Matt Johnson says Reading Rockets are still determined to win a place in the British Basketball League, despite the door being shut for entry in 2012.

Manchester Giants and London Leopards are expected to be confirmed as the BBL’s new franchises later this month after an application process that saw four clubs, also including London NASSA, throw their hats into the ring.

However Johnson says Reading will be back next year with an improved proposal to join the top tier.

“That’s 100% definite,” he insisted. “Part of our process was to see where the wrinkles were in our programmes, with regards to management, facilities, finance and other areas. We got good feedback on the strategy used by other clubs who have succeeded as well as those that have failed.

”Long-term to have a successful programme, we won’t build it on the back of a university programme. It will be built around our Academy which I think is one of the top three in England along side Bristol and Barking Abbey.”

Rivermead, Johnson confirmed, will remain as the Rockets base despite concerns over its capacity. However, he concedes there is now work to be done, on and off the court.

“We’re in talks with them and the Council about putting in a new floor and upgraded lighting,” he added.

“Next season, we want to be a BBL team playing in the EBL so we get our standards up higher and quicker. And then we’ll have 15 months to get ready to make the move up.”

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