He almost missed the BBL Trophy Final altogether with a hand injury, but Charles Smith was beaming after his MVP performance carried Esh Group Eagles Newcastle to the coveted silverware.
The veteran added 18 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots despite being hampered by the injury and after a slow start, he came up trumps with some game-winning shots as the contest unfolded.
“It was touch and go whether I would even play or not,” confirmed the Eagles’ legend after the 96-90 success against the Riders at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
“It was another great win and just another great BBL game to be involved in.
“Both teams played a great game and there were a bunch of runs throughout.
“But we just made the final run and in the end, that is what got us the win,” added Smith.
Meanwhile Riders’ head coach Rob Paternostro paid tribute to the impact of Smith who showed his experience and class to swing the game the Eagles’ way, as well as heralding the Final as a spectacular one for all involved.
“I can’t ever remember a (BBL) game like that before,” said the play-caller after his side just came up short in an outstanding advert for British Basketball.
“The teams were scoring because they made plays, not because the defence was doing anything wrong.
“Charles hit some unbelievable shots from distance and that opened it up for them.
“It was just so exciting to be a part of and I am very proud of my team and the BBL after that,” concluded Paternostro.