Tafari Toney, Eagles basketball star, came to Kenton School to be interviewed by pupils as part of the Newcastle Schools Sport Enterprise Challenge project. We talked tactics, training and tips.

How did you get into a basketball career? “I played my first ball game at the age of 5. We used to just play ball because there was nothing else to do. I started to put a lot of effort into basketball in senior school, this was because I was distracted from my work and didn’t like school, I knew that if I became good at a sport I would be able to get into university for free”

Was there anyone in your family that helped you pursue your passion? “My uncle inspired me to play, he saw I had a talent and told me to keeping doing what I did. He also told me to keep growing”

What would you have done if you didn’t keep growing? “I would make music, I have always liked music”

What kind of music is it that you like? “I listen to a lot of reggae; I would have chosen a career in reggae if I didn’t go into ball”

Any other jobs you would have liked? “A chef, I like to cook and I like food”

So if you could be any food, what would it be? “Man, I like a lot of food! Erm if I could be a food I would be erm… bbq chicken, mashed potato or rice”

Do you prefer home or Newcastle? “Newcastle is like New York, it’s a party city – except for on a Sunday, you can’t even go to Tesco on a Sunday”

Do you think by going into schools and talking to young children that this encourages them to lead a healthy life? Do you think that by going into schools to see older children and young adults that this encourages them to want a career in sport?

“I hope that it does make a real difference when I go into schools and I feel positive about it because if I didn’t then I wouldn’t be able to do it the way I do now I couldn’t be positive about it I would feel like it was pointless”

How does it feel when you win a game? “Winning a game is like winning money”

How do you feel before a game? “If you’re not nervous you’re not ready to play”

Any advice you have? “Work hard everyday. If you don’t practice you will lose it”

By meeting Tafari I feel more positive towards sportsmen. And not scared at all- “some people think I’m scary ‘cause I’m too tall”. Knowing more things about the players has made me feel more close to them and therefore encouraged me to go to the games. When asked which teams he preferred to play against Tafari simply replied:

“I like playing against Sheffield and Everton because they are the two problem teams we have”.

With the Eagles top of the league they need to win against Everton in their game on the 31st March. To book tickets call the Eagles office, purchase via the Eagles website shop or buy tickets on the door. Tip off is at 7:30.

– Laura Clark, Kenton School