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.
Glasgow Rocks (BBL) agreed terms with 25-year old American point guard Neil Watson (180-73kg-91, college: S.Mississippi) from Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders. In 33 BBL games in United Kingdom he had 14.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.6apg and 1.6spg (in top 5) last season. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. They also played in the Cup final. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-British BBL 1st Team and All-Imports Team. Watson was voted Kansas C... [read more]
Glasgow Rocks (BBL) agreed terms with 25-year old American point guard Neil Watson (180-73kg-91, college: S.Mississippi) from Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders. In 33 BBL games in United Kingdom he had 14.6ppg, 3.3rpg, 4.6apg and 1.6spg (in top 5) last season. He helped them to win the regular season and make it to the final. They also played in the Cup final. Quite impressive season as he was named to Eurobasket.com All-British BBL 1st Team and All-Imports Team. Watson was voted Kansas City Kansan's 4A Player of the Year back in 2009 at his college time. Watson graduated from University of Southern Mississippi in 2014 and it is his third season as a professional player.
The Pacers and Nuggets will play a regular-season game in London - 1 day ago
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This season's NBA Global Games slate will once again feature a regular-season contest in London, with the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets getting tapped to head across the pond and square off at O2 Arena on Jan. 12, 2017. 'We are thrilled to return for our seventh regular-season game in London,' NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. 'With almost 25 percent of players in the NBA born outside of the United States, we are seeing firsthand the global growth of our game, which ha... [read more]
This season's NBA Global Games slate will once again feature a regular-season contest in London, with the Indiana Pacers and Denver Nuggets getting tapped to head across the pond and square off at O2 Arena on Jan. 12, 2017. 'We are thrilled to return for our seventh regular-season game in London,' NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. 'With almost 25 percent of players in the NBA born outside of the United States, we are seeing firsthand the global growth of our game, which has never been more popular in the U.K.' While Indiana has played preseason contests in China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Germany and Spain, this marks the first time that the Pacers have headed overseas for regular-season duty and, as it happens, they'll be following in the footsteps of their NFL counterpart, the Indianapolis Colts, who'll take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in October. The chance to watch Paul George (6'9''-G/F-90, college: Fresno St.), one of the stars of the U.S. men's national basketball team heavily favored to win gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next month, figures to be one of the signature draws for the London audience. It's the Nuggets' roster, though, that features plenty of European flair, led by Italian scorer Danilo Gallinari, a pair of talented Southeastern European centers in Serbia's Nikola Jokic and Bosnia's Jusuf Nurkic (7'0''-C-94), and Frenchmen Joffrey Lauvergne (6'11''-PF-91, agency: BeoBasket) and Axel Toupane (6'6''-G/F-92, agency: Comsport). Denver also features talented young guards Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris and 2016 first-round pick Jamal Murray, as well as power forward Kenneth Faried (6'8''-F-89, college: Morehead St.), who won gold as a member of Team USA at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain. 'It will be a true honor and a great experience to represent both the Nuggets and the NBA in London as part of the NBA Global Games in 2017,' Gallinari said in a statement. 'Our entire team and organization are looking forward to this opportunity to showcase our league to fans overseas.' This will be the NBA's seventh regular-season game in London. Last year's edition saw the Toronto Raptors knock off the Orlando Magic; games from earlier years have featured the New York Knicks, Milwaukee Bucks, New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta Hawks and Detroit Pistons, making the Nuggets the first Western Conference team ever to make the trip for a 'home' game far, far away from home. The 2017 Global Games calendar will also once again include a return to Mexico City. The Phoenix Suns will play 'host' to both the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs in mid-January, marking the first time ever that the NBA has played two regular-season games in Mexico. Courtesy of: yahoo.com
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