Former Newcastle Eagles’ legend TJ Walker returns to his old club on Friday evening as the rookie player/coach takes his BiG Storage Cheshire Jets side to the MetroRadio Arena in the BBL Championship.
Walker spent seven years as a player on Tyneside, winning six trophies, and was MVP of the 2006 BBL Cup Final with the Eagles; he was also a BBL All-Star on four occasions whilst playing with the club. The 32-year-old point guard played 229 games for Newcastle, scoring a total of 3,697 points, at an average of 16.14 per game, and adding 1,473 assists.
The Long Beach native left the Eagles in the Summer for the lure of a player/coach role with the Jets, and has led his side to four wins in their last five games after a rocky start.
Walker admits that it will be an emotional return to his old stomping ground, but is trying to approach the game as any other and looks forward to testing his side against the league-leaders,
“It will be strange going back there with another team after seven years, but at the same time, it’s just another game and we’re looking for two points,” he said.
“I hope I don’t sit on the wrong bench, but I know I’ll get a great reception from the fans, they were always good to me.
“It’s always exciting to play against a top team, it gives us a good chance to measure ourselves, and see how we are doing against the best team in the country at the moment.”
Walker’s former boss, Fab Flournoy, is looking forward to welcoming his old team-mate back to Newcastle,
“I think it will be a good game. TJ will have them well prepared, he knows what we do, and how we play. They are playing well, and they had two good wins last weekend.
“I know TJ missed Sunday’s win against London, so I’m not sure if he’ll be playing but he will get a warm welcome from everyone at Eagles. His contribution was huge for our franchise, and he’ll always be welcome here.”
Walker missed last Sunday’s comfortable victory against PAWS London Capital with an injury, but expects to return for Friday’s clash which will see one side’s good run come to an end.