At Riders’ most recent home game against Durham it was a big step forward in terms of development within the Leicester Riders organisation.
At that game, two AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) students kitted up for the Riders’ first team at just 17 years old.
Brandon Hitchman and Jamie Percival are both in the Academy at Charnwood College. After coming to first team practice last week they obviously impressed the coaching staff enough to warrant getting kitted up for the games. They may not have played a single minute but gaining the experience of being involved in a BBL game will be a massive confidence boost for both of them.
The AASE is designed to meet the needs of elite athletes aged 16-18 who wish to continue their sporting career and gain qualifications at the same time. The programme has also been designed so that if an athlete falls short of their ultimate goal, they have the skills, knowledge and qualifications to pursue a secondary or supplementary career. Exit routes could include Higher Education, or working in the sport & recreation industry as a coach, sport development officer, fitness instructor, and so on. Riders run one of the largest programme in basketball in England.
Brandon, who is in his second year of the AASE programme, has shown massive improvement over the last two seasons and has just been called up to the England U18’s squad. Brandon has always been on the radar as a young player with potential, it was just a matter of time before he got given his chance for the first team.
Jamie, who in his first year on the AASE programme, has been one of the stand out performers this season for the Riders’ National League Division 4 team and for the college. He has been top scorer on more than one occasion for both teams. Jamie is on the radar for the England and GB setup.
Riders veteran Barry Lamble coaches the Rider’s National League Division 4 team and is one of the Riders ASSE Coach:
“Brandon is not only a great player for his age that fully deserves his place in the England U18’s squad but he is also a great leader for younger players on and off the court, he is a great role model. He is a player that is maturing and developing each week and it’s a pleasure to be coaching him.”
“Jamie is one of the most underrated players for his age group and once given the chance he will grab it with both hands and shock a lot of people.”
“I am very proud of them both.”