This Friday the Leicester Riders take on the Newcastle Eagles in the BBL Championship as the two teams do battle for the third time this season having split their two meetings to date.
About the Eagles
The Eagles are the most successful club in the BBL, but are in a period of transition, following the departure of long term player coach Fab Flournoy, who has joined the Toronto Raptors in the NBA, as assistant coach to former BBL coach, Nick Nurse.
Flournoy’s assistant in Newcastle, Ian MacLeod, has taken over leading the Eagles.
MacLeod has the position on an interim basis, and has kept faith with a core of the team, led by MVP point guard Rahmon Fletcher, experienced forward Darius Defoe, naturalised guard Andrew Lasker, Canadian shooter Kai Williams and young guards Eddie Matthews and Themba Yabantu.
They are joined by newcomers, forward Mike Morsell, shooting guard Nick Schlitzer, and French forward Sade Aded Hussein. Centre John Mitchell lasted just over 2 months and was replaced by the former Cheshire 7 footer, C J Gettys, who had a spell in China, and point guard Rod Glasgow, who finally had his British status confirmed after sitting out most of the season, although he did play against Riders in early October.
The Eagles had a fast start to the season, but then cooled, and they were knocked out of the BBL Cup at the quarter-final stage by Worcester. They are through to the semi-finals of the BBL Trophy where they will play Cheshire, after knocking out Sheffield in the quarter-finals.
Last weekend they had a huge home win over London Lions 108-97, and built a solid first leg lead in the semi-final of the BBL Trophy at Cheshire. Their three defeats in the Championship were to Sheffield, Cheshire and Worcester.
The teams spilt a pair of games in the Cup, the Eagles winning 94-86 in Leicester, and Riders 76-69 in Newcastle.
Riders have won the last three games over Worcester, London and Surrey.
Players to Watch
Centre C J Gettys has been hugely influential since he joined the Eagles midway through the season. The 7 footer scored 30 points and pulled down 9 rebounds and dished out 6 assists in their win last weekend over London, shooting an extraordinary 86% from the floor.
Riders centre Darien Nelson Henry will have his hands full trying to keep Gettys off the boards, but he impressed in the win over Surrey last weekend, finishing with 15 points and 3 assists, while shooting 63% from the floor.
Tickets are still available for Friday, CLICK HERE to purchase yours!