Reading Rockets are delighted to announce the return of Head Coach Samit Nuruzade ahead of the 2022-2023 season. The Berkshire club acted quickly after the departure of Dan Pearson who takes up a coaching role in Germany. Director of Coaching Matt Johnson is thrilled to have the Azerbaijan native return to Reading. He said,
“I am absolutely thrilled to have Samit back with us in Reading and really looking forward to his tenure with us. He provides us with such a quality level of coaching and it was a no brainer when we knew his services were available after Dan’s departure. Having been previous winner at Rockets and having won at all levels from Under 18s to Seniors to national teams, he comes with a great pedigree and I have no doubt will further improve our programme after great spells under Dan (Pearson) and Alan (Keane). He has an excellent technical and tactical brain and brought a lot to us in his previous spell so we are really looking forward to seeing what he can do this time around.”
Nuruzade returns to Reading for his second spell at the club having left the Rockets in 2013 to take up the position as Assistant Coach of BBL franchise Leeds Force before being appointed the Head Coach of the Azerbaijan national team. The former Manchester Magic player and coach has the second highest winning percentage of any Rockets coach behind Dave Titmuss and won five trophies in his three year stint at the Berkshire club including one league title, two play-off titles, and two national trophies.
In speaking about his return to Reading just over 9 years since his departure, Nuruzade said,
“I am delighted to be returning to Reading to such a wonderful club and where I have already enjoyed three very successful years. I am especially looking forward to working with some of the very best youth/academy players as developing young, British talent is something I am very passionate about. The opportunity to work with Matt (Johnson) and Ben (Fisher) again is great and to also have such a legend of basketball in this country in Dave Titmuss as part of our programme is something I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with. I can’t wait to get started with the players and begin my second stint here in Reading with such a great club with great people.”
Nuruzade will take on the dual role of Head Coaching the Men’s Division One team as well as the EABL academy team at the John Madejski Academy. The Azeri has signed a multi-year contract with the Rockets and will also work with Head of Youth Basketball Ben Fisher on developing systems of play throughout the club enabling better transitions up through the age groups into senior basketball.
One of key elements in bringing Nuruzade back to Reading is his ability to develop youth players having successfully worked with the likes of Great Britain duo Luke Nelson and Devon Van Oostrum in the past and Chairman Gary Johnson is really looking forward to seeing this and the up tempo basketball Nuruzade is known for. He said,
“I’m absolutely thrilled to have Samit return to Rockets after some 7 years furthering and developing his career in his home country of Azerbaijan where he was Head Coach of the Men’s National Team. His British and European experience of the game will fit so well with our vision whilst his keenness to play young players will enthuse our academy youngsters plying their skills at The John Madejski Academy. Samit will Head Coach the NBL Division One Men’s programme as we look to build the programme in anticipation of joining the BBL in 2023/24 though he will also have primary responsibility for developing and releasing the Academy young men too. These are exciting times for Rockets and Samit’s recruitment is a big lift for Rockets.”