The time was 11am, the date, Tuesday 14th September, the venue, Sports Central at Northumbria University and the local press, specialist press, local TV and representatives of the newly announced sponsors await, with rising anticipation, the announcement of the Newcastle Eagles roster for the British Basketball League tournaments for the season 2010 – 2011 is about to happen. Managing director and owner, Paul Blake, has just announced a trio of new sponsors to take over from Northern Rock.
These are the main sponsor local construction company, ESH Group, and partner sponsors Northumbrian Water and Northumbria University. This is ESH Group first foray into major sponsoring, having previously sponsored home town football club Esh Winning Town, but have the major goal of promoting the North East and the local communities and now wish to expand their horizons to a national level. The Newcastle Eagles are recognised countrywide, and have a similar profile within the community and so were the obvious choice to be sponsored. Northumbrian Water have already been involved with the Eagles promoting the ‘Hoops for Health campaign in local primary schools, whilst Northumbria University have been involved with the Eagles for many years, now all they needed was a team to back. So the floor was handed to Newcastle Eagles Head Coach and talisman Fab Flournoy to announce the players that will be the Newcastle Eagles squad for 2010 – 2011. In every group Fab give us some of his thoughts as follows:
Fab referred that he believed that the Eagles success was built on continuity and with that in mind he announced that the club captain was, again, Andrew Bridge. Again, with this continuity in mind Charles Smith was named of that Fab said,
“Chuck is one of the most consistent players in the BBL and would be an asset to any team, so with that in mind he was one of the first players to have their future sorted. I expect Chuck to be one of the major players and a massive steadying influence amongst the players.
Fab then introduced one of the new players, praising his sheer enthusiasm for the game and recounting a tale of Kadiri Richard blocking one of Fab’s finger roll to the basket.
“It was a certain 2 and I was already thinking of the next defence, when, out of nowhere, this player arrived and swatted the ball aware with nonchalance. I could not believe it. Worthing Bears were the only side to beat us twice in the league and that hurt,” he said. “When I heard Kadiri was available I just knew that he had to become an Eagle,” he added.
Returning Joe Chapman was the next to be introduced, of whom Fab said that he did not believe that we had seen the best. He admitted that he felt that Joe struggled at the beginning, but after a long talk to Fab and Paul, Joe left happier and his basketball improved beyond measure, so Joe was back for a second season.
With a twinkle in his eye, Fab discussed that he had had 3 players stay in the area over the summer. The three were up at 6am for 2 hours training, 7 – 9am, and then onto the gym in the afternoon and he hoped that he would see the benefit if this in games that they played. However he was very pleased that all 3 players had been through the Eagles Development program. They were Aaron Neilson, Jamie Glen and Darius Defoe.
The next player announcement a returning star, Trey Moore, from the Everton (Merseyside) Tigers, where he had spent a year.
“Trey is the sort of player that coaches have a love/hate relationship. When he is good you absolutely love him, but when things are not going according to plan, then his attitude caused you to hate him. However he was an emotional player and I like this. We have a good working relationship and Trey wants to win, almost as much as I do,” stated Fab.
Trey was not present as the launch as the club were waiting for the correct visa to be issued and with this in mind it was also unlikely that he would feature on Sunday at Glasgow, but should be available for the first game at Sports Central on 24th against Sheffield.
Trey was going to be the first choice guard, but it would be necessary to give him backup, so another guard was needed. Andre Lockhart was recommended to Fab by Nigel Lloyd. Not only is Andre a guard, but last season he hit 105 out of 135 free throws, showing that he could go to basket and draw the foul. That would add another dimension to Eagles play this season.
So that completed the squad for the 2010 – 2011 season and Fab’s attitude is that he does not want to lose a game and if they did the team picked themselves back up dusted themselves down and did not lose another leading to more titles in this wonderful arena which are BBL League Champions, 4 times (2006, 2008, 2009 & 2010), BBL Play Off Champions, 4 times (2005, 2006, 2007 & 2009), BBL Trophy Winners, 4 times (2005, 2006, 2009 & 2010) and BBL Cup Winners once (2006), making them the most successful side in BBL history and in the region last year and for many of the previous years.
TEAM SQUAD 2010 – 2011
4 Trey Moore 6’ 4” Mississippi State
6 Andrew Bridge 6’ 4” Leeds Carnegie
7 Jamie Glen 6’ 7” England Under 18
8 Aaron Neilson 6’ 1” Northumbria
10 Charles Smith 6’ 6” Rider University
11 Andre Lockhart 6’ 0” Queens University
12 Kadiri Richard 6’ 7” Wilmington
13 Darius Defoe 6’ 8” Hackney
20 Fabulous Flournoy 6’ 4” McNeese State University
32 Joe Chapman 6’ 4” Marquette University