Darius Defoe has vowed he will be an Eagle for life.
That declaration came despite the burly benchman attracting the attention of a string of big clubs at home and abroad.
The Londoner looked back to his destructive best with 10 points and eight boards in just 22 minutes against Worcester on Friday.
And those are the numbers which have Newcastle’s rivals wondering why Defoe is still not making the Eagles’ starting five.
‘This is still the best situation for me,’ said the player who is in his fourth season on Tyneside.
I’m OK right here thanks. I don’t ever see myself going anywhere else because Newcastle has everything I need on and off the court.
‘Fab Flournoy believes in me and what I can do. That makes a massive difference to any player.
I’m happy with the way things are going this season and my only target is to get more court time.’
At 23 Defoe still has the hoops world at his feet, but there are at least six BBL sides in a position to offer the youngster a starting five spot.
Those franchises were sniffing around during the summer . . . along with several European clubs looking for another big body to bolster their bench.
But Defoe is fiercely loyal to the coach who gave him his big BBL break and has spurned a big pay day to stay with the Eagles.
He added: ‘Every year my game has gone to another level and that’s down to the fact I’m working with Fab. He knows what makes me tick and knows where I need to go next.
“He has improved my game beyond all my expectations.’
With the 2012 Olympics less than five years away Defoe is a prime candidate to feature in a Team GB squad chasing a medal.
But there is no doubt that failing to make it off Newcastle’s bench will seriously damage his prospects of making a senior international breakthrough. Current GB coach Chris Finch is unlikely to consider a player getting no more than 22 minutes a night in the BBL. But Defoe is not unduly worried about representative honours just yet . . . such is his faith in his natural talent.
‘One day sometime soon I’d like to break into the GB set-up, but it’s not a decision that’s down to me,’ he added.
‘I just have to keep doing what I’m doing in practice and on the court and who knows? One day I might just get that call.’
Defoe’s big buddy Olu Babalola has already blown his chances with the current GB coaching team.
But the 2007 Playoff final MVP appears to be winning the latest battle with his inner demons if Friday’s evidence is anything to go by. Bab led all Eagles scorers with 18 points against Skouson Harker’s woeful Wolves outfit as Newcastle racked up a magnificent ninth straight win.