Paul Gause is predicting the “explosive” Newcastle Eagles can hit “scary” new heights this season.
Yet the all-action point-guard admits the new-look side still has plenty to prove as it heads towards a potentially pivotal pair of matches.
The Eagles host Glasgow Rocks and early season pace-setters Worcester Wolves over the next two weeks knowing they can lay down a marker if they can beat two of the BBL’s stronger sides.
So far they have looked mightily impressive in spells and blew away both Birmingham Knights and Manchester Giants with performances of power and awesome points-scoring last weekend.
However, they are among the weaker teams in the division and to regain their perch at the top of British basketball they will need to replicate their powerful performances against the best in the business.
To that end, beating the Rocks would be a statement of intent according to Gause.
Gause said: “We feel like Glasgow Rocks will be one of the top teams in the league this year so it is an important game for us and we want to win it.
“Every game in the league is important this year and we will be taking it one step at a time.
“We know what is resting on the Rocks and Worcester games. It has been a good start to the season and I feel like we’re a pretty explosive team. We have that in every position on the court and it feels like everyone in the team is capable of having a really big night.
“The pretty scary thing for the rest of the BBL is we have a long, long way to go to reach our potential. We’re not even close yet and that will only come with more games and more minutes training and playing.”
Gause was part of the clean sweep team in 2012 but feels there is even more potential in a roster put together by Fab Flournoy and Dave Forrester to give the Eagles a different dimension this season.
He added: “This is definitely a different team.
“It’s a big difference and there are lots of new guys and we’re still finding our way with each other.
“We are an athletic team – probably more than we were last time I was here.
“It is an enjoyable team to be part of so far but the thing which gives you the most enjoyment out of everything is winning. As long as we’re doing that then it is good fun to be part of this Eagles team.”
Gause played a year in Slovakia before rejoining the Eagles and admits he has found it easy to slip back into life on Tyneside.
With one eye on the off-court difficulties which can make it difficult playing in Europe, he feels the straightforward way Newcastle deal with their players is a big part of the reason so many stars come back to the North East.
He said: “I love playing here. I jumped at the chance to come back when I had that opportunity – it’s a good club to be with because it treats you well.
“The club is a great one to be with and a lot of people talk about it as a family. The fans here are just great and they have welcomed me back.”