Category: Uncategorised

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.”

MVINE and Reading Rockets prepare for LIFT OFF

Tipping-off in 2021, we are delighted to announce that MVINE, a leading UK company delivers next generation platforms that power the digital economy are joining Reading Rockets Basketball as our platinum partner, supporting both the community programmes and performance activities.

This partnership is the culmination of years of work between all parties. Both sides faced delays due to COVID-19, but the hard work and dedication shown by all has finally paid off. Credit to all those involved to make this happen from both MVINE and the Reading Rockets.

Mvine Ltd is an established British Digital company headquartered in London. Best known as innovators, aggregators and integrators MVINE transform its customers’ IT estate and across the value chain they depend on. They strive to make businesses more cyber-secure and more affordable to run, whilst also developing technology to enhance the digital experience for all.

“MVINE is one of the most forward-thinking organisations in the UK, we are proud to be working with them and glad they have chosen to join our Rockets family,” said Matthew Johnson, Director, Reading Rockets. “We share a common vision: passion, vision, quality, motivation and commitment. Now, our club will be ready to bounce back in 2021, stronger and better than before.”

Frank Joshi, the executive director at MVINE, also expressed excitement for the alliance between the two organisations. “Our partnership with Reading Rockets furthers our commitment to investing in our communities that help prepare our young citizens for tomorrow through sport. Reading Rockets have demonstrated the impact the club has made to families through basketball, driving success on and off the court.”

We are excited for all which we will achieve together in the coming years.

Rockets V CoLA | Game Preview

Rockets (3-5) host CoLA Southwark Pride (2-4) this Saturday at 2:00pm at John Madejski Academy. The game will be livestreamed on YouTube where you will be joined by Matt Johnson and Todd Lindley again for commentary.

Rockets are coming into the game after losing 60-67 in a tight game against Nottingham Trent University. However, the Rockets women have been playing some terrific basketball and playing at a really high tempo which has been really entertaining to watch.

CoLA Southwark Pride are struggling to find some form as of late. They come into this fixture on the back on a 3-game losing streak following the losses to Loughborough Riders, Nottingham Trent University and Ipswich.

Captain Candela Hermida is looking forward to getting back out on the court to get back to winning ways: “This weekend´s game is going to be a tough one. But we have been working hard and playing really well during training this week, and we feel prepared. If we bring this to the court this Saturday, I am confident in our chances our finishing up with a win!”

Coach Luque understands this game will be difficult. “This weekend it’s going to be a very hard game against CoLA, as they are very similar to us – a very young team who like to play at a very high intensity. I love to play against Southwark Pride and against coach Jackson, as I have them a lot of respect and I know his love for this game.” He continues to say, “CoLA are very physical and with players who have the ability to do different roles during the game. We will have to be very careful with the match ups and keep going with our core principles: Intense defence, move the ball quickly and be aggressive in 1v1 situations. It is going to be a big challenge for us.”

The game will be livestreamed on YouTube where Todd Lindley and Matt Johnson will be on commentary duties again. You can also follow the game using FIBA LiveStats.

Rockets overcome the Dragons

Bradford Dragons 90 v 111 Reading Rockets

Rockets’ most experienced senior players Sam Toluwase and Leome Francis got them off to a brisk start with lay-ups and defensive rebounds respectively as point guard O’Showen Williams imposed himself from the tip and shooting guards Sam Grant and Reis Pinnock drained trebles easing Rockets ahead in the early exchanges. However Dragons’ Head Coach Chris Mellor soon changed matters for the hosts as they came back to trail by a single point at 13-12 before ending the opening period with a 24-21 advantage.

Rockets’ Head Coach Alan Keane got inside his guys at the first break and despite Dragons extending their lead, it was momentary as Pinnock, Francis and Williams led the Rockets’ revival with Williams again having an outstanding performance, hitting four from five trebles by the interval with Francis taking down 6 rebounds and scoring 11 points whilst Pinnock stroked a pair of trebles and was outstanding defensively. The fast approach was just too much for Dragons as Rockets hit them for 36 points in this second quarter to a response of just 18 seeing Rockets ahead by 57-42 halfway through. Rockets had 4 players in double figures before the interval with the academy youngsters making vital contributions as they learn their trade and are given every opportunity by Coach Keane. Sam Grant had a slam dunk and a top of the key treble as Williams made a steal and a buzzer beating score.

The third quarter was a more even affair as Dragons fired again though Rockets edged it 24-22 to extend their lead to 81-64 but 3 Rockets players were on 3 personal fouls but Francis and Williams still scored well including an audacious steal and finish followed by Williams’ 6th treble from 10 attempts…an awesome show of outside the key shooting.

Dragons opened with a treble and a brace of inside scores but academy guard Latrell Maitland stroked a treble and Williams rose high to make a block and keep Rockets some 22 points in the lead midway through the final period at 99-77. Coach Keane gave all his academy players much court time as Jacob Stanuel-Taitte scored to bring up Rockets’ century of points , Maitland took his  tally to 9 points including a reverse lay-up as Kivuvu Live hit 7 points and took down 5 rebounds and Jacob Cirtautas hit 3 points. Coach Keane and the senior players were thrilled with the contribution of these young players as Rockets took the victory by 111 – 90 though their journey home was interrupted by the breakdown of their minibus.

Top scorers for Rockets and Player of the Game was again O’Showen Williams as he hit 30 points, made 4 steals and took down 6 rebounds for one of the smallest players on the court. Leome Francis continued to show his importance to the side as he has a double double by amassing  20 pts and taking down 10 rebounds. Sam Toluwase and Reis Pinnock hit 13 pts apiece though all players scored except one.

Next weekend Rockets travel to league champions Team Solent Kestrels who haven’t lost in the league since February 2019 so Rockets will need to be on top form to overcome them.

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.