HURTING Newcastle Eagles were given a measure of consolation after their play-off heartbreak as star man Trey Moore was named player of the year by the British Basketball Journalists’ Association.
Dumped out of the play-offs at the semi-final stage by a resurgent Sheffield Sharks, the Eagles have ended a disappointing season without silverware for the first time since 2004.
However, their contribution to a thrilling campaign has at least been recognised by British basketball writers, who chose the Atlanta-born point guard as their most outstanding player of the year.
In a season where the Eagles could never pick a settled side because of a slew of serious injuries, Moore was the second-highest scorer in the league with an average of 22.7 points per game and a league-high average of 6.2 assists.
He pipped Mersey Tigers’ former Eagle Drew Sullivan to the award with Nate Reinking, also of the Tigers, finishing third.
A broken foot suffered three weeks ago curtailed Moore’s campaign and also played a major part in the Eagles’ disappointing end to the season, which was curtailed on Sunday in Sheffield.
The Newcastle man said he was delighted to pick up the award, won last season by Joe Chapman, but admitted he would have swapped the honour for a winner’s medal of any kind.
Moore said: “I am delighted to get the award, but I would trade it if Newcastle could have won the play-off title or any other silverware this season.
“It is satisfying to be recognised individually, but my goal was to win the league or cup this year and it was disappointing we could not accomplish it.
“My injury just came at the worst possible time.”
The other BJA awards reflect the shift of power towards the Mersey Tigers this season, with the coach of the year gong going to Tony Garbelotto and British player of the year scooped by Tigers’ forward Andrew Thomson.
Player-coach Fab Flournoy, who won the coach of the year accolade in 2010, came third in voting this year – not a bad effort considering he missed two months with bacterial pneumonia.
After a disappointing campaign, Flournoy will sit down with the Eagles’ managing director Paul Blake over the course of the week to discuss player budgets and plans for next season. Newcastle are understood to be keen to tie down Moore and fellow overseas star Joe Chapman for another term and will want to avoid the mistakes of last summer, when they had not finalised their roster until well into August.
Meanwhile, a defiant Flournoy has insisted the Eagles will hit back next season, claiming this year has not been a failure despite the lack of trophies.
e said: “The people who say our reign is over do not really deserve a response.
“What I will say to those people is talk to me again next year and let’s see where we are.
“If we had not been in semi-finals and we had been out of the title race it might be fair to say we were on the slide.
“However, we have been in contention all year – despite losing three key players at crucial times.
“For our effort and commitment alone we deserved to win something this season.
“Sport, though, is cruel and we ended up empty-handed.”