Hyatt's second chance

Newcastle Eagles have completed their sensational move to re-sign shooting guard Jeremy Hyatt.

Jeremy Hyatt

Newcastle Eagles have completed their sensational move to re-sign shooting guard Jeremy Hyatt.

Hyatt was one of the most highly rated players in British basketball and a huge favourite with Eagles supporters when news broke earlier this year of his convictions for driving whilst disqualified.

He was subsequently handed 150 hours community service by the courts and also missed out on the glory of the club's play-off final win in May - a victory that completed the club's remarkable clean sweep of domestic honours.

At the time it looked like Hyatt had burned his bridges in Newcastle. Still without a club when the new BBL season tipped off at the end of last month, his career appeared to be hanging in the balance.

Speaking exclusively to the Chronicle during the summer, Hyatt had expressed his regret and embarrassment at the way his Eagles career appeared to have ended and apologised to both the club and fans for his behaviour.

Following on from the shock of his backcourt partner TJ Walker's decision to postpone retirement, Hyatt suddenly finds himself back on Tyneside having been handed an unexpected opportunity to repay the club's supporters. In fact, it is the fans who will make all the difference when he returns since it would appear an overwhelming majority are willing to forget the past and welcome back someone they voted the club's player of the season only 18 months ago.

Having given five great years prior to his off-court problems, Hyatt still remains a hugely popular figure with the supporters and there is little doubt that, on the court, his addition will provide the Springfield Honda-backed club with some much-needed BBL experience and firepower.

Fab Flournoy has certainly stuck his neck out for Hyatt, although the Newcastle player-coach feels it is a decision that will hopefully pay dividends when he finally links up with the team ahead of Sunday's clash with Plymouth.

"Jeremy will fit straight into our team and we will have the advantage of not having to spend time easing him in as we would have had to do with a new player," explained Flournoy.

"He knows the league and, of course, the Eagles inside out and we know what he is capable of. He can shoot the lights out, and defensively he is great for us because he can defend a guard or a forward.

"I think we might get to see even greater versatility from Jeremy this year as he can back down players in the post position, and we have to be happy that we have re-signed a great all-round player who we know will give us what we need."

Only a few weeks ago I hinted that Eagles fans might not have seen the back of Hyatt despite the signing of Shawan Robinson, and now it will be intriguing to see how the latter now develops his role within the team.

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