Long-serving player Charles Smith returns to Newcastle Eagles

Newcastle Eagles' longest-serving player Charles Smith has rejoined for a 13th season with the club

Charles Smith of Newcastle Eagles
Charles Smith of Newcastle Eagles

Newcastle Eagles’ longest-serving player will be back for a 13th season.

The British Basketball League champions have announced Charles Smith as the latest addition to their 2014-15 roster.

The 38-year-old forward is the only player to have been with the club longer than Fabulous Flournoy.

Smith first joined in 1999-2000 and although he has been tempted away on occasions, having spells in Austria, Portugal, Scotland, Turkey and Spain, his wife and three daughters are settled in the region and he has always come back.

This year’s line-up, with only two players new to the club, shows the high price player-coach Flournoy puts on continuity.

Drew Lasker and Scott Martin have extended their stays, while forward Andy Thomson returns after three years away.

The roster is still to be completed but with long-serving Darius Defoe and home-grown Eddie Matthew still to commit there is unlikely to be much room for further fresh faces alongside Rahmon Fletcher and Ricky Taylor.

During his time at the club, Smith has built a strong friendship with Flournoy and the captain remains a crucial sounding board for the New Yorker.

Flournoy said: “Chuck is a natural-born leader and has one of the best basketball brains I know.

“To have him alongside me in training, on the bench and on the court is a true honour and privilege and he is such an important part of Newcastle Eagles.

“His input and insight is invaluable for me and the team, and one day I think he’ll make a great coach.

“For now I’m just happy to have back on our roster and to be able to call upon him as a player – a role in which he has never let me down.”

Smith has won 16 BBL trophies on Tyneside and is the Eagles’ all-time top-scorer.

Flournoy returns to Newcastle tomorrow and will be keen to see his roster completed in time for pre-season, which begins next month.

Newcastle’s opening game is against Worcester Wolves on September 26 at Sport Central. The sides met in the final match of last season, the play-off final, which the Wolves won 90-78.

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