Newcastle Eagles have continued their rebuilding efforts by swooping to sign Stuart Thomson, the brother of former Sport Central favourite Andrew.
Thomson has BBL experience with Worcester Wolves and Manchester Giants and will give the roster some much-needed strength from the bench, which was one area where the Eagles struggled last season.
A 6ft 6in guard, he is renowned for his skill from the three-point line and Fab Flournoy said he caught the eye for being in every team that gave his Eagles “a hard time” last year.
“We got to know Stu well last year via his brother Andy, and the fact that he seemed to be on every team that gave us a hard time up at Sport Central,” the Eagles player-coach said.
“This included the Cheshire team that got one over on us. Stu has wing athleticism, solid perimeter defence and he can shoot the ball. We are looking forward to working with him greatly.”
Thomson’s average last season was 9.6points, and he made an impressive 42.3% from the three-point line in his last spell with Cheshire Phoenix.
Thomson said: “I have been up in Newcastle a lot over the last 12 months and have a good feel for the place via family members and getting to know the coaching team. I’m looking forward to taking the next step forward in my career with a team with such a great history.”
Thomson ticks plenty of boxes for the Eagles, who always look for their new arrivals to have a “feel” for the club and its community work.
This requirement does not take away from the need to have the ability to wear an Eagles vest, but Thomson’s work with his brother Andy on Newcastle’s summer coaching camps has forged bonds which have been solidified by this signing.
“From my perspective we have got a really good feel for Andy and what he is all about over the last 12 months or even longer,” Eagles owner Paul Blake said.
“Stu is a real upgrade on what we had in terms of that strength in depth. He gives us more of that, and that is one of the issues that we looked at at the end of last season.
“I think it says something when Fab, Dave (Forrester) and myself all really like what he’s about. He’s a very good fit.”
He first came to the attention of the Eagles through sibling Andrew, who was phenomenal in his stint with Newcastle in 2012. Comparisons with his older brother would be misleading, however.
“He’s a shooter – he’s a completely different player,” Blake said.
“We’re looking for him to play a big part obviously, but his role is slightly different because he’ll probably be providing that strength off the bench. I think we all accepted that was a problem last season.
“With a player of Stu’s ability then we will never have any worries or concerns about bringing him on from the bench. That’s fantastic and we’re delighted to have him here.”
It is set to be a big week for the Eagles who expect to announce the signings of two more players this week – including the point guard replacement for Damon Huffman.
The club have been given more encouraging noises by Paul Gause after initially writing off the signing due to wage constraints, and he is one of several options being considered as Newcastle look to make their most important capture of the close season.