Fab Flournoy excited about Newcastle Eagles’ closest title race

Player-coach Fabulous Flournoy is aiming to maintain standards against Plymouth and Leicester

Fab Flournoy, player coach for Newcastle Eagles
Fab Flournoy, player coach for Newcastle Eagles

Fabulous Flournoy would rather success - and sleep - came more easily, but the Newcastle Eagles player-coach is revelling in the “tightest, most exciting” BBL Championship he has known.

The Eagles stand second in the table, four points behind Worcester Wolves with a game in hand and 10 to play.

Leicester Riders and Sheffield Sharks are also in realistic contention.

Delighting in that “diversity and strength”, Flournoy suspects a consequence could be some teams finish the regular season level on points - bringing head-to-heads into play.

Newcastle lead Worcester 2-1 over their three games, are 1-0 with two to play against Leicester and 1-1 with one to play against Sheffield.

They host Plymouth Raiders at Sport Central tonight (7.30pm), before a trip to Leicester Riders tomorrow (also 7.30pm).

Though he relishes the prospect of a title race ebbing and flowing between multiple contenders, Flournoy said: “I want to win easy!

“I want us to win every game and everyone else to lose. I’m a coach, I’m selfish - I want to sleep easy at night.

“This is sport and I also know that’s not realistic.

“Plus, as a fan, you want to see exciting basketball matches, games going back and forth.

“From that standpoint, this title race is very exciting. It’s so close. No one team is dominant, which shows its diversity and its strength.

“That means we have to think about head-to-heads now, they could be crucial.

“This is the tightest BBL Championship I’ve ever known.

“You have Worcester up there now and three or four other teams are still in contention.

“The biggest thing I look at is the ‘lost’ column, and even the top teams have lost four, five, six games.

“So if any teams end up level on points, head-to-heads come into it.

“That’s why winning against Worcester last Friday was so important.

“The win itself was big, but having lost one and won one against them we had to win the head-to-head.

“We have to do the same against Leicester and Plymouth, who were the first team to beat us this season.

“Sheffield’s important too (next month).

“If we want to have any chance of winning something, we have to win our head-to-heads.”

With one eye on Worcester’s double-header against Sheffield tonight and next Wednesday, Flournoy added: “We have to build on last week’s win over Worcester.

“That was the first time in three games we managed to close the game out. The other two were disappointing.

“We have to maintain standards from our last game.

“The players just have to concentrate on the game and what they have to do to win it, not the implications of victory or defeat.

“How are we going to win it? That’s their focus.”

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