Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Can Again Draw on Defoe's Invaluable Experience

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Eagles Can Again Draw on Defoe's Invaluable Experience

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner Sports Writer @sturayner

FABULOUS Flournoy is looking forward to teaching his new boys the Newcastle Eagles way, but he need have no such concerns with his latest recruit.

Forward Darius Defoe will be back for an 11th season with the British Basketball League champions. During that time he has clocked up more than 400 appearances and all 18 BBL trophies in the club's history.

So the 29-year-old will have an important role in helping summer signings Rahmon Fletcher and Ricky Taylor adapt to player-coach Flournoy's methods.

"It's great to have D back," the player-coach commented. "He's a pillar of our team.

"I've had Darius since he was 18 and now 'young Defoe' is a grown man and a professional in his own right. It's aways fantastic having a player with his experience. That's extremely helpful when you've got new figures to come into the club.

"He can help set the stage for the new guys coming in.

"He's been here, enjoyed it and it's all he knows. It's just fantastic him signing for us.

"He had a fantastic year last year and in basketball terms he is still at a young age, but he seems older because of all the games he's played. He's been in this league a long time."

With his team-building nearing its completion, Flournoy is looking forward to the squad finding an identity when pre-season begins on a week on Monday.

Flournoy is pleased with a recruitment drive which has allowed him to re-sign Charles Smith, Drew Lasker and Scott Martin, and bring back former favourite Andy Thomson.

"Every year it's a jigsaw," he said.

"You have key pieces you want to keep. Without a shadow of a doubt, they were Darius, Charles and Andy.

"I was trying to retain the key figures of last season and I've been able to do that, albeit not as many as I would like (Malik Cooke has joined BC Kormend). …

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