Leicestershire’s premier basketball player, Andy Betts, is to take on the role of Sporting Ambassador of the Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders.
The Great Britain international will help promote the club and the sport of basketball in Leicestershire and the wider East Midlands. The club will also use his image in their promotional activities.
“Basically I’m going to do whatever I can to help the Riders promote the development of basketball in the area,” said Betts. “I owe a whole lot of thanks to the Riders for what they did for me. I started at a great club and it really helped me.
“I’m lucky to have started off at the Riders, so I wanted to give back in some way. They are doing a lot of good things right now, both off the court in the community and on it with the team, so I’m happy to get involved.”
The 7’1” centre from Ibstock had a meteoric rise in the game after being spotted during a half-time shoot around at a Riders game in 1992.
“I remember the first game I came to at Granby Halls when I was about 15 and I thought the experience was amazing,” he recalled. “I don’t know if it was that game or the next one, but I was just shooting at half-time and Dick Barrett and Pete Flanaghan, who were coaching the junior team at the time, spotted me and I became part of the club. I think within a year I was playing for the Riders, it was amazing how quickly it all happened.”
In 1999 the 33-year-old became the first British player to participate in the Final Four of the Euroleague when he played to Teamsystem Bologna and he has since gone on to play in Europe’s top leagues including in Spain and Greece.
Riders’ General Manager Russell Levenston said, “Andy is one of the leading British basketball players and he’s an ideal role model for young kids in Leicestershire, both in promoting a healthy lifestyle and aspiring to sporting excellence.”