Leicester Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro has a reputation in The BBL for being a top recruiter and once again he looks to have pulled a rabbit out of his hat in the shape of 6' 6" small forward Jay Couisnard (198-F-88, college: UMKC)
The graduate of Missouri-Kansas City University of the NCAA Division 1 Summit League arrived in the UK for his first taste of professional basketball this season and is finding his feet quickly in the pro-ranks. He currently averages 14 pts and 4.5 rebs a game and whilst some of his numbers have been inconsistent, he's also shown signs of true brilliance.
Witness last weekend and the part that Couisnard played in helping The Riders to the top of The BBL with a perfect 7 - 0 record. Leicester went to the home of last seasons BBL Champions Newcastle Eagles who themselves were unbeaten at that point in the season.
Riders were without another stellar Paternostro recruit in John Fraley (203-C-89, college: Austin Peay St.) and many pundits gave them little chance against the steam-rolling Eagles who are so difficult to beat at Sport Central. Leicester hadn't won in Newcastle since 1997 and without Fraley faced a daunting task.
But they stepped up superbly and none more so than Couisnard whose 27 pt, 12 rebound game earned him a starting sport in this weeks BBL Team of the Week. Couisnard was less effective 24 hours later when The Riders were pushed to over-time by the Cheshire Jets netting only 7 pts and 5 rebounds.
However, those around him, again without Fraley, stepped up and converted in the extra period to keep Paternostro's team perfect for the season and taking them to the top of BBL from where they look down on their opponents with a certain amount of confidence going forward.
EuroBasket spoke with Couisnard immediately after his superb part in Leicesters stunning 75 - 63 win at the home of The Champions and asked him about the game.
"It was very competitive. We know that they are going to be one of the best teams in the league and throughout the year they've been one of the better teams in the league so we knew we had to come out and play at more than 100%, 150% at least, and that's what we did and we came away with the victory."
"We had to adjust quickly. We lost him last weekend and Barry (Lamble) came in tonight and Pavel (Losonsky) stepped up on the rebounds. Losing the leading rebounder in the league you know we had to be a team on the rebounds. Most of the time you know you can leak out 'cos you know Fraley's on it but today we all had to go in there and get the rebounds and that's what we did."
Couisnard's own performance was impressive. Coming in to the game he was averaging just over 4 rebounds a game so to triple his average as well as doubling his points average shows what an effect he had on the game.
"I didn't even know I had that many points to tell you the truth. I mean I just came ready to play but I actually thought I shot it really bad. But at the end of the day I had a pretty good game on paper but the important thing was that we got a win and I'm cool with that."
This is Couisnard's first experience of professional basketball. How is he enjoying it at Leicester?
"It's something new but change is good. It's something really different. I've never been outside of The States before and outside is really beautiful and it's a really good place to be. The BBL is competitive; after all it's a professional basketball league."
"It's got some good players in it like Newcastle's Joe Chapman (193-G-84, agency: I.D.S. Law, college: Marquette) and there are other really good players in the league as well as some on our team. It's a really good league and I think it's on the rise too."
So, how does the BBL and professional basketball compare with College?
"It's different although there are some similar things as far as the basketball world. I mean I get paid now for playing so that's the main difference. There's still travelling and it's still tiring but practise is about the same."
How about Leicester going forward especially after such a big win?
"The next game, the next game, that's all we can think about, the next game. We've got the game against Cheshire tomorrow (Riders won 79 75 in overtime) and we're coming out to play the same way we did today. If we do that we should get another win and keep the momentum going."
That's exactly what Riders did do although many would have expected them to roll The Jets over, they just sneaked by them but considering the travel and effort they'd put in 24 hours earlier to take the W in Newcastle they'll have been pleased just to keep their run going.
Already they look like the side most capable of upsetting Newcastle's plans this season and if they keep winning whilst Fraley's out then they will be in A1 position for the rest of the campaign. Couisnard will be a big part of that equation but judging him on his performance against the Eagles, he has what it takes to get results.
Matthew Bryan-Amaning's double-double lands him Player of the Week award among British players playing currently abroad: - 21 hours ago
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Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of British players who are currently playing abroad. This week's number one is an international forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning (205-88). He led Fukuoka Rizing to a victory over the league outsider Tokyo Big Blue in the Japanese B League D3 in Sunday night's game.
Traditionally, every week we bring you a list of the top performances of British players who are currently playing abroad.
#1. This week's number one is an international forward Matthew Bryan-Amaning (205-88, college: Washington, currently plays in Japan). He led Fukuoka Rizing to a victory over the league outsider Tokyo Big Blue (3-29) crushing them 102-57 in the Japanese B League D3 in Sunday night's game.
Bryan-Amaning was MVP of the game. He had a double-double by scoring 24 points and getting 14 rebounds. Bryan-Amaning also added 2 blocks and 3 steals in 23 minutes on the court.
Fukuoka Rizing (28-4) is placed second in the B League D3.
It was his team's fifth consecutive victory in a row.
It's Bryan-Amaning's first season with the team.
He has individually a very good year with high stats. Bryan-Amaning averages: 16.6ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.4apg, 1.3bpg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 56.9%(263-462), 3FGP: 23.1% and FT: 59.8% in 41 games he played so far.
He has a dual citizenship: Ghanian and British.
Ex-London Lions player is currently a member of the British senior national team.
#2. Second place goes to former U20 international forward Rowell Graham (197-94, currently plays in Spain). Graham was the main contributor in a 2-point Blancos de Rueda's victory against the closely-ranked Navarra (13-12) 68-66 in the Spanish LEB Silver (third division) on Friday night.
He was the best player in that game. Graham recorded 19 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 32 minutes.
Comercial Ulsa Ciudad de Valladolid (14-11) is placed seventh in the LEB Silver.
Graham has relatively good stats this year: 11.6ppg, 6.2rpg, 1.2bpg, 1.5spg, 2FGP: 54.3%, 3FGP: 16.0% and FT: 70.7% in 23 games.
He played for the British U20 national team in 2014.
#3. The British player who performed third best last week abroad was former U20 international power forward Matthew Don (201-93, college: Cameron, currently plays in Spain). Don contributed to a 3-point Cambados' victory against the 14th-ranked Gandia (7-18) 94-91 in the Spanish LEB Silver (third division) in Friday night's game.
He was the top player that evening. Don recorded a double-double by scoring 35 points and getting 12 rebounds; not bad, considering it's only his second season in pro basketball. Xuven Cambados (18-7) is placed second in the LEB Silver.
It was his team's eighth consecutive victory in a row.
Don's overall stats this season are: 9.7ppg, 7.0rpg, 2FGP: 53.8%, 3FGP: 33.3% and FT: 79.3%.
He played for the British U20 national team four years ago.
#4. Power forward Ovie Soko (201-91, college: Duquesne, currently plays in Spain) contributed to an UCAM Murcia's victory against the closely-ranked RETAbet BB (10-12) 82-71 in the Spanish Liga Endesa on Sunday night.
He recorded 10 points.
Universidad Catolica de Murcia CB (9-15) is placed 12th in the Liga Endesa.
Soko's overall stats this season are: 6.3ppg and 3.2rpg.
He used to play for the British national team
back in 2015.
#5. International center Gabriel Olaseni (211-91, agency: Pensack Sports, college: Iowa, currently plays in France) could not help Entente Orleans 45 (6-17) in their last game on Friday. Despite his good performance the bottom-ranked Entente Orleans 45 was defeated 82-78 on the road by the much higher-ranked ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (#8).
Olaseni recorded a double-double by scoring 14 points and getting 11 rebounds.
This season Olaseni has relatively solid stats: 12.5ppg and 11.5rpg.
He plays currently for the British national team.
#6. Power forward Daniel Clark (210-88, currently plays in Spain) is a teammate of previously mentioned Ovie Soko and both played together in the last Spanish Liga Endesa game.
Clark contributed to an UCAM Murcia's victory against the closely-ranked RETAbet BB (10-12) 82-71.
He recorded 9 points and grabbed 6 rebounds in 17 minutes.
This year Clark's overall stats are: 4.5ppg and 3.5rpg in two games.
He is an international player who is currently on the senior British National Team roster.
#7. U18 international forward Carl Wheatle (196-98, currently plays in Italy) contributed to an easy victory against the tenth-ranked Lighthouse TR (12-13) crushing them 79-55 in the Italian Serie A2 (second division) in Sunday night's game.
Wheatle recorded 7 points and grabbed 5 rebounds.
Angelico Biella (19-6) is placed first in West group.
Wheatle has been at the team for four years.
His total stats this season are: 5.3ppg and 3.2rpg.
Wheatle is also British U18 national team player.
#8. Power forward Will Neighbour (208-90, college: UALR, currently plays in New Zealand) was not able to help Rams in their game against Rangers (1-0) in the New Zealand NBL, despite his very good performance last Saturday.
He recorded 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in 29 minutes.
But Rams lost 107-114 in Auckland to the leading Rangers.
But the season just started, so everything may happen.
Neighbour has reliable stats this year: 11.5ppg, 7.0rpg and 2.0bpg in two games.
He plays currently for the British national team.
#9. Former U20 international guard Nigel Van Oostrum (196-90, agency: Court Side, college: Park, currently plays in Holland) contributed to an easy victory against the closely-ranked Den Bosch (12-12) 80-65 in the Dutch Eredivisie in Saturday night's game.
He scored 6 points and added 4 passes in 28 minutes.
It was the game of the round between two top 4 ranked teams. Landstede Basketbal Zwolle (18-6) is placed second in the Eredivisie.
It was his team's fifth consecutive victory in a row.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
This year Van Oostrum's total stats are: 4.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 4.4apg and 1.6spg in 24 games.
He used to play for the British U20 national team
seven years ago.
#10. Point guard Ogooluwa Adegboye (182-87, agency: Octagon Europe, college: St.Bonaventure, currently plays in Italy) contributed to an Unieuro Forli's surprising victory against the eighth-ranked Verona (13-12) 70-68 in the Italian Serie A2 (second division) last Sunday.
Adegboye was the top player that evening. He recorded 16 points and added 3 assists.
Unieuro 2.015 Forli (7-18) is placed 15th in East group.
It was his team's third consecutive victory in a row.
This season Adegboye has very high stats. He averages: 17.2ppg, 3.2rpg, 3.3apg and 1.2spg.
Adegboye is an international player who is currently on the senior British National Team roster.
#11. International center Fahro Alihodzic (208-89, college: UAB, currently plays in Greece) contributed to an easy victory against the ninth-ranked AE Larissas crushing them 86-60 in the Greek A2 (second division) on Saturday night.
He recorded 11 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Alihodzic's stats this year are: 13.1ppg and 6.2rpg in 21 games.
He plays currently for the British national team.
#12. Former international guard Luke Nelson (190-95, currently plays college basketball in the States) was not able to secure a victory for the Cal-Irvine in their game against the Illinois State University in the NCAA National Tournament Round 1. Despite his very good performance in Wednesday night's game Nelson recorded 17 points, 9 assists and 5 steals.
This season Nelson has very high stats. He averages: 17.0ppg, 3.4rpg, 3.1apg and 1.7spg.
Nelson used to play for the British national team
back in 2014.
#13. Former international power forward Laurence Ekperigin (200-88, college: Le Moyne, currently plays in France) contributed to an easy victory against the second-ranked Provence Basket 81-63 in the French ProB (second division) last Friday.
He scored 16 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and dished 3 assists in 25 minutes.
Ekperigin averaged so far 11.7ppg, 8.0rpg and 1.9apg in 21 games.
He is a naturalized American.
Ekperigin used to play for the British national team
six years ago.
Strangely he has never played in United Kingdom.
#14. Former U20 international forward Ryan Martin (206-91, college: Tenn Tech, currently plays in France) managed to help STB Le Havre to win against one of league's weakest teams SO Maritime Boulogne crushing them 95-70 in the French ProB (second division) on Friday night.
Martin scored only 3 points and grabbed 9 rebounds.
Martin has averaged so far 5.1ppg and 4.0rpg.
He used to play for the British U20 national team
back in 2010.
#15. International forward Ashley Hamilton (201-88, also represented by Court Side, college: Loyola Mary, currently plays in Greece) couldn't help Lavrio in their game against Panathinaikos in the Greek A1.
He recorded 6 points and had 3 steals.
His team was crushed by 21 points 85-64.
Hamilton has averaged so far 8.1ppg and 4.2rpg.
He is also in the roster of the British national team.
The list of other players, who all have British passport but never been selected to any of British national teams:
#1.Kofi Josephs (198-G-91, college: Fort Lewis, currently plays in Germany) led Hertener Loewen to a victory over the 11th-ranked Herford (10-13) crushing them 116-75 in the German Regionalliga (fourth division) last Saturday.
Josephs was the best player in that game. He recorded 51 points (!!!), 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals; quite an impressive performance considering it's only Josephs' third season in pro basketball. Hertener Loewen Basketball (11-13) is placed tenth in West group.
There are only two games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
Josephs has individually a very good season with high stats. He averages: 19.7ppg, 4.3rpg, 1.6apg and 1.6spg.
#2. Experienced Lindsay Tait (190-G-82, currently plays in New Zealand) was the main contributor in Rangers' victory against the fifth-ranked Rams (1-1) 114-107 in the New Zealand NBL last Saturday.
Tait was the top player that evening. He recorded 29 points (!!!), 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 35 minutes. It was his first game for Rangers this season.
His team are placed first in the NBL.
But this is still an early stage of the season and everything may happen.
Tait has a dual citizenship: British and New Zealand.
#3.Michael Ojo (195-G-89, college: Lehigh, currently plays in Austria) could not help Gmunden Swans (19-8) in their last game. Despite Ojo's very good performance Gmunden Swans lost 67-75 on the road to the lower-ranked (#3) Kapfenberg Bulls.
He was the top scorer with 22 points. Ojo also added 6 rebounds and dished 3 assists in 32 minutes.
It was Gmunden Swans' first loss after three consecutive victories.
This year Ojo has relatively solid stats: 12.9ppg, 5.4rpg and 3.6apg in 10 games he played so far.
He is a naturalized American.
Ojo used to play for Airwaves Plymouth Raiders in British league.
#4.Lee Jeka (193-G-83, currently plays in Australia) contributed to a Hume City Broncos' victory against the ninth-ranked Magic (0-1) 87-82 in the Australian State League (second division) on Sunday night.
Jeka was the top player that evening. He scored 25 points, had 5 rebounds and dished 6 assists. It was his first game for Hume City Broncos this season.
His team are placed third in Big V group.
But the season is still in it's first stage and everything can happen.
Jeka is another player who holds two passports: British and Australian.
#5.Chris Tawiah (208-C-93, college: Wiley, currently plays in Czech Republic) helped BK Lions Hradec win their game against the third-ranked NH Ostrava (10-18) 89-82 in the Czech Republic NBL in Thursday night's game.
Tawiah scored 13 points, had 5 rebounds and made 2 blocks in a mere 16 minutes.
BK Lions Jindrichuv Hradec (9-19) is placed fifth in Places 7-12 group.
There are only four games left until the end of the Second Stage. So now every game is very crucial.
Tawiah has averaged so far 5.5ppg and 5.9rpg in 28 games.
#6.Nicholas Spires (210-C-94, currently plays in Sweden) was not able to help one of league's weakest teams Sodertalje Kings (21-9) in their last game on Monday. Despite Spires' good performance Sodertalje Kings was defeated 77-62 in Norrkoping by the second-ranked Dolphins.
He was the second best scorer with 14 points.
Spires has averaged so far 8.8ppg, 6.1rpg and 1.4bpg.
He has both British and Swedish nationalities.
#7.Franck Kouagnia (201-F-89, currently plays in Sweden) helped Eskilstuna win their game against the sixth-ranked RIG Mark 86-79 in the Swedish Basketettan (second division) last Saturday.
Kouagnia was the top player that evening. He had a double-double by scoring 23 points and getting 18 rebounds. Kouagnia also added 5 assists and 3 blocks in 33 minutes.
Kouagnia has very impressive stats this year: 20.5ppg, 13.4rpg, 3.3apg and 1.4spg in 21 games.
He also holds two passports: British and Cameroonian.
#8.Alex Aggelakos (197-G/F-94, currently plays in Greece) managed to help Kolossos H Hotels in a 1-point victory against the closely-ranked Aris 85-84 in the Greek A1 last Saturday.
Aggelakos recorded only 2 points in 2 minutes on the court.
This year Aggelakos averages just 0.9ppg in nine games.
He holds both British and Greek passports.
#9.Darren Phillip (201-PF-78, agency: DTMones, college: Fairfield, currently plays in Argentina) helped Instituto win their game against the second-ranked Estudiantes Concordia 76-69 in the Argentinian LigaA on Sunday night.
Phillip scored only 4 points. It was his first game for Instituto this season.
Phillip is a naturalized American.
Apparently he has never played in United Kingdom.
#10.Paul Brotherson (198-F-89, college: Metro St., currently plays in Australia) was not able to secure a victory for Hills Hornets (0-1) in their last game on Saturday. Despite Brotherson's very good performance the sixth-placed Hills Hornets were defeated 89-78 in Sutherland by the lower-ranked Sharks (#8) in the WARATAH group.
He was the top scorer with 19 points. Brotherson also added 5 rebounds. It was his first game for Hills Hornets this season.
Brotherson has dual citizenship: British and Australian.
It's rare that a club gets three spots in our line-up, but that honour goes to Sharks and there is also space for last Sunday's BBL Trophy Final MVP. Max Guercy (DBL Sharks Sheffield) The first of our terrific trio from Sheffield is also a debutante. The mid-season arrival managed to book his first ever starting berth by doing the business in the backcourt in a fine win against Eagles. He finished the contest with a classy double-double of 16 points and 10 assists, while also adding six... [read more]
It's rare that a club gets three spots in our line-up, but that honour goes to Sharks and there is also space for last Sunday's BBL Trophy Final MVP.
Max Guercy (DBL Sharks Sheffield) The first of our terrific trio from Sheffield is also a debutante. The mid-season arrival managed to book his first ever starting berth by doing the business in the backcourt in a fine win against Eagles. He finished the contest with a classy double-double of 16 points and 10 assists, while also adding six boards for good measure.
Marek Klassen (185-G-92, college: Point Loma) (Worcester Wolves) There was no stopping the Worcester Wolves' playmaker against his ex-employers, as he returned to Yorkshire to cut down the Force with a stellar double-double on his old home floor. He torched Leeds with a reminder of his scoring and creative ability, as he finished with 19 points and 11 assists, while also racking up four boards and two assists.
Malcolm Riley (DBL Sharks Sheffield) The best performance of the entire weekend was registered by the Sharks' forward as he tore into the Eagles on home soil to give Sharks a big go-ahead victory. Riley wrapped up a nice performance efficiency valuation of 30 after a balanced inside-outside shooting effort, that returned an eye-catching 29 points. He also mustered five rebounds and four steals.
Taylor King (Leicester Riders) It was an afternoon to remember in Glasgow as King was crowned MVP at the Trophy Final. He was the main architect of Leicester's record-breaking triumph against Plymouth Raiders, as he weighed in with a superb double-double performance. He lit up the Emirates Arena and impressed viewers worldwide on BBC Sport with a 20-point and 10-rebound double-double.
Tony Wroblicky (DBL Sharks Sheffield) The Sharks' centre hit top gear in the home victory against the Eagles as he proved a handful under the basket and also dominated on the glass, to help lay the foundation for a confidence-boosting success. Wroblicky harvested a massive 16 boards and managed to accumulate a superb double-double after scoring 14 points from a very tidy five of eight from the floor.
Off the Bench - Chaz Rollins (Surrey Scorchers), Pierre Hampton (Leicester Riders), Mike Tuck (DBL Sharks Sheffield), Maurice Walker (Worcester Wolves), Jermaine Sanders (Leeds Force), Rahmon Fletcher (Esh Group Eagles Newcastle), Tayo Ogedengbe (Surrey Scorchers).
Riders defend their Trophy title in style with Finals record winning margin. BBL Trophy Final Leicester Riders 91 (27,47,72) (King 20, Hampton 16, Robertson 14) Plymouth Raiders 58 (7,26,41) (Corletto 20, Dixon 14, Nicholas 10) Leicester Riders defended their BBL Trophy title in style with a dominant 91-58 victory over Plymouth Raiders. Taylor King(203-F-88, college: Concordia Irvine, agency: HMS) picked up the MVP award after finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds with Pierre Hampto... [read more]
Riders defend their Trophy title in style with Finals record winning margin.
Leicester Riders defended their BBL Trophy title in style with a dominant 91-58 victory over Plymouth Raiders.
Taylor King (203-F-88, college: Concordia Irvine, agency: HMS) picked up the MVP award after finishing with 20 points and 10 rebounds with Pierre Hampton adding 16 points in less than 15 minutes.
King set the tone with the first five points of the game while it took Plymouth four minutes to open their account with a three from Daryl Corletto, who had 20 points in defeat.
The defending champions closed the opening quarter with a 15-0 run as King netted another three at the buzzer to make it 27-7.
King quickly moved to 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting early in the second before Plymouth responded with a bright spell to cut the gap to 12 with a 12-2 run capped by a Corletto three.
However, Riders put together another strong finish with Eric Robertson netting from beyond the arc to extend the lead beyond 20 points as they kept their opponents to the lowest first half total in Trophy Finals history.
Leicester continued where they left off in the third as the lead continued to grow and they would establish a commanding 72-41 advantage to take into the final 10 minutes.
Corletto ended a five-minute scoring drought for his side in the fourth with another three before Shane Walker and Brandon Clark scored from downtown as the Riders closed out the win.
The final winning margin of 33 was another Trophy Finals record, beating the previous mark of 25.
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