That’s a double award in December for the league-leading Leicester drivers as they finished 2021 atop the BBL Championship and through to the BBL Cup Final, which rewarded Rob Paternostro and Marc Loving.
Leicester’s game caller Paternostro is named Molten’s December Coach of the Month Kevin Cadle BBL, winning him for the first time this season after an unbeaten month in all competitions, going 5-0 to finish the ‘year.
The month included an extremely important moment as the Riders advanced to the BBL Cup final for the first time in six years. The most successful club in the last decade, Leicester have not won the BBL Cup since 2014 and have won ten more trophies since they last wielded that piece of silver, losing to the Newcastle Eagles in the 2016 final.
In this season’s semi-final Paternostro had his squad well prepared against FIBA EuropeCup London Lions contenders as the riders were quickly out of the blocks in both legs. They would need those cushions, as their courage was tested late in both games, but overall they only dragged out for the first minute of the full 80 minutes on both legs.
Meanwhile, his Riders remain undefeated in the defense of their BBL league title, currently a perfect 8-0 atop with three of those league wins coming in December as they sideline tough opponents. This included a huge 101-72 loss to Newcastle’s eternal rivals live on Sky Sports, winning the first quarter 27-15 and never looking back; and they also secured another all-round victory against a side that had a strong start to the campaign, beating Glen Luss Glasgow Rocks 105-76 after also wowing their visitors with a 33-12 first quarter.
Overall, Leicester have won 11 of the 12 quarterbacks they have played in the league and have come through the century in all three games. Paternostro’s preparation has been demonstrated with quick starts in their five games in both competitions, as they trailed for a total of just three minutes and six seconds – all at the start of the first quarters – of the 200 minutes they’ve played. in December.
Usually known for their defense, they are currently allowing the fewest points in the BBL, but in December their offense was their hallmark as they averaged 98 points per game. Overall, this also sees them owning the best offense in the league, while leading in all three shooting categories, most notably averaging 43.4% beyond the arc, four percentage points. ahead of their closest rivals in this regard.
Paternostro has demonstrated his team’s depth as they also lead the BBL in bench points, with four different players coming off the bench to score the double-digit score at least once in his last outings.
With high performance levels across the board among Paternostro’s charges, it was Marc Loving who really stood out and won the Molten BBL Player of the Month award for December.
The 6-foot-8, 28-year-old Ohio native joined the Riders this summer, after two NBA G-League campaigns and four notable years at central Ohio State University, and he did not taken the time to settle down. on these shores.
In those five wins over the past month, he’s averaged 15 points, 9 rebounds and four assists per game, with one steal and one block, while shooting 43% from the three-point range and 91% from the free throw line. Overall, he is eighth in the league in scoring (16 points), fourth overall in three points scored (22) and eighth in three-point percentage (47%).
Loving – who appeared twice in the weekly BBL All-Star 5 in December – has performed well in those BBL Cup semi-final clashes with the Lions, scoring 28 points with 16 rebounds and six assists on them. two legs. But perhaps his best performance of the month was his best score, as he put 20 points on the Rocks while missing just twice on the pitch when he was 8-10 (80%), including knocking down 4-6 (67%) from long range.
In the victory over Newcastle over Sky Sports, he achieved a near triple-double of 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists; and he finished 2022 with his first double-doubles of the campaign, consecutively, as he first scored 14 points and 11 rebounds against Plymouth, then followed with 11 points and 12 boards against the Lions. Showing great consistency, he has scored in double digits in his last seven games.
In a contest with slim margins, Loving edged out teammate Patrick Whelan, as well as pair of Rocks Jordan Harris and Jordan Johnson to take home the award. He has also stood up to Manchester Giants’ Dan Clark and Tyrik Armstrong, who are Leicester’s opponents in the BBL Cup Final and are currently chasing them for second place in the BBL Championship.
This BBL Cup final is what Leicester should now expect in January, as they face the Giants on Sunday 30 at Utilita Arena, Birmingham, live on Sky Sports.