Leicester coach Rob Paternostro says he is proud of the relationship his players and the club have built during a superb season.
The Riders finished second in the BBL, a 25-year high for the franchise, but were denied some arguably deserved silverware when they were beaten 71-62 by Newcastle Eagles in the play-off final last weekend.
Despite the defeat, Paternostro was keen to reflect on the relationships that the club has built with the local community, as it continues to build a strong BBL franchise.
He said: “I’m proud of the relationships we have built in the locker room. I told the players 30 years from now, you’ll remember the relationships you had with the guys.
“We are a family club, and the relationship between the guys and the fans this season has been something special. The fans have been brilliant with the players, and the players have been brilliant with the fans, and it’s always nice to see.
“I think we started with three rookies – we’re forced to go in that direction with our budget, and I can’t recall a BBL team, at least since I’ve been here, to have three rookies in the starting line-up and finish that high and get to a final.”
One of those rookies, Cameron Rundles, got in to foul trouble midway through the defeat in Birmingham, and that hindered the Riders’ hopes of silverware.
Paternostro added: “From my angle, I thought it was a no call. That was unfortunate. In these types of games, you don’t want to see star players in foul trouble, especially off the ball too. I feel like with a little more communication, we wouldn’t have got that call, but that’s basketball.
“If we had made our free throws down the stretch we’d have been right there, and it would have been a great ending. What you don’t realise a lot is how deflating it is to the group when you see those free throws miss. But take nothing away from Newcastle, because they found a way to win.”