Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Flournoy: Reggie Is Phenomenal; 'Premier' Player Could Make Difference

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Flournoy: Reggie Is Phenomenal; 'Premier' Player Could Make Difference

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK DOUGLAS

FAB FLOURNOY has backed "phenomenal" Reggie Jackson to lead Newcastle Eagles in one last push for the BBL title.

The Eagles entertain top-of-the-table Mersey Tigers tonight in a game being billed as a title decider by both sides.

It is their seventh meeting of a fascinating season but undoubtedly the most important, with the forced overhaul of the Eagles side adding another intriguing dimension to a fierce rivalry.

No one would argue that the Eagles are stronger for losing key men Trey Moore and Joe Chapman, but their replacements Drew Lasker and "Action" Jackson have turned Newcastle into a different side - and posed a fresh set of questions to a Tigers team that have dominated the head-to-head this season.

Flournoy pinpoints March's BBL player of the month Jackson in particular as a man who can make a difference in the titanic Sport Central (7.30pm) title tussle.

Having decided against bringing him back in the summer to accommodate other players, the Eagles player-coach admits his improvement in nine months away from the club has astounded him.

He said: "I take my hat off to Reggie - he has grown so much as a player from last year to this year.

"He has matured so much. His understanding of the game has improved so much and he's almost thinking like a coach now, which is really helping us.

"He always had the talent, there was no question of that, but it was always a question of whether he could break through from being a rookie to developing that understanding of set plays and everything else.

"That complements his talent and he has become our premier player in just two months, which is pretty remarkable.

"It is almost like he's a phenomenon - I couldn't have asked for any more than he has done for us since he returned."

Jackson is even playing through the pain barrier to lead the Eagles in the final week of the regular season. …

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