Basketball: Surprise-hit Anthony Rowe relishing new lease of life at Leicester Riders
New Leicester Riders signing Anthony Rowe has slotted into the team with such ease that even he has been surprised.
Three games into his Riders career – and three wins on the bounce – has seen Rowe make an impressive contribution.
On his debut, in the home win against Durham Wildcats, Rowe shot a blistering 75 per cent from the floor on his way to 21 points, with 12 rebounds and two assists.
He followed that up in the BBL Cup semi-final first-leg win against Sheffield last Friday with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists, shooting 60 per cent.
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Against Glasgow Rocks on Sunday, Rowe top-scored with 25 points, added five rebounds and three assists, and again shot at a remarkably efficient 69 per cent.
The 27-year-old was a shock signing from Plymouth Raiders last month after John Fraley was ruled out for the season with injury, and the British forward is delighted to be part of Rob Paternostro's team at Riders.
"I'm really enjoying it. It's been fantastic, we've a got a very talented group of guys, both on and off the court, and I really do feel grateful to be in this position," said Rowe.
He admitted it had been a wrench to leave Plymouth after a tug-of-war between the two clubs about whether or not he had been officially released.
"It's been a while since I enjoyed basketball as much as this," said Rowe.
"I was devastated to leave Plymouth, but it's been a blessing in disguise, and sometimes you just need a change."
Riders roared to a 90-70 win in Sheffield to put them on the verge of a trip to the National Indoor Arena for the BBL Cup final, and Rowe was happy with the way his team played.
"It was a pretty plain-sailing game for us," he said. "We jumped out early and had control from there on after the first quarter."
Rowe had praise for GB international Drew Sullivan, and said: "It was Drew's first game back from injury and my first time playing with him.
"I knew he was good, from playing against him, but when you're playing in his team, he's superb. He's a real game-changer and, to come back after a couple of weeks out and play like that, shows what a game-changer he is.
"Zaire Taylor and Pavol Losonsky also had good games, but it was a great team performance."
Riders made it a winning weekend by staying top of the BBL table with an 85-73 win at Glasgow on Sunday, much to Rowe's delight.
"It was a tough game for us, and a good test," he said.
"We were up by three at half-time, but they came back at us in the third period, and it would have been a good game for a neutral to watch.
"We really put some defence on them in the fourth period, and to hold them to six points was excellent.
"It was fantastic to be part of that, and the difference between the two sides was that we had another level defensively."
Tomorrow's action in the second leg of the semi-final of the BBL Cup, at the John Sandford Sports Centre, tips-off at 7.30pm, with the winner on aggregate facing Newcastle Eagles in the final on Sunday, January 13.
There are still tickets available for tomorrow's game, telephone 0116 2558635 or visit: