At the culmination of one of the most historic and memorable seasons in recent times for the Newcastle Eagles, the annual End of Season Supporters Night had big shoes to fill, but did not disappoint by becoming the biggest ever event of its kind for the club.

Both the men’s and women’s teams had so many highlights in their seasons and on the night fans had their final chance for signatures and selfies, whilst the players and coaching staff took to the stage to recall some of those amazing moments, at the yearly awards presentation and party.

The Vertu Motors Arena was once again the host for this special event, which saw Eagles management give the biggest thanks to all the ‘Wings Team’ volunteers, without whom so much would not be possible at the club.

Sales and Communications Manager Dan Black tipped things off as host for the evening, first introducing club managing director Paul Blake and CEO of the Eagles Community Foundation Sam Blake to the stage to share their memories from the season and give thanks to the teams for everything they put in this year.

Special gratitude was given to the men’s team for such an impressive inaugural season playing in Europe and immense pride expressed about the women who returned home from a historic run all the way to the Playoffs Final at The O2 in London the day before.

After a last opportunity to hear from all the season’s on-court stars with Drew Lasker and Howard Leighton firing the questions at our 2023-24 rosters, attention turned to the annual fan-voted awards.

Men’s and women’s awards were presented in the usual categories of Most Improved Player over the course of the season, Team Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the Year, and all difficult choices with so many contenders giving so much throughout the campaign.

In the end the voting results revealed the following honours:

Men’s Most Improved Player – Devin Whitfield

Began the season in the starting five but dropped out for a while. But when Head Coach Marc Steutel was looking for the right formula down the stretch he brought Devin back into the starting line-up. It paid dividends for the team particularly with his defensive work.

The fan-voted 2023-24 Men’s Most Improved Player Devin Whitfield presented head coach Marc Steutel. (Photos: Gary Forster)

His performance up in Caledonia where he completely shutdown Quade Green probably one of the highlights of his season. Then there was with that 23-point effort against Manchester when he made 8 from 8 including 7 triples showing the talent he had at both ends of the court.

Led the team in 3-point shooting at 42.5% for the season and averaged 7.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.

Men’s Team Player of the Year – Rickey McGill

The do-it-all guard had a terrific season and was actually rewarded three times during the campaign to reward the fine efforts he put in. Won the Club’s Player’s Player of the Year award alongside the European North Basketball League regular season MVP accolade.

Rickey McGill was voted Men’s Team Player of the Year. (Photos: Gary Forster)

Whether scoring, defending or assisting Rickey always played with terrific commitment and attitude and usually with a smile on his face doing whatever he could to help his teammates out.

Over the season he averaged 17.9 points per game, 4th in The League, he was also 4th in assists with 5.9 per game, 2nd in steals with 2.2 per game, led The League in field goals made with 220 and was 4th in free-throw percentage with 78.4%.

Men’s Most Valuable Player – Jordan Johnson

As early as pre-season many were predicting that JJ would be in line for League MVP honours let alone the Club honours. A superb scorer and inspirational on-court leader he showed exactly why Marc Steutel was happy to secure his signature this season.

Eagles fans selected Jordan Johnson as their Men’s Team 2023-24 MVP. (Photos: Gary Forster)

His numbers are very impressive and he was a thorn in every opponent’s side during a comeback to the British Basketball League that showed his first time around up in Glasgow was no fluke.

Over the course of the campaign, he led the Eagles in scoring and assists with a 3rd in The League 18.3 points per game and 2nd in The League 6.2 assists per game. He made 46 more free-throws than anyone else in The League with 195 for a second highest 83.7%.

Women’s Most Improved Player – Abby Lowe

Abby is an established British Basketball League player that has shown terrific form and potential over a number of seasons and has even made the GB training squad this season.

Women’s Team head coach Matt Newby presented the fan-voted award for Most Improved Player over the season to Abby Lowe. (Photos: Gary Forster)

This award though is probably as much a result of her tremendous form towards the end of the season where she really lit the court up both offensively and defensively. She just seemed to get better and better as the season unfolded and is a worth recipient of the award.

Averages for the season were 11.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

Women’s Team Player of the Year – Chloe Gaynor

Someone once said that Chloe was a player that always put the team first and would play any role and do anything she could to make her team and teammates better often at the expense of looking after her own stats.

Chloe Gaynor received the most votes in the Team Player of the Year Award category, presented on stage by head coach Matt Newby. (Photos: Gary Forster)

Really came up clutch in the play-off games when the likes of Katie Nolan and Jada Dapaa were unavailable and recovering from injury. Chloe ended the season as the team’s starting centre showing her versatility and willingness to do ‘whatever it takes.’

Over the course of the season Chloe averaged 5.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Women’s Most Valuable Player – Tierra Hodges

An easy decision in reality and that’s not meant disrespectfully to any of the other players. She arrived in Newcastle late but by the end of the first month had announced herself to the Women’s British Basketball League by taking its Player of the Month award for December 2023.

Eagles fans-voted Women’s MVP 2023-24 was Tierra Hodges. (Photos: Gary Forster)

From their points flowed and rebounds were grabbed at an astonishing rate in every game and she was very much the leader of the team in that respect. Over the season she averaged a double-double a game with some astonishing stats.

2nd in The League in scoring at 20.8 points per game. 3rd in rebounds with 10.6 per game. 3rd in overall field goals made including being 1st in 2-pt shots made and a League leading 87.5% from the free-throw line. A phenomenal effort indeed.

This was actually Tierra’s second award within the club as she also picked up the Player’s Player of the Year award at the club’s End of Season Dinner.

The night ended as always with the club’s special awards for two volunteers who went the extra mile this season.

Young Volunteer of the Year went to Logan Forster, who aged just 15 has become a part of the club’s photography team.

Eagles Sales and Communications Manager Dan Black presented the Young Volunteer of the Year Award to 15-year-old photographer Logan Forster. (Photos: Gary Forster)

Finally, the prestigious David Hunter Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Tom Lishman for all of the time and effort he had put in over this past season, going over and above whist working in supporting roles with both the men’s and women’s teams. Tom was thanked by both head coaches for everything he does behind the scenes in assisting them both in so many ways.

Men’s and women’s head coaches, Marc Steutel and Matt Newby, presenting the David Hunter Volunteer of the Year award to Tom Lishman. (Photos: Gary Forster)
Some of the 2023-24 Eagles Entertainment Volunteers in attendance on the night – left to right: Jacob Peace, Brandon Redmond, Sarah Office, Howard Leighton, Kai Bachini, Nikki Best and Becca Murphy. (Photos: Gary Forster)
Eagle Media Team in attendance on the night: Abbie Orwin, Gary Forster, Logan Forster and Phil Duggan. (Photos: Gary Forster)
Game Night Volunteers in attendance on the night: Jack Findlayson, Lexie Walton and Jamie-Leigh Walton. (Photos: Gary Forster)
The 2023-24 Men’s and Women’s Teams’ Support Staff: Tom Lishman, Rob Wark, Gary Stronach, Eric Wilson, Luke Orwin and Megan McMahon. (Photos: Gary Forster)