As Esh Group Eagles Newcastle prepare for their opening pre-season game of the season tonight at Sport Central against Team USA Select, it’ll be interesting to see where the fan’s focus lies with so many new faces on view, writes Jeff King.
Undoubtedly though it would be no surprise if the vast majority were locked in on The Eagles new point guard Saah Nimley who is replacing Rahmon Fletcher who in three seasons picked up The BBL MVP of the Year award twice and became a true Eagles legend in his time on Tyneside.
But, Nimley is only concentrated on one thing and that is the game and getting his team of to a good start as he looks forward to showcasing his repertoire for the first time after his first week in Newcastle with his new team-mates.
“We’ve been competing in practice so now we get a chance to show what we’ve got against a different opponent other than competing against each other. I’m excited, I know our team is excited and I’m interested to see what we have against another opponent.”
“I think the guys that we have this year are young and we’re a young team but everyone’s hungry. I think me and Jaysean (Paige) are going to be pretty special in the back-court and I think we have veterans coming back like Darius (Defoe) and Drew (Lasker) that add experience.”
“Darius is very skilled in the paint and we’ve got Terry (Martin) that gives us another big body inside, Jure (Gunjina), Zarko (Jukic) and Kai that give us inside/outside threats and AJ (Basi) to back-up the guards who can really shoot.”
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can play basketball and the roster is very impressive and we’re all looking forward to see how it goes this year.”
And Nimley himself, the new point guard, the on-court general and leader. How comfortable is he with his role?
“I’m very comfortable being in charge. I’ve been doing it my whole basketball life. My first thing is to get everyone involved, make sure everyone’s in the right spot and were doing what we need to do on offence and defence.”
“I’m focused on that whilst also trying to adapt to the new system and working on my own game and doing what I need to do to help the team win and Friday’s game gives us the opportunity to put in to practice what we’ve been learning.”
Nimley also had some warm words of thanks and appreciation to the Eagles faithful fans and is really looking forward to playing for them and meeting them too.
“The fans have shown a lot of love on social media so I’m very interested to seeing them in person. They gave us all a very warm welcome before we got here and when we got here so I’m ready to see them in person and thank them for that welcome.”
The game at Northumbria University Sport Central tips-off at 7:30pm and with some tickets still available via The Eagles Office it’s a great way to see the 2017/18 Esh Group Eagles Newcastle for the first time.