Newcastle Eagles player-coach Fab Flournoy could miss a chunk of the BBL title run-in while he recovers from illness.

The New York native was discharged from hospital on Wednesday after being diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia following an emergency admission last week.

In his absence, the Eagles pulled off back-to-back wins last weekend to move into top spot in the league.

However Flournoy will be absent when his team visit Glasgow on Sunday in the battle for first place. And, it is likely that he will need an extended break to recuperate.

In a statement, Newcastle said: “The club would like to thank everyone that has shown support for Fab over the last week and gave him their best wishes in his return to full health. The Eagles coach will continue his recuperation at home – no date is set for his return to club duties as yet.”

Eagles’ captain Andrew Bridge admitted that the illness to Flournoy has been a distraction, but he was pleased with how the Newcastle team has reacted.

We need to keep to our roles, where it could go wrong is if we start trying to do things differently,” said Bridge.

“We just needed to get through last weekend, and we did fine.”

Heat draft in Hegamin, axe Porter

Guildford Heat have signed power-forward Ralph Hegamin for the remainder of the season.

The 6’8″ American comes to the Heat fresh from for Illiabum in in the top Portuguese League, the Liga Profissional.

Hegamin averaged 15.9 points per game (ppg) and 5.8 rebounds for Illiabum, who he joined after a highly successful college career at West Chester University, playing three seasons for the Golden Rams.

During his final season at West Chester, Hegamin was team captain and named Most Valuable Player. He also picked up a host of other honours, twice making it to the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) First Team.

The Heat coach is ringing changes

“I have brought in Ralph as he plays both the power forward and centre positions,” said Heat coach Creon Raftopoulos.

“This will give me an opportunity to manage Mike Martin’s minutes as he has had to carry the bulk of the load at the power forward position. Adding Carlos Medlock at the point has already improved the team and Ralph’s addition will add an extra weapon and new options on offence.

“Now that the future of Guildford Heat is secure, I have been able to re-shape the team in order to ensure that we can remain highly competitive in the league. The release of David Schneider was because of injury and I released James Porter in order to freshen up and match up with other teams in the league who have added new players.

“I believe we now have a very strong team, capable of giving many winning performances. This will put us in a strong position for the rest of the season, particularly with the BBL Trophy Final in March.”

Hegamin is set to make his debut for the Heat at Leicester on Saturday.

Copeland declares Rocks are ready for run-in

Glasgow Rocks forward Mike Copeland believes his side can emerge as British Basketball League frontrunners if they hold their nerve in the three-way battle for supremacy.

The Kelvin Hall outfit are level on points at the top of the table with Newcastle and Mersey, with both their rivals visiting Glasgow next week.

It is a five-day spell that could shape the Rocks title ambitions but Copeland insists that Sterling Davis’ men are ready for the challenge.

The American said: “We know that the next two weeks will decide our season. If we keep playing like we have been, getting good starts and being consistent throughout the whole game, we have a chance to win the league. The guys are feeling comfortable with that.

“We had a couple of let downs against Worcester on Sunday but we’ll correct that this week. We’ve been having some great practices and I feel like we get tighter every day.”

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