Riders looking forward to double-header challenge
Leicester Riders begin a hectic spell of four games in nine days when they embark on their first double-header of the season this weekend.
Riders host Worcester Wolves at John Sandford Sports Centre tonight (7.30), before travelling to Durham Wildcats tomorrow (4.00).
Victory in both games would surpass the Jelson Homes DMU-sponsored Riders' best-ever unbeaten start to a BBL season with five wins, and put them only two short of their all-time top-flight record set in 1984.
While back-to-back games are common in the BBL, for some Riders players it will be a new experience.
"We've talked about it a lot this week in training," said coach Rob Paternostro. "It's a different situation for the new guys in our team. They won't have done it before, so we have talked about the importance of rest and preparation."
"In a way, we're looking forward to it because we've found it hard to get a rhythm so far because of the way the schedule has been. But, with four games in nine days, there is a lot of basketball to play and that should help us rhythm-wise."
Riders pipped Wolves for runners-up spot in the league last season, edging them out on their head-to-head record after they finished level on points.
Both squads have had a number of changes since then and Wolves have had to deal with an additional problem involving veteran Sherrad Prezzie-Blue.
"They've had to adjust because, when they put the roster together, Sherrad was going to be their point guard," said Paternostro.
"But they've had visa troubles so it's taken them a little time to adjust to that. Watching them on tape, they are very talented and they've had contributions from many different players, so they are one of the more difficult teams in this league to beat."
The Wildcats finished bottom last year, but have already shown improvement in their first four games this campaign.
Paternostro said, "It looks to me like they have more options offensively this year compared to last season.
"At times, they could only rely on a few guys to score points, but over the first few weeks of this season they've had numerous guys step up and make plays for them."
Riders: Okoro, Couisnard, Stewart, Sullivan, Calvo, Hopkins, Taylor, Anderson, Washington, Lamble, Fraley, Haggith, Gould, Dawes, Maynard, Losonsky.
Wolves: Van-Beest, Ziwa, Owumi, Dover, Fernandez, Turner, Belgrave, Morant-Hudson, Kazlauskas, Thomson, Irving, Ocitti, Noyer, Masiulis.
Wildcats: Attah, Bohannon, Johnson, Page, Elderkin, Reynolds, Guinane, Baldarelli, Chambers, Bucci, Keister, Fowler.