Raiders roster taking shape as pair bring total to five

THE Plymouth Raiders’ roster for the 2017-18 British Basketball League season is now starting to take shape following the signings of Eddie Matthew and Brandon Norfleet.

Six-foot shooting guard Matthew has previous BBL experience at both Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and Leeds
Force, where he played alongside fellow Raiders’ signing Louis Sayers.

Last season was a breakout year for Matthew as he enjoyed increased game-time to average a BBL career-high 8.5 points per game as well as 1.2 assists.

Matthew initially represented England at under-17 level before choosing Scotland, where he played in the under-18s and now has his sights set on the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Said Raiders director Richard Mollard: ‘Eddie is a great young prospect and the kind of young player we are looking to attract to the club as we build for the future. He has enormous potential, and I feel Coach Love is getting a great talent which he can nurture and improve as he continues to mature as a player.’

Alongside playing for Plymouth, Matthew will study towards a degree at Plymouth Marjon University, meaning Raiders fans could be cheering on the 21-year-old for a number of seasons to come.

‘I’m thrilled to be joining the new-look Plymouth Raiders this season,’ said Matthew.

‘After talking to Coach Love and the new owners it was clear that the club would be a great fit for me on the court and academically, thanks to their link with Plymouth Marjon University.

‘I hope to continue my development here and also start to make preparations for the upcoming Commonwealth Games as a member of the Scotland squad.

‘I’m looking forward to meeting my new team-mates as we prepare for the season ahead.’

While head coach Love added: ‘It’s great to have Eddie on board with us this year. He had his best season to date with Leeds last season where he averaged 8.5 points per game, shooting an impressive 36.5 per cent from the three-point line.’

Meanwhile, six-foot-five fellow shooting guard Norfleet joins the Raiders from Italian Seria A2 side Imola.
He had an impressive college career at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with the Crimson Hawks, averaging 22.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

The 24-year-old also claimed the accolade of being named PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) ‘West Player of the Year’ in his 2016 graduating year and was named on the NABC Division II All-America Team.

Following university, Norfleet, from Virginia Beach, turned professional and spent his first pro season with Imola in Italy but now heads to Plymouth to make his debut in the UK’s top flight.

‘I’m very pleased to have secured Brandon as our second import,’ said Love.

‘This signing gives us an exciting and versatile backcourt with Brandon able to play both the shooting guard and point guard positions.

‘I’m confident Brandon and Neil (Watson) will be an excellent pairing. Brandon played his rookie season in Italy and now comes to Plymouth with some European experience and an excellent college career on his cv.

‘I know he is motivated to play in the BBL and ready to show what he can do at this level.’

Speaking of joining Raiders in the BBL, Norfleet commented: ‘It feels great to be a Raider! I’m very excited to get to Plymouth and start this journey with the team.

‘Coming off my rookie season, I feel very confident in myself and I’m ready for a big year. I can’t wait to meet all of the fans of the beautiful city of Plymouth.’

The pair bring the Raiders’ roster up to five, joining Craig Osaikhwuwuomwan, Neil Watson and Sayers in the team.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.