SMITH CONFIDENT OF EAGLES PLACE IN HISTORY

Newcastle Eagles veteran Charles Smith reckons his side deserve to be regarded as one of the greats after they completed the clean sweep of all four domestic prizes for the second time in the club’s history.

The former Rocks forward was named as the Most Valuable Player of the BBL play-off final as Newcastle rallied from 13 down in a scrappy game to beat Leicester Riders 71-62 and confirm their complete dominance this season.

“We came together around Christmas time when we went on a trip to Holland and that helped. Everyone gets along. No-one wants to let the other person down. That’s what makes us a great team.”

But Leicester, he adds, deserve plaudits for the way they came so close to derailing the Eagles history bid.

Smith added: “We knew we couldn’t let up even we got 10 ahead because they’re a dangerous team and they can pile up points very quickly. So we had to push all the way to the end.”

Meanwhile Newcastle’s assistant coach Dave Forester has paid tribute to Fabulous Flournoy for the way he has balanced coaching with playing extra minutes as injuries plagued the Eagles during the latter stages of the season.

“When we needed him to score at Cheshire he stepped up, when we needed him to play defence on Cameron Rundles he did that, when we needed a big rebound invariably he grabbed it. At 6’4” and primarily playing the point guard position he still came up with 13 rebounds in the final, more than anyone else on the court.

“Sometimes I think his effect on the game is overlooked by people who just look at him as a coach who is a hard worker and ultra demanding of his players. But he never asks them to do anything that he can’t or won’t do himself. The example he sets to others as a player is intoxicating.”

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