Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Slam Dunk for Eagles as Key Star Signs Again

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Slam Dunk for Eagles as Key Star Signs Again

Article excerpt

Byline: SIMON RUSHWORTH

IN 2004 a little-known Londoner signed on the dotted line for Newcastle Eagles following a brief but life-changing conversation with the club's fast-rising player-coach, Fabulous Flournoy.

As a wide-eyed teenager taking his first tentative steps in professional basketball, Darius Defoe had no idea what the future might hold.

Fast forward 14 years and the 33-year-old has become one of the most dependable players in the BBL and remains Flournoy's most trusted on-court lieutenant.

Defoe committed himself to a 15th campaign on Tyneside last night - joining returning hero Rahmon Fletcher on a roster that already screams proven top flight experience.

And at a time when transition is the keyword for a Newcastle squad readying itself for this winter's move to the brand new Eagles Community Arena, it's somewhat reassuring to know some things never change.

"I talked to my family in London and everyone agreed that staying in the North East for another year made perfect sense," said Defoe.

"I have enjoyed some amazing times in Newcastle and I've been fortunate enough to be part of so many winning teams.

"But I don't think anything has come close to the excitement that's building around moving into our new arena.

"How could I move on now? The club is about to play in its own home for the first time and I want to be a part of that."

For the second successive season Defoe experienced a frustrating finale to his Eagles campaign as injury once again restricted his contribution down the stretch.

But he returns to Newcastle refocused and refreshed and looking to add to his 24 medals with the men in black.

Defoe passed 400 appearances for the Eagles in all competitions last season and added: "I am focused on the future.

"I don't think anyone can underestimate the importance of this club having its own home. …

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