EAGLES LURK AS BBL TIPS OFF

Newcastle Eagles play-caller Fab Flournoy is keeping his powder dry ahead of the big British Basketball League tip-off.

The curtain will be raised on what promises to be another exciting season when the Eagles host Glasgow Rocks at Sport Central and Sheffield entertain Cheshire Jets this evening as the BBL Trophy swings into action.

Flournoy endured a challenging campaign last time out and despite not taking up his full quota of import players during the summer, he is confident he has enough at his disposal during the early stages of the season as the Eagles try to get back amongst the silverware again.

“We obviously do have one import spot open but obviously paperwork issues can make that a 3 or 4 week process, explained Flournoy.

“I do like our squad as it stands but if the right guy became available (from a talent and chemistry perspective) at a price we could afford, then we would be interested.

“At the moment though I am certainly happy with what I have.”

After facing up to their old foes the Rocks, Flournoy will then take his players on the shortest trip in the club’s history as they experience a brand new derby game against BBL new boys Durham Wildcats – led by the familiar face of Dave Elderkin.

On Saturday evening, the action will be focused in the Midlands when Leicester Riders lock horns with MK Lions while in Worcester, head coach Paul James will oversee his Wolves team against former club Guildford Heat.

The first clash between Riders and Lions is likely to be a pivotal one with EBL team London Leopards, the third team in the Group meaning the results of the two all-BBL games are likely to be decisive. The game will also mark the return to Riders of Great Britain guard Flinder Boyd.

Last year’s runners-up Guildford Heat will be looking to go one better this year although they have what looks to be a really tough double header on the road. When they’ve finished their opener in Worcester, they will then head down to Devon to face a Plymouth Raiders team buoyed even further this week by the arrival of talented guard James Jones.

The Raiders are a team that some people have chosen as their dark horses for a trophy with others even tipping them to feature strongly in the title race this season. Consequently Creon Raftopoulos and his players will know it will be a difficult task to return from the Pavilions with a precious victory.

Meanwhile the final game of the first weekend of the new season will see a quick-fire re-match as One Health Sharks Sheffield travel to Northgate Arena to face the Jets.

Both teams are two of the oldest in the league although the emphasis will be on very much the new this weekend as far as Jets are concerned as John Lavery jumps into the coaching hot-seat.

Although it’s more a case of going back to the future for Sharks who will of course have Great Britain guard Nate Reinking back in their line-up as they look to build on an impressive 2010-11 season.

Read a full team-by-team BBL preview in the new issue of MVP Magazine. Out in October.

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