Harrison Gamble admits the upcoming season will be ‘very important’ for his development after taking the decision to re-sign with the Leicester Riders.
The 22-year-old returns for a second season with the club and now wants to push on and seize his opportunity.
“The decision to return to the Riders was very easy for me,” Gamble said. “Everyone involved within the club has helped me settle in to a new life and has really made this feel like home.”
“Last year, I was able to learn a lot more about the game and also the more experienced players in the league. Now it’s up to me to put what I have learnt onto the court for this upcoming season.
“Coming into to the league for my first season and being able to compete in a final in front of a sold-out crowd was simply incredible. For me last season was successful but it was only a glimpse of what I can achieve in the next coming years.”
Gamble was brought to the club last summer by Rob Paternostro and the Riders head-coach has recently penned a four-year contract extension – news that sat well with one of his protégés.
“Having Rob as a coach is an honour,” Gamble said. “I have complete trust in Coach Rob (Paternostro) to push me everyday during practice and I know exactly what he needs from me to help this year be a success.”
“His passion and attitude towards development in all his players can only mean great things for the team. On and off the court I can trust him with anything which as a young player I find very comfortable. The news of him signing a contract extension is great news for the club and all the players that are involved.”
Gamble is one of seven returnees for next season as Rashad Hassan, Anthony Rowe, Barry Lamble, Conner Washington, Jamell Anderson and Levi Noel have all extended their stays. And he believes the continuity will be a major benefit
“I think having the same faces around from last season will be a major help for us. We all know what to expect from one another and know how to push each other to get better.”
He added: “The team will be very determined this season to win games and trophies. Every game will be taken one at a time and all the players want the same thing. With this the possibilities this season are endless, new players, new teams. It’s set to be a great season.”
Gamble made his BBL playing debut in a Trophy game for the Reading Rockets back in 2010 but his first full season in the top flight was limited at times due to injuries and scored just under 100 points in 27 league games.
The 6’10” forward gave the Riders a solid 3-point option from the bench and Gamble made 32.9% of his shots from beyond the arc.
“There are lots of aspects to my game I want to improve,” he admitted. “This summer I have been concentrating on my body conditioning as I can’t afford to pick up little injuries during the season like last year.”
As for the season aspirations, success is the only thing on Gamble’s mind and with another strong squad assembled, you wouldn’t bet against the Riders being in the running to re-claim the Championship title.
“I just want to win as many games as possible and bring the trophies home to Leicester,” he said. “If players are playing this game and not wanting to win a trophy down the road I think they are not ready to play at a high level.”
Leicester have taken their squad size to 11 following the recent signings of Italian-American guard Tyler Bernardini and the returning Pavol Losonsky as Drew Sullivan departs.
Gamble and the Riders will be involved in pre-season action next month as European sides from Belgium and Spain compete in a four-way tournament at Loughborough University.
Keep an eye out for a full team-by-team BBL season preview coming soon on Hoopsfix!