After a successful campaign with Leicester Riders in his fifth season as coach of the team, Rob Paternostro guided the country’s oldest professional basketball team to a hat-trick of BBL titles.
After every season, players arrive and depart, but Rob is thinking positively.
“I always believe in the fact we can get good players,” he said.
“Last June, I think we had about six or seven positions to fill, so every year is different.”
It’s not just progress on the court, as Rob and the rest of his coaching staff have been building each of the players’ basketball IQ during the course of the summer.
“I thought last season we had the smartest team, from a basketball stand point, that we’ve ever had and I think that is major factor in our success,” Paternostro added.
“We feel like preparation is very important. We talk a lot about other teams and what they do, but it takes a very intelligent basketball player to take that information and to process it out on the floor and I thought that when I look back on games from last season, you can see the guys really paid attention and really focus on being intelligent basketball players.”
After another successful campaign at the John Sandford Sports Centre, plans are progressing well with regards to a new home for the Riders, although it would appear that would come into fruition ahead of the 2014-15 season at the earliest.
Despite that fact, Rob believes where the team play next season will make no difference to their performances.
“Everywhere we play, either at home or on the road, we have great support from our fans and I think all our players recognise that last year,” he said.
“We have played in different venues throughout last season. We have played play-off games in venues that we have never played in before so we’re not worried about that, we’re just worried about getting the best team that we can have and a team that can feel confident playing wherever.
“Whether it’s in a shiny new arena or playing outside on the concrete, the guys are ready to go anywhere.”
Unlike football pre-season, which starts at the end of June or in early July, the basketball campaign begins at the end of September. The added time gives the players of Leicester Riders to chance to rest their bodies, after what was a hard season.
“I thought we played great last season,” concluded Paternostro.
“I think teams around the league respected how hard we played defensively and respected how many players we played. I think that’s another thing, we were able to play 9/10 players a game, which isn’t an easy thing. It’s very difficult as a coach to do that, but it was made easier by the group we had.
“I’d like to have three to four weeks with the group before we have to get underway,” says Rob of how much time he’d ideally want with his players ahead of the season starting.
“I would hope a lot of the players we have signed are making sure the body is well rested. I understand the concept of getting better in the off season and you have to do that, but you also have to make sure you’re refreshed and ready to go.”
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