American star is already loving new life as a Rider
John Fraley may have only stepped off a plane from America a few weeks ago, but the Leicester Riders star has quickly settled into his new life.
Not only on the court, where the 6ft 8in centre has made an exciting impression, but also away from the hoops where he has been made to feel right at home.
"Everybody seems really nice and has made me feel very welcome," said Fraley. "It's definitely different over here, but a good different.
"There are some spots in America where you wouldn't go off and start talking to somebody, but people here are so friendly.
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"A few times Jay Couisnard and I have been walking around trying to figure out where we are going and we've just asked somebody and they've been more than happy to tell us and even walk there with us.
"I am enjoying it here – I can see myself being here for a while, I really can."
The 24-year-old has made an immediate impact since arriving from Austin Peay University in the Ohio Valley Conference in the USA, where he had spent four years.
In the Riders' first game of the British Basketball League season against Sheffield Sharks, Fraley played an integral part in their 71-55 victory, scoring an impressive 23 points, and being selected for the BBL Team of the Week.
He continued his good form in the Riders' second fixture – a home debut against Cheshire Jets, where he scored 16 points on the way to the team's 80-72 victory, which also saw head coach Rob Paternostro register his 100th win in charge of Riders.
"I was happy with our team performance (against Sheffield) – we had to work hard, especially on the defensive side, but I thought we did really well," he said.
"But with the good also comes the bad, so there's some things we can work on and straighten out, but I think we are taking the right steps to do so."
"Personally, I need to work on my conditioning – that's something that coach has been helping me with and that's what I'm working on in practice this week.
"The game is more physical over here than in the US, some calls you are used to getting in college you don't get over here. I just have to switch to that mind-set and know that."
Riders have a lot of new faces in their roster this season, Fraley and Couisnard included, but the former says that they are doing a great job of gelling together as a team.
"It's very surprising how well we get along together, especially in such a short period of time, both on and off the court," he said.
"We have got off to a great start but I feel the camaraderie can get even better and we can go pretty far. It's important we spend time together because you carry that on to the court."
Next up in the BBL for the Jelson Homes DMU-sponsored Riders is a home clash with London Lions, at the John Sandford Sports Centre, tomorrow (7.30).