Champions Leicester Riders have re-signed veteran England international Andy Thomson as they continue preparations for the 2018-19 BBL season.
Thomson missed a big chunk of last season with injury, and with the England team at the Commonwealth Games, where he picked up another injury, but still had some big moments for the Riders, including in the decisive moments in the BBL Trophy Final.
The 34-year-old forward from Manchester has accumulated 19 trophies in a seven-year career in the BBL, having also played for Newcastle Eagles and Mersey Tigers. Six of those trophies have come in his two seasons with the Riders and his total includes five BBL Championship titles.
Last season he missed 16 Championship games, but still averaged 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 55% from the floor.
The 6’9″ forward also has experience of European basketball having played in France and Spain and Thomson is looking forward to another season at the Morningside Arena.
“Re-signing was never a matter of if, but when. After the Trophy Final I let the club know I was keen to be back for another season, and will look for the clean sweep of silverware.
“My wife and I are very comfortable in Leicester and I am just happy the deal is done.
“There has been a buzz about the ambition of the club and Europe, and that was a big factor for when I came to Leicester. As a player you always want to be part of this kind of experience and competition. We are fully aware of the challenge ahead, juggling the BBL with European competition, but we relish it.
“I feel the club is in a great position to show British club basketball is on the up and we can win against European opposition. We can’t ignore the domestic games but we are looking forward to bringing European nights to Leicester.”
Riders Head Coach Rob Paternostro was delighted to get another key building block for his team back in place.
“When Andy played last season, he was extremely effective,” he said. “He is one of those big guys who can change games. He can pass, dribble and shoot the ball really well from the perimeter.
“He has also been on so many good teams throughout his career, and he has learned to do what ever it takes. His leadership qualities are really important to us.
“Andy being British and that talented gives us more flexibility in recruiting imports, so that is another really important factor.
“I know he is excited to be back, and when we look back at his 2 years with the club there are so many games he really positively impacted when it mattered.
“Often when we reflected on big moments in big games, it was Andy who was making the difference.
“The veteran players are always important to get new guys acclimated to the BBL, and Andy is really important in that regard.”