Well Ladies and Gentlemen, Girls and Boys and whatever else you want to call yourself, there we have it, The 2017/18 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle. Whadda Y’all Think? I think I’m pretty excited and you should be too.

Let’s have a little recap and a bit of fun too although, the fun may get me in to trouble and I might need to wear a tin-helmet for a while! The line-up is with some nicknames thrown in, some recognised one’s and some I’ve made up until they tell us different or you rename!

Saah “Nims” Nimley – The “Nims” coming from his Twitter handle, cantguardnims.

Jaysean “BReady” Paige – Twitter handle, Born_Ready so hence BReady.

Kai “Willo” Williams – Didn’t know if he already had a nickname so went with safe option!

“Touchdown” Terry Martin – Terry Demetrius Martin i.e. TD therefore “Touchdown!”

Darius “Double-D” Defoe – Safe grounds methinks here.

Amarjit “AJ” Basi – His own and oft quoted moniker.

“Kanga”Drew Lasker – Mamma G’s original naming stolen but really suits Drew, doesn’t it?

Jure “The Ninja” Gunjina – Just kinda fits with a 6’ 8” warrior Croatian?

Zarko “Z” Jukic – This one’s his own so I ain’t gonna change it!

Fabulous “Fab” Flournoy – “He’s called Fab ‘cos he’s Fabulous” trad arr. Luke King.

Wow looks even better written down and really kicks in the mind the number of changes and how different it’s going to be this season.

Gone are Joe, OJ, Danny, Christian, Dre and of course Fletch and Scott. The latter two are obviously the most lauded and lamented to leave but they felt the timing was right and we can only wish them well and remember them fondly and with huge affection.

The other five gave us nothing less than 100% whether it be in practice or on-court in playing time. For some it worked, for others it didn’t but we regret not one bit signing anyone of them and we wish them all well wherever their paths take them.

But, all seven are gone and at the risk of being absolutely blown out of the water, they have been replaced by “The Magnificent Seven” and if they do half as good a job as Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Robert Vaughn, James Coburn, Brad Dexter and Horst Buchholz then we’re in for a heckuva ride!

So, we look forward and not back. Every minute that passes is a minute consigned to history and every minute to come is one to be used to the best of its ability and used to the full.

We’ve, well Dave, Fab and Ian, set out their stall at the end of the season with a teenie-weenie bit of input from moi. They knew what kind of players they wanted and what sort of style they wanted to play.

Let me tell you right here and now, the kind and style were the objectives and the personnel on paper and video suit those objectives. But, as we well know, the game is played on the floor and not on paper!

We’ve been asked why 10 and not 12. Well, first thing to think about is budget. That doesn’t change whether you have 12 or 10 so we fit 10 in to budget and get the best we can out of that. Going with 12 would have meant that some of the 10 would not be here.

Time will tell if we got the right numbers to fit the budget but, as we’ve said, we like what we see and hope you do too.

Then of course there’s playing time. We believe all of our 10 can give us significant numbers if they gel, learn the systems quickly and give us what we think they are capable of. Will the systems be the same or will we adapt and change to suit the personnel? Time will tell.

Then there’s practice. Already in my mind there’s 5 on 5 match-ups we can see and know will test each other to the max. Bring in another two and would they help or hinder that practice and those match-ups? Time will tell.

Ah yes but what about injuries? Anyone that’s out mean we’re no longer 5 on 5 but then again, we have Uni players that might want to prove a point against their supposed betters. We also have a brand new Under-23 team that has players that want to impress.

And don’t forget the Under-18’s too. Young guns always looking for a way in and to impress. Yep, I think we’re pretty much covered practice wise IF players are looking for a step-up and a challenge.

And believe you me, a step-up is what it is when you join Fab’s practices! You also need to remember that some Uni players are more comfortable at the level they play at and are happy to get bigger minutes therein. That’s not a criticism, it’s a fact and an observation.

You also have to know that’s it’s not as straightforward as taking two youngsters and asking them to step-up. It’s way more complicated than that and that’s all I can say.

My final thought and comment is regarding “Player Announcements.” We have an agreed system in place for this and it’s one that benefits all parties concerned. So, whilst we may say “High Noon” it’s not always possible to hit that timing. Although we’re never far-out!

Basketball as much as we love it and as much as we’ve embraced and promoted it with our tremendous PROFESSIONAL and NATIONAL trophy haul over sustained seasons will never be a majority sport outside of our circle and we need to remember that.

So, another blog done and consigned to history. Will it be remembered? Will it be commented on? Is any of it any good or worthy? Time will tell.

Get your tickets to pre-season for your first chance to see the guys in action.