Shawan's real shooting star

Eagles star Olu Babalola has endorsed the club's capture of his former team-mate Shawan Robinson and believes the guard can make a big impact on Tyneside.

Eagles star Olu Babalola has endorsed the club's capture of his former team-mate Shawan Robinson and believes the guard can make a big impact on Tyneside.

The pair, who played together at Clemson College will be reunited this season with Babalola tipping the 6ft 2in rookie to be a success in his first professional season.

He said: "Shawan is a great two-guard and a tremendous shooter. He can get really streaky at times and score a lot of points in a hurry.

"His best qualities are that he really plays hard, which is important for the team.

"He will produce and won't be worried about anything at all. I played with Shawan for three years and I know him very well. He can be an important player for us."

Robinson will certainly have his work cut out in filling the substantial void left by Jeremy Hyatt as well as adapting to the hard-nosed world of professional sport, although Babalola is confident his transition to British basketball will be a smooth one.

"No disrespect to the BBL, but playing against top college teams like Duke and North Carolina means that you are used to playing under pressure and playing in big games," said Babalola.

"It might be a little different for him when he arrives, but he has experience with Clemson that will really count, and one thing about Shawan is that he always comes up with big numbers in the big games."

Robinson certainly has a decent CV, having averaged over 12 points per game for Clemson, and he is a dangerous three-point shooter who also averaged over 91% from the free-throw line last year.

The only real concern is that rookie US players haven't exactly prospered in recent seasons at the Springfield Honda backed club and it is likely to be a tough first assignment for Robinson.

One of the most important factors player-coach Fab Flournoy always looks for in a player is whether they have a good character - and Babalola has insisted that the club has no worries on this score.

"He is someone who not only plays well but conducts himself well away from the court," he said. "There is no point in having a great player who is a loner off the court.

"We are a close unit as a team and I am sure he will be comfortable with this and will be a good fit for us, both on and off the court.

"I have spoken to him and he will be here with us soon and is looking forward to it."

The Eagles played their first pre-season friendly earlier this week behind closed doors against touring side Team USA Select and came out with a hard-fought victory.

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