EAGLES play-caller Fab Flournoy was named BBL Coach of the Month award last night – just 24 hours after losing the BBL Trophy final. While such awards should always be seen as an honour, the timing of the announcement is likely to make a proud Flournoy feel a little uncomfortable as he is still stewing over blowing a big lead to the Heat.
He would gladly swap the award for a Trophy winners medal, especially since some pundits believe the New Yorker was out-coached by his counterpart Paul James on Sunday. Not only that, but this was a particularly crucial factor along with turnovers and missed free-throws in the Trophy loss.
While the post-mortem continues, it is difficult not to have some sympathy with Flournoy. His record in the league has been exemplary but, when it has come to the crunch in two big games, his players have let him down – and badly.
He persevered again with his tried and trusted line-up, as he did when the side lost to Milton Keynes in the Cup final last month, but they again failed to deliver. What is even more pertinent is that Flournoy specifically mentioned after the final he was sick of hearing players over-celebrating league victories and their own performances over mediocre sides in the league – but failing to step up to the plate when silverware is on the line.
It is the second time Flournoy has scooped the award after also going unbeaten during October. This time it was a perfect seven wins during last month which secured him the accolade. One thing will be certain on Friday when the Eagles are next in action against the Scottish Rocks – those fans disappointed at successive final losses will still be right behind their coach.
For few people who made the trip to Plymouth possibly realised the Eagles have now contested nine of the last 10 major BBL finals. That statistic confirms Flournoy’s achievements considerably more than a Coach of the Month Award ever will.
For now however, Flournoy will be desperate to pick up his shattered team. He will start by reminding them all the talk in Guildford is whether the Heat can win a BBL treble by retaining their league title and taking Newcastle’s Championship play-off crown.