The Newcastle Eagles have swooped to sign 6'8" PF Kareem Maddox (202-F/C-89, college: Princeton) for the 20012/13 BBL campaign as they prepare to defend all four domestic titles they won last season.
Maddox, a graduate of Ivy League Princeton University, impressed the Newcastle coaching staff at the Basketball Days Tournament in Zwolle, Holland during the Christmas and New Year holiday putting himself on the radar for the future with his high-energy, athletic performances.
With Andy Thomson leaving for France and La Rochelle there was a gap to fill and Head Coach Fabulous Flournoy and Assistant Dave Forrester felt the former Zwolle forward was just the man to step in to Thomson's shoes and fill the gap.
Kareem himself cant wait to get started and gave an exclusive interview to Eurobasket.
"I'm really excited to get out to Newcastle. I've heard a lot of great things about the city and the people, and I played against Newcastle when I was at Zwolle last year, so I know the team is run well."
"I liked Newcastle because of the success that they have had, and after speaking to Fab over the phone I felt comfortable knowing that I would be heading into a good situation."
"I have family outside of London, which was another factor that played into my decision. My mother is half British, so I had a feeling that I would make my way to the UK at some point."
How do you feel signing for such a successful franchise where the levels of expectation are so great?
"Newcastle's success is both daunting and impressive. There are definitely going to be some high expectations in the upcoming year, but that means the target will be on our back so to speak but the pressure to prepare and perform should be a good thing."
What do you think you can bring to The Eagles with your playing style?
"I always try to bring defensive intensity and energy, and provide a spark however I can. My goals are of course to continue to success that Newcastle has had, and to improve as a player as much as possible. I know that Newcastle prides itself on defence as well, which is great for me because I know that I can provide in that area."
Last season was your first as a Professional, how did you get on in Zwolle and how do you think Holland will compare with The BBL in England?
"I had a great experience in Holland last year, although I got hurt midway through the year."
"The BBL has more teams, which is an aspect I like a lot. I can't say how the experiences will compare, but it's a new year with new people so I'm excited for it. I was impressed with Newcastle at Basketball Days, we definitely left with the impression that it was a great organization with good teammates that enjoyed playing together."
"Playing a team like that is always fun."
You had a great career at Princeton and were All-Ivy League 1st Team as well as Defensive Player of the Year in your senior year. What was your college experience like?
"Princeton was great to attend. I chose to go there because of the rich basketball tradition, along with the academics. At first it was tough because we didn't do very well my freshman year basketball-wise, and the school work was non-stop."
"After I got adjusted and learned some crucial time management habits it got a lot easier. We improved every year, and the overall experience got much better. The four years flew by but I wouldn't change anything about them."
"The basketball was intense. There are only 8 teams in the Ivy League, and the winner of the league goes to the NCAA tournament. Each game within our conference was a major battle because everyone knows everyone else really well, so our championship senior year was unbelievably gratifying after all of the work we had put in."
"Princeton was challenging on all fronts but like I said I wouldn't change anything about the experience."
With the signing of Damon Huffman (186-G-85) as well as Maddox The Eagles now have two Ivy League Graduates in their midst so its fair to say they should have a smart team next season on and off court.
Maddox certainly seems to have the hunger, desire and attitude to do well in England and certainly doesnt appear afraid of hard work. Bringing a defensive specialist in to a roster and team that prides itself on those principles seems a good move.
Time will tell but it certainly looks like and exciting and promising signing for The Eagles.
Surrey Scorchers (BBL) strengthened their roster with addition of 23-year old American forward Gabe McCray (201-91kg-94, college: South Carolina State). He supposed to play at SC Rasta Vechta in German BBL league. McCray played in the final of MEAC Tournament. He received All-MDJUCO 1st Team award back in 2014 at his college time. McCray graduated from South Carolina State in 2016 and it is his first season in pro basketball. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List... [read more]
Surrey Scorchers (BBL) strengthened their roster with addition of 23-year old American forward Gabe McCray (201-91kg-94, college: South Carolina State). He supposed to play at SC Rasta Vechta in German BBL league. McCray played in the final of MEAC Tournament. He received All-MDJUCO 1st Team award back in 2014 at his college time. McCray graduated from South Carolina State in 2016 and it is his first season in pro basketball.
Esh Group Eagles claimed their third consecutive BBL Cup title after defeating Glasgow Rocks 91-83 in front of a large crowd at the Barclaycard Arena. Rahmon Fletcher (177-PG-88, college: Green Bay) netted 29 points and dished out six assists to claim his third successive MVP award with Deondre Parks adding 25 points. The Eagles led by as many as 23 points in the contest and held off a valiant late run from Glasgow to secure another BBL piece of silverware. Neil Watson made a hot start... [read more]
Esh Group Eagles claimed their third consecutive BBL Cup title after defeating Glasgow Rocks 91-83 in front of a large crowd at the Barclaycard Arena.
Rahmon Fletcher (177-PG-88, college: Green Bay) netted 29 points and dished out six assists to claim his third successive MVP award with Deondre Parks adding 25 points.
The Eagles led by as many as 23 points in the contest and held off a valiant late run from Glasgow to secure another BBL piece of silverware.
Neil Watson made a hot start with two triples in a 10-0 start before Fletcher got the Eagles going with seven points to close within a point.
Another triple from Watson followed as the duel continued with both players up to nine points by the end of the first with the Rocks up by one.
The Eagles went on 13-1 run as Fletcher moved to 15 points to help the Eagles open up a nine-point gap.
The advantage doubled as Newcastle closed the half with a 10-0 run including a corner three from Drew Lasker and a pull-up triple from Deondre Parks before the buzzer.
Gareth Murray netted back-to-back 3-pointers early in the third, but the Eagles went on another run to further increase their lead with Scott Martin making it a 20-point game.
Parks ended the third with another triple to make it 72-49 with the Eagles already seemingly out of reach.
However, the Rocks did not give up and mounted a determined late surge with Watson moving to 28 points as the gap was cut to just seven points in the final minute.
The damage had been done and Newcastle were able to celebrate a historic success.
Fab Flournoy equalled a BBL Cup Final record by finishing with five steals in the win to tie Tony Holley's 2005 record.
There were two crucial games in the BBL on Saturday night, with significant wins for Surrey Scorchers and Bristol Flyers. Scorchers made it into the BBL Trophy quarter-finals after winning with a buzzer-beater for the second night in a row. Tayo Ogedengbe(198-F-87) hit 20 points to lead Scorchers in an 88-87 defeat of London Lions at the Copper Box Arena, but it was Will Neighbour who provided the heroics with a tip-in to win the game with one second remaining. Meanwhile, in the BBL Cha... [read more]
There were two crucial games in the BBL on Saturday night, with significant wins for Surrey Scorchers and Bristol Flyers.
Scorchers made it into the BBL Trophy quarter-finals after winning with a buzzer-beater for the second night in a row. Tayo Ogedengbe (198-F-87) hit 20 points to lead Scorchers in an 88-87 defeat of London Lions at the Copper Box Arena, but it was Will Neighbour who provided the heroics with a tip-in to win the game with one second remaining.
Meanwhile, in the BBL Championship, Aaron Cosby's 26 points led Flyers to an 81-73 victory over Worcester Wolves. It means Flyers leapfrog Wolves into the Play-Off places and, crucially, they now hold the head-to-head over their rivals after making it six consecutive wins.
BBL Trophy, First Round London Lions 87 (25,47,57) (Niktash 28, Hassan 24, Williams 16) Surrey Scorchers 88 (18,39,63) (Ogedengbe 20, Margai 15, Popoola 15)
Surrey Scorchers have completed the BBL Trophy quarter-final line-up after winning with a buzzer-beater for the second night in a row, 88-87 against rivals London Lions at the Copper Box Arena. It is a third win in four games for the Scorchers, after Albert Margai's last gasp three-pointer against Manchester Giants in the league on Friday.
And three-pointers proved to be decisive in this game too, after Lions had established a double-digit first half lead at 40-28 when Joe Ikhinmwin was fouled scoring a triple, and Kai Williams added another for the hosts.
But Tayo Ogedengbe - who led the Scorchers with 20 points and 6 rebounds - provided a clue as to what would come when his three-pointer narrowed the deficit just before the half.
Scorchers dominated the third quarter, taking their first lead of the game on Quincy Taylor's reverse lay-up in a run of 17 unanswered points, Ogedengbe adding another five, to go up 56-51.
And that was followed by a three-point barrage to start the fourth quarter. Scorchers took their largest lead when Lekan Popoola, Margai and Taylor all connected to make the score 69-60. Navid Niktash - who led all scorers with 28 points - hit two of his own to keep the hosts close, and the first 15 points of the quarter had come from beyond the arc.
Scorchers looked to have won the game when Popoola and Will Neighbour added two more treys in the space of 17 seconds. But there was more late excitement to come. Niktash made another pair of quick triples and when Alex Owumi added another with 39 seconds to play, the Lions were back to within one at 86-85; before snatching the lead back soon after with a pair of Zaire Taylor free-throws with 20 seconds to play.
But Scorchers, fresh off the memory of the previous night, took the ball to the basket with Quincy Taylor, who teed up Neighbour for the tip in with one second to play. The teams shared 27 three-pointers in the game, including 12 in that final quarter, with Scorchers shooting 52%. Popoola hit 5/7 (71%) for Scorchers, and Williams scored 4/7 for Lions (57%).
Bristol Flyers made it six wins in a row with a decisive 81-73 defeat of the Worcester Wolves in an M5 derby that has developed into somewhat of a rivalry. The win means that Flyers leapfrog the Wolves into the Play-Off spots, sending their visitors down to ninth in the BBL Championship table; it also, crucially, means that Bristol have taken the head-to-head between the two teams.
And they set about their opponents early in this game and led throughout, after Leslee Smith scored ten first quarter points including six in an 11-4 opening. The score reached double-digits early in the second stanza as Aaron Cosby's three-pointer capped a 9-2 run for 31-19.
Wolves had their best spell with a response of 11 unanswered points, started by a Danny Huffor triple and including Marek Klassen twice getting out on the fast break as increased defensive intensity forced turnovers.
But Flyers halted any momentum with the final basket of the half, before Smith hit the first five points after the break to extend the lead back to 44-32; and it reached 55-38 when Hameed Ali and Cosby made consecutive 'and-one' plays.
The game look buried when the lead peaked at 66-47 as Cosby opened the fourth with a three-pointer, but the Flyers had to see off a late Worcester revival.
Another 11-0 run, including five for Andrew Bachman, initially trimmed the deficit to single figures, and they were back to 77-73 with just 42 seconds to play when Huffor scored a pair of three-pointers.
But Cosby and Greg Streete did enough to see the game out from the free-throw line. It is the first time in five meetings that Bristol have beaten Wolves on their home floor, and their current run started after a previous defeat to this opposition and includes another win against them.
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