READING Rockets will play their first home game of the 2018/19 campaign at the Rivermead Leisure Centre this Sunday (5pm) with a pre-season friendly against Wales.

It has been a busy off-season for Rockets with the signings of American stars Trae Pemberton and AJ Carr, Irishmen Adrian and Ronan O’Sullivan, and recently confirmed club captain Danny Carter.

The senior men’s side has received a further boost with Sydney Donaldson and Troy McIndoe confirmed.

There have also been changes to the coaching team following the departure of Manuel Pena Garces.

Alan Keane has taken over as head coach, ably supported by Josh Thorne, who has moved from the men’s Division Four side.

Keane also maintains responsibility for developing the young players in the Rockets Academy, and during the summer, he guided Great Britain Under 18s to their highest-ever finish in the European Championships.

He said: “I am excited to host the Welsh national team.

“(Coach) James Bamfield and I had some dialogue in the off-season about the possibility to play this game.

"With James doing a wonderful job with basketball in Wales, I have no doubt this team will offer us the challenges we need to continue building our Rockets principles and standards of excellence.

“The growth and development of Welsh basketball over the past few years has been great to see.”

He continued: “This Welsh senior team comes to us off the back of a narrow loss to USA Select. In addition, two days prior to our showdown, BBL side Bristol Flyers will test them.

“This is another great opportunity for us to establish and cement our style of game, offer another valuable benchmark and a platform for our guys to exhibit their skillset and commitment to our process.”

Rockets chairman Gary Johnson is delighted with the reality of seeing the Academy players getting more court time than ever before this season.

“It’s been our goal for a while,” said the Welshman. “Already in two friendlies we’ve played five of the six Academy squad players with the sixth out injured, so we’re releasing these young men, furthering their development and being contributors.

“I urge everyone to come and witness first-hand the array of talent we have on offer at Rockets this coming season.”