Marc Steutel claims Newcastle’s French connection will be crucial to the club’s bid to climb the BBL Championship table after lauding the Eagles’ latest signing.

Former Raptors 905 recruit Hasahn French has made an instant impact for the men in black just a fortnight after touching down on Tyneside.

And although Steutel continues to carefully manage the big man’s minutes, Newcastle’s playcaller is predicting a bright future for the bulldozing forward.

“Hasahn is exactly what we needed,” said the Eagles’ head coach as he prepares for Friday’s visit of fierce rivals Leicester Riders.

“He has a high IQ, is a high energy player, has a strong motor and he’s really solid defensively.

“I like everything about Hasahn’s game and his attitude.

“As he gets more minutes under his belt and gains a better understanding of the BBL he’s going to become a real star in this league.”

With explosive guard Javion Hamlet, backcourt general David Cohn and the mercurial Darius Defoe in his ranks, Steutel doesn’t lack star quality.

And adding French could be the catalyst for the upturn in fortunes a confidence-sapped Newcastle so desperately needs.

Five defeats on the bounce is a poor reflection of a team as talented as it is tentative.

But Steutel is convinced his bruised roster is on the brink of turning the corner after coming so close to victory last weekend.

“We looked more solid defensively against the Gladiators on Sunday and for three quarters of that game I was pleased with the way we contained their main scoring threats,” he added.

“Becoming a better defensive unit is the only way we’ll start to turn things around.

“If we can hold teams to less than 80 points in this league then we’ll be in a position to win games.

“We got ourselves into a winning position against Caledonia but poor game management down the stretch cost us the points.

“And when I talk about game management, I have to include myself in that.

“I have to take responsibility for the way we fell away in the final few minutes.

“We’ve found ourselves in a range of different situations already this season and there’s been a lot of scrutiny around this group in terms of how they handle those situations.

“But I need to reflect on what I can do better as head coach.”

Steutel takes immense pride in a role he is determined to get right and the straight-talking playcaller admits the BBL’s second-bottom team must do better.

The visit of third-placed Leicester presents another monumental challenge to a roster seeking to halt a five-game skid.

And Steutel admitted: “Nobody anticipated we’d be in this situation at the start of the season.

“But human nature, confidence and belief affect professional sport like they do every other walk of life and we’re no different in that respect.

“Teams learn how to win and those lessons enable successful sides to keep on winning.

“That’s what we need to do right now.

“We fought our way back into a winning position against Cheshire and surrendered a winning position against the Gladiators.

“In both situations we came away bitterly disappointed on the back of a loss.

“Learning to win is our number one focus. But the league and the schedule is completely unforgiving.

“There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves. No time to lick our wounds.

“We go again starting with the challenge that is Leicester Riders.”

Tickets are still available for Friday’s homecourt clash against the Riders on the box office.