Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Richard: I Will Fill the Void for Eagles; New Boy Kadiri Vows to Take over from Favourite Stewart

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Richard: I Will Fill the Void for Eagles; New Boy Kadiri Vows to Take over from Favourite Stewart

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK DOUGLAS

ALL-ACTION Newcastle Eagles new boy Kadiri Richard says he has no fears about filling the shoes of the departed Lynard Stewart.

Former Worthing Thunder forward Richard - a rebounding and shot-blocking specialist - inked a one-year deal with the Eagles yesterday as the BBL champions begin building a roster to defend their crown next season.

The move is sure to delight fans, who took to the likeable and hard-working Richard when he played at the Arena last season.

And head coach Fab Flournoy believes the 6ft 8in American will be the perfect partner for Darius Defoe in an imposing front-court line-up.

Although his points average is relatively modest, Richard is undoubtedly one of the BBL's best blockers, and he was in the top five rebounders last season in his debut season in England - which should free up space for the likes of Charles Smith, Joe Chapman and Reggie Jackson if they return to the club next season.

But while there will be joy among the Eagles fans about Richard coming on board, he knows there is a big act to follow in Stewart, who will not be returning. Rather than worrying about it, though, he will approach the challenge with his trademark positivity. "There is no point in worrying about things you can't control and I will just be going into it to do my absolute best," he said.

"I'm just a character who on court will just come out as hard as I can and I have no fear. I love competing against the best and setting myself tough challenges.

"I guess it is how I was brought up. When I was a kid I grew up alongside guys like Jermaine O'Neal (of NBA side the Boston Celtics) and there was no fear - we just used to compete and test ourselves.

"That is my attitude, and I promise the Eagles fans that I want to bring that to Newcastle."

Flournoy and assistant coach Dave Forrester have been tracking Richard for months, and the 29-year-old was impressed by the enthusiasm of both when they began discussions on a move to the Eagles at the end of last season. …

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