Category: Club Announcements

Rockets tip-off against newly-promoted Warriors

Reading Rockets will travel to the Capital to open up their NBL Division One campaign this Saturday (5.30pm tip-off) when they face last season’s NBL Division Two runners-up Westminster Warriors. The Reading team had it’s first official pre-season last weekend against fellow NBL Division One outfit Essex and Herts Leopards and were victorious by 97 points to 74. The Berkshire outfit finished in sixth position in England’s top league last season with a record of 14-12 whilst this weekend’s opponents finished in second place in the second tier winning 14 games and losing 5.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane is looking forward to the upcoming season and has really enjoyed getting to know his new look squad ahead of this weekend’s trip to Westminster. The Reading play caller said,

“What excites me most about Division One this year is the group of players we have this season. With many new faces and some returning it looks to be an exciting group to work with. The journey will be unique and diverse for each player but no doubt challenging and rewarding.”

“The league itself looks very competitive which is a great prospect for us and one we are relishing. Westminster have come back into Division One and I am sure they will be hungry to start their season well so we will need to be mindful of this but our sole focus is to be the best we can be in each moment and that’s what we will be striving for come Saturday’s game.”

Rockets go into Saturday’s match-up with no fewer than five debutants for their opening NBL Division One clash. Nick Richards, Ben Dixon, Pau Mayor, Liam Davis, and Mattias Boho Sayo will all suit up for the Reading team for the first time whilst Ed Potter returns to the fold after a year’s absence. The Berkshire outfit also has a heavy academy presence in their ranks with Sam Grant, David Chive, David Obediah, Asher Ndah looking to be in action for the Rockets top team with James Jolly and Ross Stepney also ever present.

Having scored 41 first quarter points in last weekend’s friendly, the Reading team will be looking to start their league campaign in a similar fashion with Coach Keane taking the helm for his second season alongside the new coaching team of Ciaran Dunne and Dan Lloyd.

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Rockets complete roster with loan signing of Liam Davis from BBL outfit Bristol Flyers

Reading Rockets have completed their seventh senior signing ahead of the 2019-2020 campaign with the loan signing of 6’9 forward Liam Davis from BBL Championship side Bristol Flyers. The 23-year-old American who holds a British passport will join the Berkshire outfit on a season long loan following a successful four-year spell at Bethany College in NCAA Division Three and most recently at Ben-e-lot in Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe.

Davis averaged 13.1 points, 7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game in his senior year at Bethany, helping the Bisons to the PAC tournament finals, whilst also earning All-PAC second team honours. The versatile forward put pen to paper with the Flyers earlier this week and their Coach Andreas Kapoulas was really pleased to acquire the 23-year-old. The Bristol play-caller said,

“Signing Liam shows our vision and commitment to building a programme with a long-term sustainable approach. He is a young promising player who we believe can develop to a very good player in the BBL. It’s not something that you usually see in our league, but I felt it was important to invest in him and work with him on a two-year plan.”

“It’s an exciting project and it’s great to be working in partnership with Reading Rockets, who are another forward-thinking club with vision and commitment to developing players. NBL Division one is a strong pathway for young players, and we are looking forward to following Liam’s progress this season.”

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was delighted to bolster his front court with the loan signing of Davis and is really excited to work with the 6’9 forward as well as grow the relationship with the Bristol Flyers. The Irishman said,

“We are very excited about this unique partnership with the BBL’s Bristol Flyers with regards to bringing Liam Davis on board. Coach Andreas Kapoulas deserves a lot of credit for getting the ball rolling on this. It could be seen as an exciting bridge linking the BBL and NBL clubs in a very positive way.”

“Liam fits exactly what we need to finalise an exciting Rockets line up this coming season. Liam’s skill set as a big will give us another dimension at both ends of the floor.”

Davis himself is thrilled to be coming to England and really likes the project in place for him over the next two years. The former Bethany Bison said,

“I’m really excited, I spoke to Coach Kapoulas and he told me about the two-year plan that he wanted to put me on,” said Davis.

“He said that I’m going to be the first player that the organisation has ever signed on a two-year deal, so it’s a promising sign that he’s invested in my future and he wants me to improve my game at Reading this season.”

Mayor magic as Rockets sign Spaniard

Reading Rockets have made their sixth signing ahead of the 2019-2020 campaign with Spaniard Pau Mayor the latest to commit to the Berkshire outfit ahead of the forthcoming season. The 6’3 23-year-old point guard played in EBA (fourth division) in Spain last season for F.C. Martinec Basquet Barcelona and averaged just shy of 15 points per game as well as just over 4 rebounds and 3 assists each outing.

Mayor and his team reached the final four of the Copa Catalunya last term and will be a welcome addition to the Reading team with the point guard position being filled by multiple players last season. Mayor also has junior experience in Spain and comes highly recommended by former player and now agent Adri Rodriquez Viñas.

In speaking ahead of his arrival to England, Pau Mayor is excited to move to England for a new challenge in a new country and is looking forward to meeting up with his new teammates next week. The point guard said,

“This upcoming year with Reading Rockets is my first experience as a “professional player” and my first experience away from home so I am going to give my 100% and try to help the team in everything I can, on and off the court. After finishing my university degree as a teacher, I am very happy to be able to have this opportunity and project within this team and city, and I hope to have a good time with my teammates and make the supporters enjoy the game. I am really looking forward to joining the team soon!”

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane is extremely pleased to add a pure point guard to his roster for the 2019-2020 season and really admires the way Mayor plays, believing he will be a really good fit for his team. The Irish play-caller said,

“Capturing the signature of Pau is a really positive one for our team and he is a player I am very much looking forward to working with. We really needed to make sure we filled the point guard position with an experienced but hungry player, and we feel he fits the bill really well. I am looking forward to seeing the impact Pau has not just for our team but for our younger players as I believe they can learn a lot from him.”

Check back tomorrow at midday for further announcements!

Rockets retain Coach Keane’s services, Dan Lloyd and Ciaran Dunne join coaching staff

Reading Rockets will welcome back Head Coach Alan Keane for his second season at the helm and his third with the Berkshire Club. Keane will continue his role as the man in charge of the Division One outfit as well as lead the JMA Rockets academy team in the Elite Academies Basketball League (EABL).

The Irishman recently returned from Greece with the Great Britain Under 18 team in which the group finished in eighth place in Division A, their second-best finish ever on the European stage. Keane has been an active member in the Great Britain set-up for many years and is seen as one of the leading coaches in the country with the Rockets very much his passion in the regular season.

In speaking ahead of the 2019-2020 campaign the Rockets “main man” had this to say,

“Every season brings different challenges and this coming season may bring the most. With the retirement of Danny Carter and the club now fully investing in EABL players cutting their teeth at the Division 1 level it certainly brings a lot of unpredictability. What comes with that is excitement and many opportunities for club and players. While we may be young this coming season, I believe we will be dynamic enough to do good things. The combination of pro players and academy players is a fantastic recipe for growth, development and success for all.”

Joining Coach Keane this term will be Assistant Coaches Dan Lloyd and Ciaràn Dunne. Lloyd joins the Rockets having worked with the club’s under 18 teams last term and brings a wealth of experience having both played and coached at national team level as well as playing at the top level of British Basketball.

Dunne joins the Berkshire club and will take over Under 18 Premier duties from Ben Fisher as well as coach at the John Madejski Academy and be an integral member of the performance coaching team. The Irishman joins the Rockets having spent last season with the Canterbury Crusaders nursey team Northfleet Academy as well as being an assistant coach for the Irish Under 18s and Under 16s for the past eight years

Director of Coaching Matt Johnson is pleased with this season’s coaching line up. In speaking about the team that will lead the NBL Division One outfit Johnson commented,

“Coach Keane will be at the helm again for his second year building the programme towards the blend of high-performance senior players and developing some of the best young players in the country. Alongside him this year will be two assistants; Coach Ciaran Dunne who joins from Northfleet Academy in Kent and previous stints in Ireland and Coach Dan Lloyd who has extensive experience as an incredibly successful player in the BBL and international teams in the halcyon days of British basketball and has also coached across all levels.”

“We are thrilled to welcome both Coaches to the club and look forward to working alongside them within our incredibly important coaching group.”

Academy duo Grant and Chive move to full time NBL Division One Rockets as graduates Obediah and Ndah added to roster

Reading Rockets have really enhanced their development of youth by promoting Under 18s Samuel Grant and David Chive to the men’s first team for the 2019-2020 season.

The pair have one year remaining at junior basketball level but having impressed last term and both representing Great Britain at the Under 18 European Championships this summer, Coach Keane has promoted the duo to the Division One roster whilst remaining part of the EABL academy team for the coming term. Grant and Chive both featured for the Rockets top team last year

The Rockets have also added David Obediah and Asher Ndah to the squad after both players completed their junior journey with the Berkshire outfit. The pair have come through Reading’s junior programme and were prominent features last season in the club’s Under 18 team and in the EABL team.

Obediah and Ndah will continue to study and play at the John Madejski Academy as well as cut their teeth at the Division One level with both players having a taste of England’s top league last time out.

Rockets Academy Director Matt Johnson is looking forward to seeing the contributions of the academy players again this term. The Director of Coaching said,

“As part of the Rockets programme, we have long been in the pursuit of developing young players and giving them the opportunity to play at the highest level possible in England with this year being no different. With such a strong cohort of youth coming through it is exciting to see how many younger players are now in a position to play in our men’s and women’s division one teams. We are really looking forward to this season and seeing many young players making their names in senior competitions.”