To reflect on Newcastle’s last game of the decade, a huge road win at Glasgow Rocks and to preview the first game of the new decade there was really only one man to talk to.
That man is the Eagles longest-serving player and a man that has been part of every single piece of silverware they won. Veteran forward Darius Defoe is a bona-fide British Basketball League legend as the statistics being produced for the last decade of BBL clearly show.
First in the number of games played during the last ten years, first in steals, most wins as a player, most points, second in rebounds, second in double-doubles, fourth in blocked shots and fourth in minutes played. A stellar career indeed and it’s not finished yet.
Defoe’s 17 big points on Sunday certainly played a huge part in his side’s win over Glasgow and he admitted he was pleased with his efforts especially after he felt their home loss against Sheffield two nights previous had been a huge disappointment.
“We were up for the game on Sunday a lot especially after playing poorly on Friday. We knew we had to be better and talked about it and we knew we had to be together and we were. We locked in our defence from the start and playing against a new Rocks side we knew we had too.”
“They had players that hadn’t played against us before so we had to be focused on that and what we could do to stop them and we did a good job. We were aggressive from the start and we knew we had to lay down our marker from the start.”
“We did that and we know that good things come when we play the defence we can and stick with each other and once we got that going, we knew we’d be fine.”
Defoe himself was also instrumental in that start scoring nine of his total points inside the first ten minutes setting the tone for his side and showing real veteran leadership.
“I had to make a good start. I was disappointed in the way I played Friday and felt I’d let the guys down so I wanted to come back strong. I had to come out more aggressive be more vocal on defence and show the guys I was there for them.”
“You can’t get a defeat out of your mind totally but it helps when you can come back strongly. What we knew was that we had to have a better attitude and mind-set for Sunday and make sure we won and we did that and we were very happy with the result.
There are few who know and understand the BBL better than Defoe although he still finds it surprising to see himself at the very top of the lists of the decades that are being shown.
“To be honest I was surprised to see myself in so many of the top fives. Especially steals, I thought Drew Lasker would have been at number one there. It’s an honour to be in any stats lists in top five of BBL players.”
“I just go out and try and do my best and I’m always committed to doing my best for the team and the Club and I see it as a big thanks to the likes of Fab Flournoy, Paul Blake and Sam Blake for taking that big risk on me and giving me the opportunity.”
Turning to Friday at the ECA, the Scottish Basketball Champions Dunfermline Reign are in town for a BBL Trophy First Round clash tipping off the new decade of Eagles basketball at 7:30pm.
Defoe knows that game’s like this where The Eagles are expected to win comfortably are potential banana skins and he emphasised that they will be taking the opposition seriously and treating them with respect.
“I never feel any game is easy. Every team that plays against us always gives their best punch. We’re not taking them lightly. We’re going to treat it like any other game and make sure we do what we have to do and makes sure we’re right and ready to go out and get another win.”