Amongst a cluster of frustrated and disappointed Esh Group Eagles Newcastle players who went down to their fourth defeat in five games last Friday at Sheffield, one player was perhaps more frustrated than most. That was USA Shooting Guard Jeremy Smith who missed the loss through injury.
Smith suffered a concussion sustained in the semi-final loss to London and was ruled out for last weekend’s game. He was able to watch his team-mates from the bench and gave his views on the game and where he felt it went wrong for his colleagues.
“I thought as a group we looked a little bit flat and that was everyone there was no one to pick us up. Our intensity wasn’t there and that’s a big part of the way we play. We emphasise on defence so much and intensity is a big part of defence and I think that was a very big component and something we lacked.”
“If we’d had that it would have helped our rebounding defensively and obviously, we’d have gotten more stops and been able to put more points on the board as we make defence our offence and that didn’t happen which was a big thing for us.”
But Smith and his colleagues need to put that behind them and focus on this Saturday’s last ever game at Northumbria University Sport Central in The BBL Trophy against City of Edinburgh Kings, a game the Eagles are heavily favoured to win and tips off at 7:00pm.
“I think it’s a game where we can regroup and find our rhythm as a unit as well as trying out a few new things which should help us going forward. Most importantly it’s about finding our feet offensively and defensively and getting some rhythm back.”
Like a lot of players when they’re out injured, Smith is not the best watcher of games and admitted to being really frustrated at missing out last Friday but had a good message for his team-mates and Eagles fans.
“It was very frustrating. Throughout my career I’m always on the floor and I’m rarely hurt. Fortunately, in my career I haven’t had many injuries so just to have to sit out and watch the game and not being able to play was very hard. It also made me cherish being on the floor as well as it was a hard thing to watch.”
“I’ve spoken to the Doctors and they’ve said it’s about easing myself back in but I reckon I’ll be playing on Saturday. It’s really based on how I feel. If I feel back normal, I should be able to do what I want. The plan right now is to see how I feel after practices but I think I’ll be okay.”
For Smith it’s about looking forward to Saturday, getting back on court, getting that all-important win and moving forward again.
“For me it’s not just about Saturday. I’m eager to get back on court so we can get back on another streak. I know we have a team from a lower league on Saturday but it doesn’t matter who it is, the goal is to strike up some wins and get back to how we started the season and find our game rhythm once again.”