|Raiders 2006-7 Fixtures|
Capitals = home games
CH = Championship
CP = BBL Cup
TR = BBL: Trophy
Sat 30 Sep Worcester 7:00 CH
Sat 7 Oct Guildford 7:00 CH
Wed 11 Oct LEICESTER 7:30 CH
Sun 15 Oct Newcastle 5:30 CH
Sat 21 Oct CHESTER 7:30 CH
Sun 22 Oct LONDON UNITED 4:00 CP
Fri 27 Oct SHEFFIELD 7:30 CH
Sat 4 Nov GUILDFORD 7:30 TR
Sun 12 Nov London United 6:30 CH
Tue 14 Nov Reading 6:30 TR
Sun 19 Nov NEWCASTLE 4:00 CH
Sat 25 Nov Leicester 7:30 CH
Sun 26 Nov WORCESTER 4:00 CH
Sat 2 Dec Worthing 8:00 TR
Sun 3 Dec Chester 5:30 CH
Sat 9 Dec Worcester 7:00 CH
Sun 10 Dec Scottish Rocks 5:00 CH
Wed 13 Dec LONDON UNITED 7:30 CH
Sun 17 Dec Milton Keynes 4:00 CH
Fri 22 Dec Sheffield 7:30 CH
Thu 28 Dec Scottish Rocks 7:00 CH
Sat 6 Jan Leicester 7:30 CH
Fri 12 Jan Sheffield 7:30 CH
Sat 13 Jan GUILDFORD 7:30 CH
Sat 20 Jan MILTON KEYNES 7:30 CH
Sun 21 Jan WORCESTER 4:00 CH
Sat 27 Jan CHESTER 7:30 CH
Sun 28 Jan Guildford 3:00 CH
Sun 4 Feb SCOTTISH ROCKS 4:00 CH
Sat 10 Feb SHEFFIELD 7:30 CH
Fri 16 Feb Chester 7:30 CH
Sun 18 Feb LONDON UNITED 4:00 CH
Fri 23 Feb Newcastle 7:30 CH
Sat 3 Mar SCOTTISH ROCKS 7:30 CH
Sat 10 Mar GUILDFORD 7:30 CH
Sat 17 Mar MILTON KEYNES 7:30 CH
Sat 24 Mar London United 7:45 CH
Wed 4 Apr Milton Keynes 7:30 CH
Sat 7 Apr LEICESTER 7:30 CH
Sun 8 Apr NEWCASTLE 4:00 CH
WORCESTER WOLVES v RAIDERS
Saturday 30th September
Plymouth Kularoos Raiders play their first league game of the new season this weekend when they travel to Worcester to face the BBL's new kids on the block, Worcester Wolves.
This is the Wolves' first game in the BBL and head coach, Josh Cooprider, has been busy recruiting a number of new players.
Among them are England Under-20 international Michael Gayle, last year's starting point guard for the Teeside Mohawks; American shooting guard Darren Hume-Francis; Sergio Rodriguez, a 6ft 8in forward who last season played for Caja Rioja in the Spanish Second Division; and shooting guard Cameron Wright from Leicester Riders.
Having retained the majority of last season's team, Raiders' head coach Gary Stronach is keen to avoid the same start as last year, when injuries early on decimated their campaign.
Tip-off is at 7pm on Saturday at the University of Worcester. Raiders' fans are urged to arrive early (before 6pm) to ensure that they get tickets. Worcester Wolves are expecting the 600 capacity venue to be a sell-out for their first foray into the BBL.
RAIDERS TO VISIT BRISTOL:
Wednesday 13th September
Kularoos Plymouth Raiders will play a second pre-season friendly when they visit Bristol Academy on Sunday September 17th, tip-off at 4pm at Filton College (WISE Campus).
Coach Gary Stronach will use this game as a final stepping stone to the start of the BBL season, which begins when Raiders face Worcester on September 30th.
Stronach was pleased with his team’s performance last Saturday against the USA Select team, even though it resulted in a 6 point defeat in overtime.
"I felt the guys played well in patches. We know that there is a lot of work to do before the start of the league season," said the head coach.
"I have to say that I was quietly pleased with everybody’s performance at the weekend. Bristol, from all accounts, is young and athletic and it will be a good test for us to go there.
"It’s always nice to have a game at the weekend when you have put a full week in at practice.”
Bristol is coached by ex-Raider Danny James and he contacted Stronach earlier in the summer to see if Raiders were willing to make the trip up the M5.
Stronach is hoping that Carlton Aaron will be available for the weekend as it is likely that he will be in the country by then.
Overall there is no doubt that Stronach will be looking for a victory and improved performance from Raiders.
THREE MORE ARRIVE
Kularoos Plymouth Raiders' Head Coach Gary Stronach today announced that point guard Jeff Danchie is to return to the Devon club for his third season.
Danchie is in his final year at Marjons where he is on a basketball scholarship and Stronach admits that makes things doubly difficult.
"This is a big year for Jeff both on and off the court, it's important that he gains his degree from Marjons in May and also that he continues to flourish under Raiders," he said.
"He realises that he needs to continue to improve and push our other guards for playing minutes this season which I think he is capable of."
Danchie joined Raiders from Hackney White Heat who were at the time coached by Tony Garbelotto who has now taken over the reigns at London United - one of the teams who have joined the BBL for their first season this year.
Stronach also announced that he has signed back-up guard Graham Nesbitt, who played one season at college in the States.
"I was impressed with Graham's attitude and work ethic in a recent two-day work out," said the Raider's head coach.
"He is keen to be involved with a top-flight club and wants to prove that he is capable of playing in this league.
"The day to day practice at this level will definitely help Graham improve."
The Raiders' third signing is 6ft 9ins British player Mark Woodhouse.
Woodhouse played in Belgium and Iceland last year and is a crucial recruit for Raiders this season.
Stronach said: "Mark will help us at both ends of the floor. He has European experience and will add another dimension to the team."
ANOTHER ONE STAYS
Kularoos Plymouth Raiders’ Head Coach, Gary Stronach, today announced that small forward Jamie Burchell will return to the club for his 7th season.
"Jamie brings so much to this club not only on the court but his work in the development of basketball throughout Devon and Cornwall," said a delighted Gary Stronach.
"He will not be playing for EBL Division 2 team this year as I want him to concentrate solely on the BBL.
"It is a big season for him as I believe that he can contribute off the bench to our programme. He showed last year when we had injuries that he can compete at this level - I just need him to remain focused."
Burchell joined Raiders from Worcester Wolves as a teenager and will no doubt be looking forward to playing his former team when the two meet in the first league game of the season at the end of this month.
Burchell will welcome Stronach’s challenge for court time as he has worked hard during the off season to improve his game so he can compete for minutes in the BBL.
He will join the rest of his Raider team mates this week for pre-season training before the Raiders play Team USA Select on Saturday September 9th, tip off at 7.30pm.
Stronach hopes to announce up to three more signings before the game.
AARON SET TO RETURN
Thursday 24th August 2006
There's some good news for the Raiders, after the decision by Carlton Aaron to remain with the club after all.
It had been feared the giant centre would be moving on, but he has had a change of heart.
Raiders coach Gary Stronach said:" To have Carlton back is a major boost not only for this team but for the league in general.
"We only scratched the surface with regard to his playing potential last year and if we can keep him injury free as he showed in some games last year he could be unstoppable at the offensive end."
Another departure imminent...
Thursday 3rd August 2006
Hot on the heels of the news of the expected loss of Lawren Ramos, Plymouth Raiders have been hit with another setback.
Giant centre, Carlton Aaron, will almost certainly not be returning to the club following his successful rookie season with the team last season.
The 6ft 9ins 'Beast of the Bronx' became a huge hit with Raiders fans, but he's now set to move on.
Raiders coach Gary Stronach said: "I'm disappointed, but at the end of the day, I understand Carlton's position. We talk regularly and he knows that I want him back – but we can't afford to pay him any more money and it's as simple as that.
"I'm talking with other agents now and I'm getting close to signing another big guy – just don't expect another C!".
Ramos to leave Raiders?
Tuesday 1st August 2006
Plymouth Raiders' Head Coach, Gary Stronach, has suffered a blow to his pre-season build up, as popular 6' 8", back-up centre, Lawren Ramos, is unlikely to return to the club for the forthcoming season.
The big Californian became a starting-five player during the team's disastrous injury run, and he responded magnificently, with some tremendous performances, particularly on defence.
The player has some personal issues to deal with and there are doubts he'll be able to sort them out in time.
"I am extremely disappointed because Lawren’s contribution to the team is incredible," said Stronach.
"When he's on the court he gives me everything he's got, and when he's on the bench he's full of praise and encouragement for the other guys. He's the kind of guy you would want stood right beside you at the Alamo!"
The double side to the blow for Stronach is that Ramos has dual nationality, holding a British and American passport, which, in basketball makes him a highly prized commodity. Under current BBL rules each team is only allowed three American, or other non-European, players.
"It's a big disappointment, but I have left the door open for Lawren," added Stronach.
"If he can sort things out State-side, then he can fly in here any time he wants and there will always be a place in my team for him."
Lasker to stay with Raiders
Friday 28th July 2006
Plymouth Raiders key-American guard, Andrew Lasker, is to re-sign for the club, despite a golden opportunity to play for a top Dutch team.
"We are all over the moon that Drew has agreed to re-sign for Raiders," said Raiders' director, Ian Buse.
"He had a very tempting financial offer on the table, and the lure to play in continental Europe is appealing for any pro-player, particularly in this case, as the Dutch team has qualified for the ULEB Cup."
The loss of Lasker would have been a major blow to the Plymouth team, as they try to maintain the momentum they have built up in their first two seasons in the British Basketball League.
The 6’3” shooting guard was signed from Athletes in Action just before the start of last season and made a big impression as a rookie. He was widely regarded as the best in the league, when on the top of his form.
Raiders' Head Coach, Gary Stronach said: "This is a massive signing for the team and for the people of Plymouth.
"Drew is an exceptional talent – he is lightning-quick and he can jump out of the gym, which makes him an asset at both ends of the floor (offensively and defensively).
"The fact that he has chosen to come back speaks volumes for what we have achieved here at Raiders – top players like DeAntoine Beasley, Gavin Love, Ally Gall, Gaylon Moore, and, now Drew, all re-signing, means that the team are happy and know what they're capable of."
The Raiders will start their 2006-2007 campaign in September and Stronach is optimistic for the coming year.
"Continuity was a major factor for Newcastle Eagles last season and they won everything," added Stronach.
"I'm happy with my team from last year – on the court they have amazing potential and they have a great camaraderie off-court – and I want them all back. Drew is another brick in my wall."
Gall to stay with Raiders
Thursday 27th July 2006
Local basketball hero Allister Gall is to re-sign for the Plymouth Raiders for the coming season.
The 6' 3" shooting guard has established himself as a worthy part of Britain's top basketball league, the BBL, and he has a reputation as an excellent defensive player, with a three point shot which is lethal.
Retaining Gall is a major boost for Raiders coach Gary Stronach, who has made no secret of the fact that he would like to keep last year's team together.
"Ally has been such a great asset to the club over the years that I can talk about him like he's a veteran, even though he’s only 26," said Stronach.
"He was with us at junior development level and made such progress that he went to Franklyn Pierce College in New York and then he went to Ireland to play professionally, before he returned to make his debut in the BBL against Milton Keynes in October 2004.
"Not only is he a great player, who is knocking on the door of the England team, but he is also invaluable to us as a coach, working with schools and other organisations."
Gall commented: "I am proud to be a Raider and everything that stands for within the game. Coach (Stronach) is on the verge of putting together something very big, here in Plymouth, and I feel privileged to be part of it.
"We nearly had it last season, but our terrible run of injuries meant that we were not able to do ourselves justice. Every team bristles with great players – but teams are about more than individuals and we are shaping up nicely as a great team."
Cat is back in the bag
Tuesday 11th July 2006
American small-forward, DeAntoine Beasley, has re-signed for an unprecedented fifth season with Plymouth Raiders.
The 6' 7" star, nicknamed Cat, joined Raiders straight from Tennessee Tech, and has always been a major part of Head Coach Gary Stronach's plans.
"Cat is equally happy as a guard, bringing the ball up the court and involving other players, or, as a small forward, where his exceptional athleticism and speed around the court, make him a very tough player to play against," explained Stronach.
"His defence is amongst the best in the country, and, his ability to play in either guard position means that I have so many options on match-ups with other teams."
There was a huge question mark placed over Beasley's return to the Raiders when changes to Home Office regulations, meant there was no chance that he would qualify for his British Citizenship at the end of this current season.
The American made no secret of the fact that the possibility of British Citizenship was a major factor in his decision to return for the last season, 2005-2006, despite lucrative offers to return to the States in an Assistant Coach capacity.
However, Beasley has enormous respect for Raiders' Head Coach, Gary Stronach, and it was this loyalty that sealed the deal for him.
Beasley said: "I have always been very happy here in Plymouth, and everyone has been great to me.
"The fans are the best in the country, and it is always a pleasure to play at the Plymouth Pavilions with all of the razzmatazz – it’s the closest thing to playing at home in the States.
"At the end of the day, I decided to come back because I felt that we owe it to the coach – we didn't achieve what we knew we were capable of last season because we had a really bad run of injuries."
Moore signs up for new season
Thursday 6th July 2006
The Raiders influential power-forward Gaylon Moore from Tennessee has re-signed for the 2006-2007 season, which starts in September.
Moore's arrival last season from Division One team Worthing Thunder was heralded as possibly the most important signing in the Raiders' history.
Moore, who had played for four previous seasons at Worthing, was signed as a non-permit American, which allowed Raiders to sign three other Americans on a permit basis.
His rookie season in the BBL, Britain's highest basketball league, was marred by a serious ankle injury, which severely impacted on his performances.
His value to Raiders has soared even higher, with the news that he has been successful with his application to obtain British citizenship, which was presented to him at a ceremony in the Lord Mayor’s parlour early in June.
"To get Gaylon back is a major boost for our team," said Raiders coach Gary Stronach. Especially now that he has got his British passport.
"He could easily have gone to another team in Britain or Europe, probably for substantially more money, but this just shows how loyal he has become to Raiders, and I look forward to working with him next season."
Under new BBL rules for the 2006-2007 season, teams are restricted to three permit players (usually Americans) and therefore the significance of Moore’s successful passport application is even greater.
Stronach explained: "If Gaylon had not worked so hard to get his passport, then I would have been forced to use up one of my American spots to sign him. Now I can have three Americans, if I choose, as well, which hopefully will mean that we may have an advantage in the coming season."
Stronach has made no secret of the fact that he would love to keep last season's team together, and Moore’s signature, particularly as a British player, is the first giant step towards this.
"The chemistry amongst the players last year was just about perfect and their ability was limitless," said Stronach.
"After Christmas, when we finally got through the worst of our injury crises, we really showed what we were capable of, and to end the season with two consecutive victories in two days, over the triple-champions, Newcastle, was truly amazing."
Stronach stays with Plymouth
Wednesday 29th June 2006
Raiders coach Gary Stronach has decided to stay at the club - despite a lucrative offer from a top European club.
Stronach has turned down that offer after weeks of talks with Raiders officials. He will now concentrate much more on the coaching side of the job.
"This has been the hardest decision of my life, but I decided to stay for a number of reasons," said Stronach.
"The other offer was tremendous and I found it incredibly hard to say no. However, I found it even more difficult to step away from being Head Coach of Raiders, having spent 21 years with the club - as a player, coach and now Director of Coaching.
"I honestly think that I have unfinished business here – my decision would have been a lot easier if we were not in the BBL. We still have everything to prove, which, of course, culminates in winning a championship, and ultimately taking Plymouth Raiders into Europe."
Club director Ian Buse says he's relieved Stronach is staying: "This has been a scare that we would have preferred not to have had to deal with, but we are stronger for it.
"Gary is one of the brightest prospects in European basketball coaching, and to keep him here we have had to fundamentally change the structure of the club in order that we can compete with the bigger teams."
Stronach considers switch
Thursday 22nd June
Raiders head coach Gary Stronach could be on his way, after being offered a post at a European club.
Raiders were contacted by the team at the beginning of May to see if they could enter into discussions with Stronach, and, with Raiders agreement, talks have since been ongoing.
Stronach is expected to make a decision within the next few days.
Stronach said: "The approach has taken me totally by surprise as I have not put myself forward into the coaching market.
"The offer on the table is initially a two year deal with me being able to concentrate on coaching the team and overseeing player development. Financially it would be a good move for me."
Stronach joined the Radiers as a player back in 1985, later becoming player/coach in 1994, and retiring as a player to concentrate on coaching the team in 1999.
During his reign, Raiders dominated Division One basketball, winning two league titles, three national play off titles and one national cup.
And he was instrumental in taking Raiders to the highest level in British basketball, by entering the BBL two seasons ago.
The club is hoping to keep him. Raiders director, Ian Buse said: "We are doing everything possible to keep Gary at the club, including working intensely with our sponsors, especially Iain Woodhead of Kularoos, and Plymouth City Council."
Lynard Stewart, the BBL’s player of the month for February, continued his recent good form with a game high 25-points.
Kularoos Plymouth Raiders 73 (13,30,49) (Aaron 20, Moore 15, Gall 14)
London Towers 74 (18,34,54) (Stewart 25, Hudson 14, Simmons 12)