Newcastle Eagles guard Joe Chapman insists that his summer stint on a reality TV show is paying dividends on the court, despite the indifferent start of the reigning BBL champions.

The American, who was the British Basketball League Player of the Year last season, took part on Fox’s ‘Replay the Series’ show during the off-season, a programme that re-enacted a game from 2000 between two high schools in his native Chicago.

It saw his former team-mates reunited, training together once again to replay the contest between Chapman’s Bloom High and rivals Brother Rice.

And the Eagles star is still feeling the benefits of his unconventional training regime.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “Being around my team-mates ten years later – some of whom were out of shape, some who don’t play basketball any more – was fun.

“Gatorade got us in shape, two-a-days for eight weeks. So I lost 20 pounds. But it was fun to spend time with the guys.”

Joe Chapman is building on a Player of the Year season

Back on Tyneside, the lighter, faster Chapman admits he’s now a changed man from the sorry figure who nearly skipped town 12 months ago after an awkward start to his professional career.

“I have more confidence now,” he admitted. “Last year I was the only rookie here, the only new guy. It took me a while to blend in. Now there’s a lot more to see in me and they have faith in me also.

“There are a lot of awards I didn’t win last year: team awards, individual awards. So I want to go out and do it.”

There has been guidance too from Dwyane Wade, his brother-in-law and former team-mate at Marquette University. The pair remain close, the Miami Heat star acting as the perfect role model for Chapman as he bids to elevate his own game still further.

“It’s not so much what he told me but it’s what I see in him,” the BBL All Star declared.

“I see him play. And being around the league, you know the officials, what’s they’re going to call. You know the crowd, so you go in with a different mindset. I watched a lot of film over the summer to get my mind set on being prepared.”

While the Eagles try to recover from their early struggles, Chapman has one eye on Miami, and the brave new world that has opened up for Wade on South Beach since the arrival of LeBron James and Chris Bosh.

“He’s very excited,” Chapman revealed.

““When it first happened. Everyone was like: ‘my goodness’. But it’s going to put a lot of years back on his body. He’s happy about that.

“There’s more pressure – which is good. For guys like that, the more pressure, the better they perform. So I’m looking for big things. If I go home for Christmas, I’m definitely going to Miami.”

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