Basketball: Riders coach dedicates BBL gong to his high-flying team
Leicester Riders head coach Rob Paternostro has seen his side's splendid start to the season rewarded by picking up the BBL's Molten Coach of the Month for October.
Paternostro's award was pretty much a foregone conclusion as Jelson Homes DMU-backed Riders are the only undefeated team in the league.
They have won seven straight matches this season, matching the best start in their history way back in 1984, in the pre-BBL days.
Riders also remain undefeated at home since February, and upset champions Newcastle last Friday, ending a losing streak on Tyneside that went back to 1997.
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The records may be tumbling but, for Paternostro, it is all about the players:
"I have been delighted with the way the guys have come together this season," he said.
"It was no secret that I was disappointed we could not keep more of last season's team together, to build on that very solid platform, but this being the world it is, with agents to the fore, we had to effectively start again.
"We have had to integrate four new guys in our starting five, but that fifth, Drew Sullivan, is a very special player, and he is a big part of where we are at.
"All the new guys have played their part, and with a nice mix of the Great Britain captain (Sullivan), young rapidly improving British players like Jamell Anderson and Conor Washington, and some quality Americans to go with two strong European players, I feel good about this team.
"The injury to John Fraley is a big blow and we need him back as soon as possible, but this is a team with a lot of hungry guys wanting to do well, and I devote this award to them."
Riders' good form was also recognised by guard Jay Couisnard making the BBL team of the week for the first time.
Couisnard's 27 points and 12 rebounds were critical in the win against Newcastle.
Paternostro said: "Jay really stepped up against the Eagles, particularly in the second half, and countered every time Newcastle tried to get back into the game. He was immense.
"He is new to the BBL and just learning the ropes, so I am confident he can get even better."
The pressure does not let up for Riders, who face a long and uncertain trip to Crystal Palace tomorrow night for a knock-out game in the BBL Cup against London Lions, who moved there this season from Milton Keynes.
For Paternostro, it is not a favourite venue.
"I remember once, as a player, having to go there five times in a season, and the journeys just seemed to get longer," he said.
"It is south London, on a Friday night, and anything can happen traffic-wise.
"But we can't control that, so we have to try to control what we can.
"The Lions are a very strong, very athletic side and coming off a good win at Cheshire on Sunday.
"It is do or die in the Cup, so it will be very tough but we are looking forward to it."