Newcastle Eagles and Great Britain captain Drew Sullivan have joined forces to offer three North-East based youngsters scholarships with the club which will see them officially join the roster for the 2007/08 BBL season.
The Eagles have handed opportunities to Aaron Nielson, Adam Hall and Will Spragg to formally link up with the team as they seek to develop a career for themselves in the sport.
The scholarships have arisen after Sullivan, a former Eagles player who has since played in the Spanish ACB with European giants DKV Joventut first put the idea to Managing Director Paul Blake.
“Drew approached us earlier this year to discuss the possibility of him financially supporting some of the young talent we have in the area.”
“All credit must go to him for planting the seed which has seen both him and the club coming together to give a trio of young guys a real chance of making it in professional basketball.”
“It is a great gesture by Drew and it shows he is passionate and committed to supporting young people in our game.”
He continued “Aaron, Adam and Will are all aged between 16 and 18 and have come through our rapidly developing community programmes in the area. Aaron is from the West End, Adam is from Kenton and Wil is from Bensham in Gateshead”
“They have trained with the club for around a year and a half now and after Andrew backed his idea we spoke to Fab Flournoy and Andrew Bridge who were also keen to see us go ahead.”
“We have always recruited British players and have been pro-active in this respect and this is the next step in terms of doing everything possible to now develop the potential that we have right here on our doorstep.”
Sullivan meanwhile who will play for Mons in Belgium this season is delighted to hace seen his proposal come to fruition and is looking forward to tracking the progress of the young Eagles players. He said “We need to ensure that some young British talents have the opportunities to come through our own system and make it into the professional game.”
“There are no guarantees of course but with some financial help and the correct mentoring and support we can at least give them every opportunity to succeed.”
“This will give them the chance to commit to club duties for a year and they fully deserve their chance. I am sure they can now develop themselves as players and they have the potential to succeed and we all hope they can now realise this.”
The final signings preceed the Eagles season opener against the Guildford Heat on Friday 21st September at the Newcastle MetroRadio Arena. The first 3,000 ticket purchasers attending this special game will receive an Eagles Nike T-Shirt free of charge. It is advised that supporters arrive early to avoid queues, Arena doors open at 6.30pm.