Tag: #rockets

Rockets Senior Men ready to chase 2018/19 National Trophy

Reading Rockets are aiming to transform their pre-season performances into tangible results as 2018/19 National Basketball League Division 1 action gets underway this weekend.

Fresh from an impressive and measured win against the Welsh national side, Rockets senior men will play newly promoted Thames Valley Cavaliers in the National Trophy.

Five time winners of the Trophy, Reading Rockets will once again field their new-look squad, which combines experienced players with exciting youngsters from the Rockets Academy. The hunger and determination shown by all players in pre-season bodes well for the Rockets ahead of what promises to be a competitive year ahead.

The opening game of the new season will be something of a home affair for Reading Rockets as they make the short 45-minute trip down the M4 and onto Uxbridge to face the Cavaliers.

Despite facing the likes of Team USA and Surrey Scorchers in the pre-season friendlies, Rockets will be under no illusions as to the challenge that waits this Sunday.

The opening NBL 2018/19 Division 1 game will take place the following weekend, Saturday 6 October, against the Derby Trailblazers at the Rivermead Leisure Centre.

Head Coach Alan Keane: “Following this coming weekend we will have had four preparation games under our belt. Our three games to date (and this coming weekend’s preparation game) have given us great opportunities to establish what we want ahead of the opening game of the season. The process is long and challenging and we are nowhere near where we will be, however Thames Valley will be a very stern test. They are loaded with experienced players who will test every team in the country to their limits. We look forward to opening the competitive season with such a challenge.”

For more information about Reading Rockets, please contact:

Chris Hughes – 07917 352511



Rockets new line-up set for pre-season clash against Welsh National Squad

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



Reading Rockets Adds American Flair to Senior Men’s Squad

Reading Rockets has revealed the next player to join its senior men’s squad for the forthcoming 2018/19 National Basketball League (NBL) season, American forward AJ Carr.

The 23-year-old, who hails from Fairfax, Virginia, becomes the first American player to be announced for the new season after recent Irish signings Adrian O’Sullivan (24) and Ronan O’Sullivan (24).

A graduate of Saint James School in Maryland, AJ went onto play basketball for Shepherd University in West Virginia for four years, totaling 85 competitive games since 2014.

At 6ft6, AJ will bring a brand-new dimension to the growing Rockets squad with a versatile playing style that promises to bring a unique flair to the team’s game. The American will move to Reading in late August, when he will meet with Rockets colleagues and start to integrate himself into the club.

Reading Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane said: “I am very pleased with how our team is coming together. Our most recent signing, AJ, adds another dimension to the team. AJ’s versatility really suits the style of game we will play. AJ possesses a skill set which will make us difficult to defend and play at a tempo that will be exciting to watch. In addition, AJ’s character fits the values and personal traits we value most at the club. I have big expectations of AJ and have no doubt he will deliver that and some.” 


Reading Rockets chairman Gary Johnson added: “To sign someone of AJ’s calibre sends a strong message of our intentions this coming season. We 

are always deeply privileged when a player decides to commit to our club, but never more so than when it requires a move overseas. The whole of Reading will take note when AJ’s in town, and I can’t wait to see the fans’ reaction to his game play.”

AJ Carr said: “Coach Keane contacted my agent and I about playing in England and joining the Rockets. It was an honour to be considered to play professionally overseas in Europe and after talking with Coach Keane and Mr. Johnson, my agents at SportsFive and I decided that signing with the Rockets was the best move for me. As far as the season ahead, I’m extremely excited to continue building upon the longstanding success of the Reading Rockets’ programme and bringing a commitment to excellence as well. The Rockets are a competitive, prestigious, and family/community-oriented organisation that I’m ecstatic about joining. Big things are coming!”

Second Irish Player signing for Rockets as Ronan O’Sullivan Joins

The new signings for Reading Rockets basketball club are coming thick and fast as the club announces the arrival of 24-year-old Irishman Ronan O’Sullivan.

Reading Rockets is well known for its family values, so it’s fitting that Ronan joins his cousin Adrian as part of the line-up for the 2018/19 National Basketball League (NBL) season.

Hailing from Cork, the 6ft7 player has already visited Reading in preparation for the new season, meeting with Head Coach Alan Keane and Assistant Head Coach Josh Thorne in early July.

To acknowledge the club’s 21-year-long connection to Reading, the recent player signings have been photographed in well-known areas of the town. Ronan’s first appointment upon arrival to Reading was a trip to the recently renovated Abbey Ruins with the backdrop of the Blade building offering an ideal juxtaposition between the old and new parts of the town.

Reading Rockets will continue to add to its squad as the new season approaches, with the focus firmly on establishing the club as the ones to beat in the competitive Division 1.

The organisation has made no secret of its aspirations and ambitions to attain status at the highest echelons of national basketball, and its recent signings are a true statement of intent in this regard.

Reading Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane commented: “I am excited to have Ronan as a Rocket. Our senior men’s line-up for the 2018/19 season is taking shape. He encompasses the values we desire most on and off the court. Ronan has a good basketball history and will bring valuable experience to the team.” 

Reading Rockets chairman Gary Johnson added: “There’s something very upbeat about our pre-season with some exciting talent being brought into the senior men’s team, and an exciting buzz around what Rockets is doing. We welcome Ronan wholeheartedly into the Rockets fold, and look forward to seeing him in action.”

Ronan O’Sullivan said: “I’m delighted to be signing with Reading Rockets. I’m very excited to be part of such a well-respected and successful club. Everything has impressed me so far especially the hardworking mentality and the ambition of the club. My personal goals for the year are definitely to improve as a basketball player and as a person off the court. Ultimately my main goal to win trophies this season.”

Meet the Player – Adrian O’Sullivan

What does it mean to you signing for Reading Rockets?

“It’s a dream come true; a lot of kids in Ireland dream of playing basketball at a professional level. I’m really excited to be a part of such a successful club. Playing in a professional set-up has been a goal of mine for some time now and I’m looking forward to being a part of the Rockets, who are constantly pursuing a high level of success.” 

How did the contact come about?

“Since the end of last season, I had been looking to play elsewhere and when I heard that Alan Keane received the Head Coach role with Rockets it was a perfect opportunity to reach out. Of course, the Irish link attracted me to the club right away. Both my uncle and father had been previously linked with coach Keane through basketball here in Ireland.

Your family has played a key role in your career. Tell us more…

“My family have had biggest influence on me in terms of my career to date. Both my parents played and coached at a national and international level for years. I have an older brother who also has a number of senior caps for his country and more recently has been involved in the development of young players in Ireland. I have an uncle and a couple of younger cousins who have also played at European championships and with all of this in one, it was easy to be steeped in the game as I grew up.”

What do you do away from basketball?

“Away from the game of basketball you would find me with friends. I tend not to watch a whole lot of Netflix or play the Xbox. I’d have an interest in soccer and the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) in Ireland.”

With what three words would you describe yourself? 

“Determined, honest and outgoing.” 

What do you know about Reading?

“I know Reading is in the south-east England and just a short trip from London, which of course is very attractive. It is where the London Irish are based and also is one of the top areas for economic success.”