Loughborough Basketball Programme supports Riders to Cup glory
Loughborough students have played a significant role on and off the court in supporting Leicester Riders to retain the British Basketball League (BBL) Cup.
In front of 9,000 people at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, the Riders fought back from being 11 points down with only four minutes remaining to defeat the Newcastle Eagles 72-69.
On the court, seven current students from Loughborough University and Loughborough College were in the Riders squad of 12 that retained the trophy.
Third year students Jamell Anderson and Jorge Calvo were in the starting five for the game, with second year student Conner Washington making a major contribution with two great defensive plays in the latter stages.
The prominence of current students involved in the Riders set-up is down to the Loughborough Basketball Programme that commenced in the summer of 2011.
The development programme, a partnership between Leicester Riders, Loughborough University, Loughborough College and Charnwood College, has created a player pathway and academic opportunity for talented basketball players.
Both the men’s and women’s Loughborough Student Riders teams are flourishing in the national leagues and BUCS competitions.
The partnership has also seen the Riders utilise facilities at the University and College for training sessions and events including recruitment days.
Leicester Riders head coach Rob Paternostro said:
“I think the partnership with Loughborough University and Loughborough College has been very instrumental in our success over the last few seasons.
“You only have to take a look at a big game like the cup final, where there are big moments and players like Conner Washington and Jamell Anderson who have come through that programme, are making big plays to help the professional team take the win.
“We are very grateful for that partnership, we believe that it has really helped us grow and we are looking for continued collaboration with Loughborough.”
Mark Jarram, head coach of the men’s student team and assistant to the Leicester Riders, plays a key role in developing the players on the programme. He states:
"It's a privilege to be able to work with great student athletes, who are performing at an elite level whilst also trying to study for an education.
"I’m really pleased for guys like Jamell and Conner who have been able to improve and grow through their time here at Loughborough. They have earned what they are now doing and I hope the partnership can keep growing to allow more players to achieve the same."
As well as the players on court, there were also multiple student volunteers involved in the day including coaches, video analysis, social media managers and team managers, all helping to prepare the team and support on the day.
Jo Emmett, Strategic Manager for Performance Sport at Loughborough University said:
“The Loughborough Basketball Programme is going from strength to strength and with hard work, commitment and drive, our players are starting to achieve, both on the court and with their studies.
“We are now looking to expand the off court opportunities to develop our students into the next generation of coaching, administrative and support staff in basketball.”
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