Fab Flournoy believes only a certain type of person is surprised at the rise of Worcester Wolves.
Because when this occasional observer of the British basketball scene innocently put it to the Newcastle Eagles coach that tonight’s opponents had shocked everyone this season, big Fab was having none of it.
“You are wrong, I’m afraid,” he said in the friendliest manner possible.
“Only those who haven’t watched out league in recent years will say that Worcester came out of nowhere.”
And Flournoy knows why the Wolves are current top of the league.
He said: “In Paul James, they have probably the best coach in the league. I’m pretty sure he’s got more wins than even me.
“They would have been contenders last year, but got off to a slow start, and by the end they were playing like title contenders.
“They finished really well and had they got a batter start then they would have been in with a chance.
“We all saw that by then they were bona-fide title challengers. I always expected them to come at us this year.
“Paul is just superb at his job. He has been there three years now and the have got stronger and stronger under his watch.
“So it’s no surprise to me that they have had such a good season.”
A win for the Eagles would put them joint top with Worcester, albeit the men from Newcastle have played one game less.
Worcester won last time they played – in Newcastle – so they will arrive on Tyneside with little fear and rightly so.
However, if Flournoy and his players do pull off a win it is advantage, just, to the Eagles.
So it’s a massive night for both teams.
Flournoy said: “It’s a big game and a big challenge for us. The players know this.
“We play each other three times and it could come down to a head-to-head by the end.
“We have lost one. We don’t want to lose a second game. It would hurt if these games against Worcester hurt us at the end of the season.
“I don’t want this game to come back to bite us later on.
“There are a few teams on two losses each (Leicester, London and Sheffield all have that record) apart from ourselves and Worcester, so it’s all very tight.
“If we can win, then things take a turn for the better for us.”
Eagles head into the game in good form having handed defeats to Manchester Giants and Glasgow Rocks in the cup quarter-final last weekend.
Flournoy has been happy with the way his team have come together after a slow start to the season.
He said: “We played well in our last two games, which was great to see. We are coming together as a team.
“We had some injuries at the start of the season.
“That wasn’t the reason for a start that was just okay, but it was a reason.
“We have not had some time together to work and you can see that the results have improved hugely.
“The guys have found some form and while nothing will be won or lost, but it’s a big moment in the season.”