NEWCASTLE Eagles chief Paul Blake has admitted talk of the Eagles having already committed to a European campaign next season is premature. The man who has rebuilt the club during the last decade, turning it into a powerhouse of British basketball, is still eager to explore a possible foray into Europe.
At the moment, though, it is by no means a foregone conclusion, with a final decision still hanging in the balance.
Blake admitted: ‘We do not even know for certain what the competition structure is likely to be as yet, but hopefully we will have that information in the next few weeks and will make a decision from there.’
For now, however, Blake is happier to focus on the domestic achievements of a side he believes is writing itself into British basketball history. He added: ‘Winning the league this year means a lot for so many reasons. Firstly, I think it shows we can truly say we are a club which is now starting to achieve a level of success which has only been replicated by a small handful of clubs in the history of the league.’
‘This has always been the goal, but a tough one most never achieve. If we do manage to win our final two games the team will have won the league with the fewest number of losses for over a decade, which is again a tremendous credit to every single one of them.’
Blake, of course, has been very public about the need to criticise the team this year after a few disappointments.
He believes the players have proved him wrong, but still have the play-offs to come which can further enhance the club’s growing reputation.
He added: ‘It has been very difficult to be critical of a team which has actually only lost seven games all season, but it is also fair to say getting over a loss this year has been harder than ever for all of us. The microscope really comes out when we lose a game, and especially so when two of those games are finals.’
‘The guys have done a fantastic job of refocusing after the Trophy final loss and to win the two games last weekend in the manner we did shows this team still has the fight it had four seasons ago when we started out on this trophy haul.’
‘We are up to eight in the last four seasons now, but it does not stop here. The play-offs are our next focus and we are up to make it four play-off titles in a row, which no club has ever done in the history of the league. This club is all about being ground-breaking – on and off the court.’
‘We need to be focused on what it is we want to achieve one step at a time – this is why all of our focus now goes into the Final Four in May.’