job will be based in Reading, with accommodation provided in the locality, if the successful applicant doesn’t live within reasonable travelling distance.


  • To be the Head Coach of Rockets’ Div. 1 team and to perform at all times to a very high level of coaching performance commensurate with that which may be reasonably expected of a basketball coach of this level of team. This will include team practices, National Basketball League games, leading individuals, video analysis and other associated roles.
  • To be the Head Coach of the Basketball Academy at the John Madejski Academy, developing the 16-19 year old players who will compete in the EABL and other competitions. Again this will include team practices, games, structured development programmes for groups of students, video analysis and other associated roles.
  • To do everything necessary to develop and maintain the fitness of each of the academy students and senior players.
  • To coach within the Key Stage 3/4 Junior Basketball Academy (11-16) at The John Madejski Academy.
  • To approach coaching from a player development perspective.
  • To work within the club’s framework and philosophy.
  • To take a professional approach in the planning, preparation and organisation of their work.
  • To build and maintain relationships with various partners in the community and within the club.
  • To help support and develop other club colleagues and coaches.
  • To be flexible with working hours, including unsocial hours, and prepared to work at weekends as required.
  • There will be further opportunities to develop this role dependent on the appointed coach’s strengths and interests.


  • Significant elite coaching experience
  • Experience of coaching players of all ages and abilities in a wide range of environments (schools, colleges, club and community sessions)
  • Experience of working with other coaches, including mentoring younger coaches
  • Experience of monitoring and oversight of programmes
  • Current and clean driving licence
  • Ideally Level 3 Basketball England basketball coaching qualification or equivalent
  • Preferably educated to degree level
  • Awareness of safeguarding and child protection issues – the appointed coach will be required to take further safeguarding and other appropriate training
  • First Aid qualification
  • An enhanced DBS certificate (or for overseas coaches, criminal records check from their country)
  • Experience and good level of IT literacy, word processing, spreadsheet and database packages
  • Evidence of successful career to date; personal goals; achievements
  • Successful references from your current/ most recent employer and/or club

Start date: 1st September 2021

Salary:: Competitive pay for this role dependent on experience

How To Apply

Please send a copy of your CV and letter of application no later than Sunday 13th June 2021 to Rockets’ Director of Coaching For further information, call Matt Johnson on 07834 372952. Interviews will take place before the end of June.

Club Statement: Head Coach Alan Keane departs

It is with disappointment from both parties that Rockets’ Chairman Gary Johnson announces that Head Coach and Academy Director Alan Keane is leaving the Club.

Alan has been a great servant of Rockets for 3 years bringing his European experience to our academy and being instrumental in securing scholarships to top American colleges for many young men and women.  ‘His is going to be a tough job for me to fill’ said Rockets’ Chairman ‘but I’m thrilled to say Alan is helping find his replacement’ Johnson added.

With the role also encompassing being Head Coach of the Div. 1 Men’s team too, we’re looking for a special person Johnson said . ‘We have faith that the right person is out there and we need patience to find that person.’ For those maybe thinking they can fill these big boots, look on Rockets website as to how to apply.

Keane added that he was leaving the best job in English basketball at a very exciting time for the club but his family circumstances now mean he’s moving to Scotland so there’s no way he can stay, much to his disappointment.  “It is with deepest sadness that my time with Reading Rockets and JMA Rockets is coming to an end. The club and academy is a special place. The resources, provisions, aspirations and people involved are first class. My time at Reading gave me more than a job, more than coaching and more than basketball, it came with friendship and a family atmosphere. I will forever be thankful to Rockets, JMA, the Johnson family and the players who all gave me incredibly opportunities on a daily basis. To say I will miss the club and academy is hugely understated. However I’m truly excited for whoever takes on my current role knowing what’s ahead for the club as it continues to progress and go from strength to strength.”

Academy Stars named in Hoopsfix All-Star Classic Rosters

Hoopsfix has revealed the rosters for the 2020 Hoopsfix All-Star Classic, despite its cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual event – supported by Nike and 5or6 – would have brought together the top male and female junior players of their generation to play in three All-Star games across two days.

We are delighted to announce that four Rockets academy players – both past and present – have been named in those rosters. Join us in congratulating Asher Ndah, David Chive and Matt Marsh for being selected for the Class of 2020 roster, as well as Latrell Maitland and Sam Grant for making the underclassmen roster.

The five previous events have all sold out in advance and another capacity crowd was anticipated in Brixton for the 2020 edition, which was originally scheduled for June before its cancellation.

“Though we are absolutely gutted to have had to cancel the event this year, we felt announcing the selected players is a small gesture to show recognition of those who would have been suiting up,” said Sam Neter, owner of Hoopsfix.

“Despite the event not happening, we will class those selected this year as alumni as with every other year, and they will be listed on the new website – launching soon – with player profiles.

“Congratulations to all those selected, and massive respect to all the clubs, coaches and people who contributed to their development. We look forward to following their progress and development in the coming years.”

With countless national titles and a wealth of junior international experience between them, the rosters represent a glimpse into the future of British basketball and include both domestic and foreign-based players.

The full selections for each game are as follows with name, height, position, and their 2019-20 programme as selections were based on performances up until the end of last season.

Class of 2020 Rosters

Team Black

David Chive, 6’0”, Guard, John Madejski Academy

Chris Feeney, 6’2″, Guard, Barking Abbey

Bradley Kaboza, 6’2″, Guard, Myerscough

Charlie Brown, 6’3″, Guard, Derby

Lewis McGlasson, 6’4″, Guard, Myerscough

Asher Ndah, 6’4″, Guard, John Madejski Academy

Eljay Morris, 6’4″, Guard/Forward, Governor’s Academy (USA)

Richard Amaefule, 6’9″, Forward, Bishop Lynch (USA)

Sanmi Fajana, 6’8″, Forward, Myerscough

Amari Williams, 6’10”, Forward/Centre, Myerscough

Josh Ogundele, 6’11”, Forward/Centre, Worcester Academy (USA)

Matt Marsh, 7’0”, Forward/Centre, FC Barcelona (Spain)

Team White

Blaize Sagna, 6’2″, Guard, Charnwood

Louis Norton, 5’10”, Guard, Barking Abbey

Ben Winter, 6’3″, Guard, Ipswich

Chester Morrell, 6’2″, Guard, Canterbury

Taiga Forster, 6’1″, Guard, Itchen

Greg Durand, 6’5″, Guard, Charnwood

Vasja Pandza, 6’8”, Guard, The Hotchkiss School (USA)

Tomiwa Sulaiman, 6’6” Forward, West Nottingham Academy (USA)

Tom Sowoolu, 6’8″, Forward, Barking Abbey

Eduardo Andre, 6’10”, Forward, AZ Compass Prep School (USA)

Sam Chigbo, 6’11”, Forward/Centre, Myerscough

Theo Hughes, 7’0″, Centre, Barking Abbey

Underclassmen Rosters

Team Black

Cameron Hildreth, 6’5″, Guard, Holy Trinity

Latrell Maitland, 6’1″, Guard, John Madejski Academy

Elijah Walsh, 6’4”, Guard, Queen Ethelburga’s

Jacob Morgan, 6’0″, Guard, Ipswich

Michael Belle, 6’6″, Guard, Strasbourg (France)

Sam Alajiki, 6’7″, Guard, Beckley Prep (USA)

Flynn Boardman-Raffet, 6’4″, Guard/Forward, Barking Abbey

Blake Bowman, 6’5″, Guard/Forward, Derby Trailblazers

Franklin Agu, 6’6″, Forward, Myerscough

Sam Grant, 6’8″, Forward, John Madejski Academy

Josh Ijeh, 6’8″, Forward, BMET James Watt College

Ethan Price, 6’10”, Forward, Ipswich

Team White

Quinn Ellis, 6’3″, Guard, Orlandina (Italy)

Alex Distras, 6’0″, Guard, Haringey

Josh Uduje, 6’6″, Guard, Knox School (USA)

Owen Young, 6’4″, Guard, Haringey

Wakeem Richardson, 6’3″, Guard, BMET James Watt College

Veron Eze, 6’4″, Guard, Barking Abbey

Jeremy Sochan, 6’8″, Forward, La Lumiere (USA)

Moses Gordon, 6’6″, Forward, New City

Abiodun Adedo, 6’5″, Forward, St Charles

Giovanni Emejuru, 6’10”, Forward, Charnwood

Victor Ndoukou, 6’8″, Forward, Charnwood

Ndwedo Newbury, 6’8”, Forward, Haringey

Under-19 Women Rosters

Team Black

Ella Doherty, 5’11”, Guard, Caledonia Pride

Jade Mbam, 5’7″, Guard, Manchester Mystics

Mariam Olawoyin, 5’5″, Guard, Nottingham

Molly James, 5’9″, Guard, Charnwood

Tamara Fournillier Onadeko, 5’10”, Guard, Barking Abbey

Hannah Dawson, 5’10”, Guard/Forward, Charnwood

Rebecca Dwomoh, 5’10”, Guard/Forward, Femeni Maresm (Spain)

Esther Little, 6’2″, Guard/Forward, Copleston

Jannike Marshall, 6’0″, Forward, Caledonia Pride

MJ Sarkodee-Adoo, 6’2″, Forward, City of London Academy

Molly Lavin, 6’2″, Forward, Richmond Knights

Louise Rouse, 6’2″, Forward, Oaklands

Isimenme Ozzy-Momodu, 6’1″, Centre, City of London Academy

Team White

Amelia Sandie, 5’7″, Guard, City of London Academy

Abbey Whitehouse, 5’9″, Guard, Sheffield

Asha Andrews, 5’7″, Guard, Sevenoaks Suns

Charlotte Redhead, 5’7″, Guard, Copleston

Ella Pearson, 5’10”, Guard/Forward, Copleston

Simona Henshaw, 5’10”, Forward, City of London Academy

Shaniya Rose, 6’0″, Forward, Nottingham Wildcats

Susannah Rafiu, 6’1″, Forward, Copleston

Pollyanna Storie, 6’2″, Forward, Caledonia Pride

Adaobi Nebuwa, 5’10”, Forward, City of London Academy

Cameron Taylor-Willis, 6’0″, Forward, Copleston

Emma Imevbore, 6’4″, Centre, London Thunder

Alex Baker, 6’2″, Centre, Charnwood

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.” 

National Cup Finals weekend – Match Reports

Rockets Junior Ladies 65 v 60 Charnwood College Riders.

Rockets launched themselves with great propulsion into the opening 2 quarters of this first ever National Cup Final for Rockets Juniors Ladies as they stormed Riders 23-9 and 23-18 in the initial two quarters giving Rockets a comfortable 19 point advantage at the interval 46-27.

Carmen Moreno was finishing clinically with an average of over 83% conversion rate while Paula Tarrega was dominant on the boards for Rockets. With Noa Sanchez Marques also over 83% shooting percentage and making assists, it was now crucial for the U 18’s to not get complacent as they knew Charnwood would come out fighting…..and how they did !!

Rockets were restricted to just 11 points in the third period as Riders hit 15 and the game took on a different perspective. Now Rockets’ clinical finishing fell away as Riders defended with grit and determination as they fought to not lose 3 consecutive finals. Would the 57-42 advantage at the end of the third period be enough Riders began another charge ?

Each team wanted to lift the cup in front of their passionate supporters. It was a mighty strong fight back by Riders in the final quarter as they restricted Rockets to just 8 points whilst scoring 18 themselves but Rockets prevailed with scores at key times and solid defence in the end game as they took the victory and held the cup high through their 65-60 win.

This was very much a team effort though the top scorers for Rockets were Anabel Latorre Ciria as she raised her game in the second half to finish as the game’s MVP with 17 points and 12 rebounds whilst Carmen Segura Moreno also hit 17 points,  took down 4 rebounds and had a brace of assists and steals . Noa Sanchez Marques hit 16 pts., had 6 rebounds and 4 assists.

Head Coach Blai Benlloch was thrilled with the Rockets Junior Ladies win as he recognises it’s the result of a dedicated academy investment programme at the John Madejski Academy .

Anabel Latorre Ciria – MVP


Rockets 71-73 Haringey Hawks

A pulsating game referred to by the commentators as one that will be regarded as the best ever U18 Junior Men Cup Final in the sports history ended with heart breaking final second defeat for Rockets as the final 3 point shot to lift the trophy, rimmed out and they found themselves forlorn on the court having truly given their all.

This is the way Head Coach Fisher encouraged them throughout, ‘Don’t leave anything on the court, do your utmost and be proud.’   And for sure he and his team did just that in front of the biggest and loudest supporters the day had experienced. The majority of these young men have another year at this level and will be striving to succeed in next year’s competition.
Rockets edged the opening quarter 17-16 but found themselves 33-39 adrift at the interval as Hawks lifted their finishing and stifled Rockets. The 15 minute break was a key time for Coach Fisher and his message was clearly received by his stalwarts as they took the third quarter 26-20 to leave the game delicately poised at 59 each as the final period began.

Hawks opened with a score but Rockets edged ahead thanks to a Sam Grant treble. Hawks had a 6-0 run midway through the quarter but Rockets cut that to three with just two and a half minutes left…. a huge time in Basketball. Three Rockets shots rimmed back and Hawks led by five with Just 28.9 seconds remaining . Rockets drove on seeking the cup triumph and with 16.9secs left scored to get within  three of Hawks. One from two from  the free throw line extended Hawks lead but another big Rockets treble with 7.7 secs on the clock meant Rockets were tied . Another opportunity from the free throw line edged Hawks ahead  by two. Again Rockets took off and the outstanding Grant launched a buzzer beating treble effort but it came back off the ring to leave an exhausted Rockets Juniors team bereft on the court. They had been in a fantastic final and Coach Fisher was proud of their magnificent effort in getting a National Cup Final and just falling a millimetres short of victory.

For Rockets Sam Grant finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists , Ross Stepney with 17 points and 16 rebounds and David Chive 10 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists .

An absolutely great Saturday for Rockets Junior Men and Women and a great future ahead for some truly talented players.

David Chive scoring for Rockets


Sam Grant – Rockets’ Top Scorer




Loughborough Student Riders81Win

In what was clearly going to be a tough final for Rockets Ladies as 7 of the Rockets team of 12 are not only Academy players ( under 18yo ) but had also played less than 24 hours before as they took the Junior Women title. So could they put the inevitable physical tiredness and the emotion of winning the day before, behind them.

Head Coach David Sanchez was well aware of that but was expectant as his team had fought many tough battles to reach this final and they were well prepared. However the sight of one of England’s brightest basketball hopes for many years being released from her primary professional league seniors ( Leicester Riders ) , on court, increased the level of difficulty against an already talented side. In reality Holly Winterburn for Riders and Monica Herranz for Rockets were the two outstanding stars of either team and fought for the MVP too.

Riders shot off to an initial 7-0 run before Rockets drew level on nine each midway through the opening period before Riders finished that quarter with a 12-0 blitz. Rockets had missed seven open shots and Winterburn had scored 13 of Riders 21-9 lead.  A stunned Rockets team used the 2 minute break but Riders charged to another 7-0 opening start to quarter two to enjoy a 28-9 advantage. Herranz hit 14 before the break including 2 from 3 trebles to help Rockets stay in contention though 25-41 in arrears.

The third period saw Rockets further adrift at 42-64 but these young players have a never say die attitude that was much appreciated by the packed stands and though going down to a better team on the day, gave a spirited display of what’s to come in the future for the whole female development programme. At Rockets.

With Herranz being rested in the final few minutes the final score was 54- 81 . Herranz had finished with 20 pts.,13 rebounds and 3 assists whilst 16 yo Carmen Moreno had 8 pts and 17 yo Noa Sanchez-Marques 7 pts, 3 assists and 3 steals.

Rockets still have much league action ahead before that draws to a close in April so why not pop along, watch them at JMA or Rivermead …or join one of young teams ?


Date Time League Season
20/01/2019 13:00 National Cup 2018 / 2019


University of Essex
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