The Newcastle Eagles go into this Friday’s home BBL Championship at the Eagles Community Arena against Cheshire Phoenix in great heart and great form.
That comes courtesy of an excellent 104 – 94 road win at Surrey last Saturday and win that moved them to an impressive 4 – 1 start in the league.
Whilst it was a good all-round team performance that got the job done there was one outstanding architect and display that certainly grabbed the headlines. Newest Eagle CJ Gettys continued his hugely impressive start to his Newcastle career with another monster game.
Thirty-four points and nineteen rebounds for the 7’ 0” Centre certainly helped his side to the victory and earned Gettys his fourth successive appearance in The BBL Team of the Week to add to his accolade as the league’s Player of the Month for December.
Gettys was aware of how important and good the win at Surrey was.
“It was a good win to go down to Surrey and a tough place. They normally play really well at home so it was good for us to go down there get the win, build some more chemistry and keep the winning run alive.”
The win was even more impressive when you consider Newcastle went into the game without veteran forward Darius Defoe and then lost American Mike Morsell early in the second quarter.
“We just want Darius to take his time and come back when he feels comfortable so he doesn’t push it too far. Mike’s just been bothered by injuries all year. He just needs to take some time to get fully fit and be ready when he’s ready. That’s what’s important for us down the road.”
There’s no doubt with the way Gettys is playing it helps The Eagles cover those injuries a whole lot better and the big man is unsurprisingly delighted with his form.
“It’s a great honour for me to be recognised in the way I have been in the league but I wouldn’t be in those positions without my surrounding teammates. Fletch and the other guys give me the ball in great places to score.”
“Basketball is a team game you’ll hear that from everybody. Whilst it’s nice to get individual accolades I wouldn’t be able to do it without my teammates.”
There’s no doubting that the CJ Gettys that has exploded back in to The BBL this season is a massive upgrade on what was already a considerable presence and the work he’s put in since the end of last season is paying dividends.
“My body has changed a lot from my first year at Cheshire to last year to now. I just decided to make that commitment in the summer. Not even for a basketball aspect but for down the road too. When I’m 40, 50 years old I want to be able to walk.”
“If I’d played another five years at the weight, I was I don’t think I’d be walking properly when I was 40. It’s helped a lot to take the pressure off my knees but it’s also helped my game tremendously. I’m a lot quicker and just in a better shape to last a bit longer.”
Friday night is a big night for The Eagles and CJ in particular as he faces the side, he played for the last two years.
“Obviously Cheshire coming in on Friday means it’s going to be a fun time for me seeing some familiar faces. Unfortunately, Cilo Latinovic is out for the season with a recurring injury and there’s a doubt about Jalen Hayes.”
“But the likes of Dizzy Lufadeju, Lou Sayers and a couple of those other guys will be fun to play against and seeing Ben Thomas and James Brice on the bench and Richard McNutt. It’ll be fun to talk with those guys before the game.”
“But as soon as that ball goes up it’s all business. Playing at home is going to be a huge advantage for us. I think we need to give the fans what they’re coming to see and that’s a win and then we can take our roll in to Sunday when we go to Manchester. Our aim is another two wins this weekend but we have to be ready and play smart.”
Tickets still available for tomorrow’s return of Cheshire Phoenix and CJ’s first opportunity to play his former club: