FAB Flournoy fears that Lynard Stewart’s decorated Newcastle Eagles career is over.
Stewart has won every BBL honour in his three seasons with the Eagles and Flournoy is desperate to have the experienced centre on board again next season – but family commitments and the lure of a teaching career in his native Philadelphia look set to win the day.
Flournoy is hoping to speak to Stewart over the weekend but knows that it will be difficult to persuade him to spend another nine months away from his young family.
“Lynard hasn’t made a decision yet and I would love to have him back, but I know it’s going to be tough to get him back here,” Flournoy said.
“He is at a crossroads professionally and the question really is whether he wants to come back and live away from his family for another nine months.
“Lynard won’t thank me for saying this but he is a big softie when it comes to kids. He will make a great teacher because he really cares about them and I think being around some of the other guys and their young families has brought that home to him.
“He has a little girl himself and I think being away from her was tough for him last season.
“That is going to be a big consideration for him and so is his motivation. He has won every single honour in this country, he has played in Europe, he has played under Chris (Finch) and those top coaches. We will have to try and sell it to him but I don’t know whether we’ll be able to convince him.”
Flournoy acknowledges that a last hurrah in Europe is a possibility.
“Lynard is not motivated by money but he has to look after the best interests of his family and I’m sure that if someone puts a financial package in front of him that he can’t refuse, that might have an impact,” he said.
“I don’t think we’re in that position yet. But I know he loves the club, so we’ll see.”
Stewart spoke before the start of last season about his desire to go into teaching, and he has been coaching in high schools back home with a view to starting up his second career.
Flournoy would be sad to lose Stewart, a player that he considers the best ever to play in the British leagues.
“As far as big men go, he is the best ever to play in the BBL in my opinion,” he said.
“If Lynard had been one or two inches taller, he could have played in the NBA. And he would have been a good NBA player as well, not a journeyman.
“He is a great player and is a fantastic guy to have in the locker-room as well. Lynard is responsible for Darius (Defoe) improving at the rate he has over the last three seasons.
“He has watched how Lynard has done it and developed his game.”