Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Basketball: Flournoy's Looking for a Season That's Just Fabulous

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Basketball: Flournoy's Looking for a Season That's Just Fabulous

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL GILDER

FABULOUS Flournoy's vest will show a change that is subtle yet significant this season as Newcastle Eagles officials use the American's kit to both identify the popular playcaller and to underline their expectations, writes PAUL GILDER.

It might be his surname, but Flournoy is not a word that will not feature on the 34-year-old's number 20 shirt. Fabulous - the moniker that will be used instead - is both his first name and what the club's backers hope the forthcoming BBL campaign will turn out to be.

"It demonstrates the expectations and the standards for our club and our organisation," explained the club's player-coach, who has more than lived up to his distinctive name during a success-laden spell in the North-East. I think that's the expectation that Northern Rock (who this summer became the franchise's main sponsors) and the club has for this season.

"It's not something I've paid much attention to, but I guess it could make me a target. That's something I will have to deal with. It also raises the expectations, but that's what we're all about here."

When the New Yorker first arrived in the BBL 11 years ago, it was his first name that adorned his Birmingham Bullets vest. For a rookie unknown in England, it was a bold statement to make. Since then, his remarkable record means there will be no such pressure to perform on a player for whom respect is assured across the league.

Flournoy's CV cannot be matched in the domestic game. Four times he has won the BBL Play-Offs (including three successive titles with Newcastle, a fourth this season would be a record), twice he has lifted the BBL Trophy and once each the BBL Cup and the Championship. In the 2005-06 campaign, his Eagles completed a domestic clean sweep, winning all four competitions. Twice he has been crowned the BBL's coach of the year.

That there is nothing in the domestic game he has not done is clear, yet Flournoy's hunger has still to be sated. …

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