Young gun Defoe sets sights high

Darius Defoe will go in against Worcester Wolves at the Arena tomorrow night looking for an early birthday present.

Darius Defoe will go in against Worcester Wolves at the Arena tomorrow night looking for an early birthday present.

The Newcastle Eagles forward's 6ft 9in frame and confidence on the court belie the fact that he only turns 22 next week.

And while he is determined to build on a solid start to his third season for Newcastle, Defoe is certainly getting the reward for his hard work.

The Londoner has seen his court time almost double, averaging over 25 minutes per game so far this term, which is up from his career average of 14 minutes per outing.

He has certainly stepped up and proved that he is worthy of such responsibility. Over the first five games of the campaign he has averaged 11 points and 8.8 rebounds.

Arguably his best performance so far came in the Eagles' 95-81 defeat of the Plymouth Raiders when he had 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks to his credit.

"I've tried very hard," said Defoe, "I'm that kind of person. This is my third year on the team and I've spent lots of time learning from everyone else. It's nice that I'm getting extra minutes now."

The Eagles have stuttered at the start of the season, having already lost three games, but with the league being so tight this year they haven't lost much ground.

Yet Defoe is pleased with how the post-Andrew Sullivan Eagles are faring.

"We have done well so far," he said. "We haven't gelled completely yet as there are a couple of new guys on board and we're 2 and 3. But the team is working hard together."

Despite his great start to the campaign, with a more elevated role on the team, Defoe has set himself no personal targets.

But he remains optimistic about the Springfield Honda-backed Eagles' chances of retention all four domestic titles that they currently possess.

"I'm very confident that we can retain those titles," he said. "When we do gel together and start winning then I reckon we'll be up there."

Tomorrow's match against the Wolves tips off at 7:30pm.

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