The BBL’s top two, Esh Group Eagles Newcastle and Worcester Wolves, meet at Sport Central on Friday but Eagles coach Fab Flournoy’s sole concern is gaining an advantage in the standings rather than any mental edge. Paul James’ Wolves are the BBL’s only unbeaten team at 5-0 but Eagles are circling having lost just once for a 5-1 record.
Even this early in the season, this could be a crucial game in deciding the destination of the title – but Flournoy (pictured) is refusing to place any extra importance on it.
He said: “This is a home game against an undefeated team. By that definition it is an important game. But it’s still far too early in the season to be talking about mental victories and suchlike. Our focus remains on us and improving on both the things we are doing well and also the areas that need some work.”
The six-time BBL Championship winner also disagrees with the notion that Newcastle’s past successes help them heading into such meetings, particularly against such a formidable opponent.
When asked what impact his team’s experience in high-pressure games could have, he said: “Very little.
“Of our main eight-man rotation, five were not here last year and four are totally new to it and do not benefit from that experience. Games are not won by experience, they are won by production and teamwork on the court in the here and now.”
Last time they met:
Worcester Wolves 87 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 102 (BBL Championship, Worcester University, 26/03/2013)
What they say:
Wolves forward Kalil Irving: “I think our start to the season is down to defence and strong leadership. We are looking forward to the challenge to play against them (Newcastle). “It’s important we have aspirations of winning a title. We feel very confident right now. Guys know their roles and are doing their jobs. That is our strength.”
Eagles guard Drew Lasker: “Zaire Taylor has done a great job bringing a winning attitude there and it has seemed to feed through the club.
“This is a home game for us so it’s a must win. In this league you will drop a road game from time to time but if you want to win the league title you must take care of your business at home regardless of the opponent.”