Newcastle Eagles are approaching the post-Fabulous Flournoy era with confidence and optimism according to the coach charged with building on the New Yorker’s firm foundations.
It is almost a week since Ian MacLeod was offered the chance to succeed British basketball’s most decorated playcaller.
And Newcastle’s interim head coach revealed he is committed to cultivating a culture that fully reflects the Eagles’ status in the British game.
“It’s been a whirlwind few days but it feels as if things have settled down a bit now and we’re all getting back to some kind of normality,” said MacLeod.
“There are still a few things we need to work on before the BBL Cup match later this month but I can’t wait to see the players in competitive action.
“It’s starting to sink in that this is my group of guys and that they are my responsibility.
“I’m happy to shoulder that responsibility and I’m focused on creating an environment and a culture that’s conducive to winning.
“That’s top of my priority list. It’s about developing the person as well as the player.”
MacLeod oversees his third pre-season clash of the summer – and his second as interim head coach – when Sheffield Sharks visit the Eagles Community Arena tomorrow night.
And the hosts will be seeking to build on last week’s win against Worcester Wolves – albeit in the absence of close-season signing Sade Aded Hussein.
The Frenchman was in fine spirits at yesterday’s official team launch but a knee injury could keep the forward out of action for another fortnight.
“It’s not as serious as we feared it might be,” added MacLeod. “There’s some very minor cartilage damage but Sade should be back in a couple of weeks.
“Otherwise we’re in pretty good shape.”
MacLeod could hand a start to 6ft 6in Maryland native Mike Morsell after the NCAA Division One star impressed against the Wolves last week.
And Flournoy’s successor is looking forward to watching Rahmon Fletcher’s partnership with Rodney Glasgow Jnr blossom as the two guards get more minutes under their belts.
“Where Mike is concerned I definitely like what I see,” added MacLeod. “And the best is yet to come.
“He made a very encouraging debut both with the ball in his hands and defensively.
“Mike’s a great communicator and a great team-mate.”
To the untrained eye, left handers Fletcher and Glasgow are identikit guards both capable of running the floor and making key offensive contributions.
But MacLeod pointed out: “They are very different players in so many respects.
“Where they are similar is in their understanding of the game and their mental strength. “That’s a huge asset as far as I’m concerned.”
The Eagles tip off at 7.30pm tomorrow before heading to South Yorkshire on Sunday for the reverse fixture against the Sharks.
Tickets for both games are on sale from our box office.