The Leicester Riders have had their application for the 22'/23' Basketball Champions League qualifiers officially confirmed.
They are amongst a pool of 24 teams who will compete for just 4 regular season spots. This group of 24 will split into 6 pots. Each team will compete in 4 rounds at the end of which the teams with the best record will advance. Teams that do not advance are eligible for the FIBA Europe Cup.
With this acceptance into the qualification rounds, this will be the first time that two British sides have simultaneously competed in European competition since the 01/02 season, with the London Lions competing in next season's EuroCup.
It almost can't be emphasised enough how big this is for British Basketball. Seeing two of the UK's top teams taking the leap into European competition is a huge motivational boost for up and coming hoopers for many reasons. The opportunity to play against some of the best players in the world without having to leave home is one of them. For many, the route to playing at the top level has often been to go to school in the states after establishing yourself here and then from there, going pro. Although a lot of UK basketball establishments have generated great talent, unfortunately a lot of them just don't have the reputation needed for players to make the jump from here straight to a level like the Basketball CL or EuroCup forcing players to leave home at an early age. Some of the players are good enough to get into a high level D1 NCAA school, but that is far and few between. It is still early and of course, the true impact of these two sides competing in Europe won't truly be felt unless they themselves have a good campaign, but this is a great step in the right direction nonetheless.
The qualification rounds will begin on September 21st with fixtures soon to be announced.