Eagles chief Paul Blake has highlighted the importance of continuity to the BBL champions after the “spine” of their side all agreed new deals.
The Eagles have re-signed Darius Defoe, Charles Smith, skipper Andrew Bridge and young duo Aaron Nielsen and Jamie Glenn – all on one-year deals.
With Joe Chapman, Kadiri Richard and Trey Moore already on board, it means the Eagles are just one player light of finalising their roster for the upcoming season. Negotiations with back-up guard Andre Lockhart, who is a Barbados international, are at an advanced stage.
Blake is still delighted to have the “hardcore” Eagles on board again.
“They are the backbone of the Eagles,” the Eagles managing director said. “It’s great that we have been able to bring them back year after year and while we knew they would be with us again, it’s still important that we keep doing it. Fab is of the opinion that it is that back bone that has given us the long-term winning streak that we have enjoyed for the last five or six years.
“The journey that the likes of Bridgey and Charles have been on while they’ve been with us has been extraordinary – they’ve become key players and I think that illustrates how important loyalty is to our organisation. It is not easy to maintain the core of an existing team, but that is something we’ve been able to do.”
While Bridge, Smith and Defoe are guaranteed plenty of minutes during the BBL title defence, the Eagles are also looking to Nielsen and Glenn to make a breakthrough this year.
They became integrated in Fab Flournoy’s rotation last year but injuries slowed their progress and they need to rediscover momentum next term.
“It’s probably the biggest year of their careers for Aaron and Jamie – maybe even more so than last year,” Blake said. “There will be some pressure on them next year. They are both in their twenties now and they need to show they can make an impact.”
The Eagles have announced details of their pre-season campaign. They will take on the Durham Wildcats on September 10 (7.30pm tip off) and a touring Team USA side on September 13 (7.30pm tip off) .