Reading Rockets make their first singings ahead of new season

Reading Rockets have completed their first signing ahead of the 2019-2020 season with American guard Nicholas Richards putting pen to paper for the Berkshire outfit. 

The 6ft 4in 24-year-old joins the Reading team having completed four years in college in the United States. Richards attended Kirkwood Community College in his freshman and sophomore years winning a national title before moving to Wilmington University for his junior and senior years. 

He averaged 23 points, six rebounds, and four assists as well as being named in the all-conference first team and was also voted the Most Valuable Player of his university.

Richards comes to the Rockets on a one-year deal, signing his first professional contract and is excited to join up with his teammates for pre-season which begins next week. 

The American guard said: “I’m excited to get to Reading and play under Coach Alan along with the rest of the coaching staff. This should be an interesting season as we hope to accomplish the main goal, winning a championship. 

“I can’t wait to come in and compete with the rest of the team and even more excited to join the Rockets, meet our fans and overall see what Reading has to offer.”

Rockets Chairman Gary Johnson was really pleased to capture the signing of Richards and is looking forward to seeing his new American in action. 

He said: “Nick comes to us highly recommended with a very positive CV, so we are really looking forward to seeing him play during this campaign in what is a really new-look squad. 

“He looks to have a great pedigree and will really help us at both ends of the floor as well as off the court too which is so important for us. 

“I know Alan (Keane, Rockets Head Coach) is very much looking forward to working with him and we are excited with the squad we are putting together.”

Their second new signing ahead of the 2019-2020 season is American Match Burnham. Burnham provides some much-needed height in the front court with the 6ft 8in forward also recently completing his college career in the United States.

After graduating from Liberty High School in Spangle, Washington, the 22-year-old was the only NAIA freshman in the nation to earn honourable-mention All-American distinction after being named Frontier Conference Freshman of the Year. He was third on the team in scoring with 13.0 points per game, averaged 3.6 rebounds, and was second on the team in blocks. Burnham also shot 42.9% from the three on that season.

As a junior in 2017-18, Burnham was arguably one of the best forwards in the nation. 

He finished the 2017-18 season shooting 45% from the three-point line. After receiving an All-American honourable mention and Frontier Conference second team all-conference his junior season, Burnham was selected in the preseason coaches’ poll to be first team all-conference. 

In signing his first professional contract, the 6’8 forward was very buoyant about joining the Rockets and is looking forward to getting started in England. 

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue playing basketball at a high level and I’m excited to join a community and family atmosphere the Reading Rockets provide. I’m really looking forward to getting started and linking up with my new teammates in a few weeks’ time,” said Burnham.

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane was pleased to get both his import spots filled early on and is looking forward to working with Burnham from next week. 

The GB Under 18 Head Coach said: “We are really pleased to have Match and indeed Nick joining us this year in Reading. Both players are fresh out of college and look hungry to impress so I have no doubt they will be a great fit for us. 

“Match looks an exciting prospect, a big body that can play in the paint but can also step out and shoot the three really well so for me this was an easy signing to make. I’m really looking forward to seeing Match and Nick in action when pre-season begins next week.”

Reading Rockets have added a Spaniard to their roster with the signing of Matias Boho Sayo for the 2019-2020 season. The 6ft 5in small forward is the next player to sign for the Berkshire club’s 22nd senior campaign.

The 23-year-old joins the Rockets after a number of seasons in Spain’s EBA league most recently with Refitel Basquet Lliria. Boho Sayo brings a real perimeter threat to the Reading team but will also be a valuable presence on the glass and in the paint sometimes playing at the four position.

“I think joining the Reading Rockets is a great opportunity for me. Many people I have spoken to are very positive about the club and the city and I think I can help the club achieve its goals,” said Sayo.  

“I consider myself a player and a person who can contribute very positive things to the dynamics of the team and I can’t wait to get to know the city, my teammates and all the people who are part of the club and to start working hard from day one. I am really looking forward to wearing the Rockets uniform.” 

Rockets Head Coach Alan Keane is pleased to add the Spaniard to his roster and knows the 6ft 5in forward’s versatility will be key to his group this season. 

The Reading boss said: “Matias is someone who can play on the perimeter and inside, a bit of a slasher, which is something we have been lacking so he is a really good pick up for us. 

“His athleticism will really suit our style of play and being young and exuberant will really give us a lift for sure. 

“We are looking forward to Matias joining us in Reading as we put together a young, but really exciting roster for the season ahead.”

Andy Preston

Sports reporter for The Wokingham Paper. Sport Journalism graduate from the University of Brighton.

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