The Newcastle Eagles new point guard Damon Huffman (186-G-85) has a real challenge on his hands to come in and run a team that won all four domestic trophies last season in an amazing clean swoop.
However speaking with Eurobasket he appears to be fully up to that challenge and is well aware of the expectations on himself and his team. His level-headed and educated attitude seems to be a perfect fit for The Eagles.
How excited are you about coming to Newcastle and playing for The Eagles?
I think that the opportunity to play basketball in Newcastle for an organization like the Eagles is going to be a great experience. That being said, I am very excited to get started.
What attracted you to them?
Newcastle offers an organization of success and an opportunity to play against new competition, in a new country and a new league. All of which are very exciting as a basketball player and for myself.
Did coming to England play a part in your decision?
This will be my first time in England and the UK but I always find new places and cultures fascinating so I will definitely be looking forward to it.
The Eagles won all four domestic trophies last season, does that make it a daunting prospect joining such a successful organisation?
I believe that when you join a club and an organization that is as successful as Newcastle it helps bring out the best qualities in yourself. I personally have very high expectations and I think I will help compliment the team on its new journey this upcoming season.
What do you think you can bring to the Club on and off the court?
As a player I consider myself to be a tough hard-nosed, team-first guard. I am looking forward to playing with the team because my style is very complimentary. In the end I care about winning and the team, and I think of myself as someone who will do what it takes to do those things.
Being off the court, to me, is being a representative and extension of the club. I believe that being a positive role model is extremely important to the next generation of basketball players. Being involved in the community and adapting to the local culture are also very important and interesting.
What goals are you setting yourself for the season?
I think as a player you always have to have the highest personal goals, otherwise you are selling yourself short. Winning games is my priority and if you do that, then all the personal goals you set will fall into place.
Do you think the BBL matches up with the experience you've had in Belgium and Holland?
I cant yet compare the similarities, but I am looking forward to playing in the BBL.
What was it like playing in Belgium and Holland?
Belgium and Holland were very physical and defense orientated leagues. They both had quality teams with quality players. Playing there was great for experience, both for international competition and styles of play.
What was your impression of The Eagles in the Basketball Days Tournament last December?
When we played the Eagles, I remember smart, hard nosed, big shot making basketball. Even though my team came away with the win, the Eagles were tough competition.
Zwolle won the tournament and you won the MVP award, what was that like?
Winning the tournament and the MVP was a great experience and it was a lot of fun. Playing against teams outside your league is always good for perspective on where your team stands. It was also important for our team because we could take some of that confidence into league play.
Brown University? A very famous and important academic University in America, what was it like to attend?
Brown University was a one of the best experiences I have ever had in my life. It was challenging, and demanding because of the balance of sports and academics. They hold their academic and athletic expectations very high but allow you to make your own path of success. I attribute a lot of where I am today, to my experience at Brown and I would recommend anyone to attend if they could.
How did the basketball match-up in the Ivy League at Brown?
I believe the Ivy League, is a very underrated basketball conference. There is a lot of history, with Penn and Princeton, but hopefully schools like Brown, Harvard, and Cornell can continue to make a name for themselves against the bigger names in the NCAA.
You graduated from Brown with an excellent academic record, how do you think that will help you in the future and/or in your basketball career?
I think the ability to prepare and understand workloads is important in basketball. Over the course of a nine-month season you need to be able to manage your body, practice and game preparation. Hopefully my experience from Brown will continue to help me continually prepare for these things as well as whatever life brings after basketball.
Anything else you'd like to add?
See all of you in Newcastle soon!
It certainly appears from speaking with Huffman that he is aware of what is expected of him and he appears to have the confidence, commitment and belief that he can deliver what is required.
BK Lions Jindrichuv Hradec (NBL) tabbed British center Chris Tawiah (208-F). He just graduated from Wiley (NAIA). He recorded 7.3ppg, 9.3rpg, with FGP: 42.7% on 16 games. He had also impressive FT percentage at 80.0%. He can count that season as a very successful as was selected to All-RRAC Honorable Mention. As mentioned above he is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Czech Republic [read more]
BK Lions Jindrichuv Hradec (NBL) tabbed British center Chris Tawiah (208-F). He just graduated from Wiley (NAIA). He recorded 7.3ppg, 9.3rpg, with FGP: 42.7% on 16 games. He had also impressive FT percentage at 80.0%. He can count that season as a very successful as was selected to All-RRAC Honorable Mention. As mentioned above he is just out of the college and it will be his first season in pro basketball.
Colin O'Reilly (ex UCC Demons) takes over Cheshire Phoenix - 2 days ago
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Cheshire Phoenix (BBL) agreed terms with 32-year old Irish coach Colin O'Reilly. He has coached for the last three seasons at UCC Demons in Irish Premier League. He helped them to win the league title. Quite impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Irish Premier League Coach of the Year. O'Reilly has been coaching Irish Senior National Team between 2015 and 2016 and coached also U18 National Team last year. By Eurobasket Data Center Check also Complete Transfers List in Unit... [read more]
Cheshire Phoenix (BBL) agreed terms with 32-year old Irish coach Colin O'Reilly. He has coached for the last three seasons at UCC Demons in Irish Premier League. He helped them to win the league title. Quite impressive season as he was voted Eurobasket.com All-Irish Premier League Coach of the Year. O'Reilly has been coaching Irish Senior National Team between 2015 and 2016 and coached also U18 National Team last year.
Ex-Plymouth Raiders Head Coach Gavin Love has landed a great opportunity in Luxembourg for the coming season having been appointed Head Coach at AB Contern. Love who coached The Raiders for three seasons in The BBL after nine years as a player is looking forward to the challenge. 'Last year I was coaching in Munich as Head Coach of the new DBA academy. It was a new project that I was helping to get off the ground and I was over there a number of times to recruit and run the camps.' 'It... [read more]
Ex-Plymouth Raiders Head Coach Gavin Love has landed a great opportunity in Luxembourg for the coming season having been appointed Head Coach at AB Contern. Love who coached The Raiders for three seasons in The BBL after nine years as a player is looking forward to the challenge.
'Last year I was coaching in Munich as Head Coach of the new DBA academy. It was a new project that I was helping to get off the ground and I was over there a number of times to recruit and run the camps.'
'It was a great place and the people were good to me but unfortunately the project had been delayed so I had to look for opportunities elsewhere. My agent contacted me and I spoke with the GM of Contern who was very professional and we had the deal completed quickly.'
Contern's Vice President, Francis Rollinger talked about what Love can bring to his Club and what they are hoping to achieve.
'We called Gavin Love to come to Luxembourg to follow our goals and to built a young strong team for the future, furthermore Gavin is responsible for the Espoir (U21) and Cadets (U18) teams to bring up as much players as possible into the men team and to make our players better every day.'
'AB Contern is one of the biggest basketball and sports club in Luxembourg, the men team won 4 championships and 3 cups, and the team is playing since 20 years in the first division, the Total League.'
'AB Contern is known for good youth players, and we looking forward to rebuilt another good team for the future. Our goals are to include young players from the club helping the men team to be again one of the best clubs in Luxembourg.'
'Contern is a small village with 1500 habitants, 450 of which who are involved in the club, coming from 15 different communes and 40 villages. Contern has the nicest gym in the country, is a very popular and traditional club, who is investing in the men and women team as well, followed by a big youth department.'
Clearly Love is going in to a situation where a lot is expected of him and the goals are high. But that will not faze a coach who's willing to take risks and has already had a successful and experience coaching in Europe with Denmark's Copenhagen Wolfpack.
' knew some players that had played in the Total League before and had good things to say about the level of the league, Contern and the country itself.'
'I will be arriving in Luxembourg early August for a six week pre-season, I have seen the facilities and they are very impressive, I believe Contern have the biggest arena in the league which holds around 2500 spectators. Contern has great support from the local community and sponsors together with having an outstanding reputation.'
Love himself has a pretty good reputation and is highly thought of as a coach. His previous GM at Copenhagen Tommy Nielsen had this to say about him.
'Gavin Love is a Players Coach, his mindset is set on winning by every means and that sets a impacts on players being poised for every game. His playing style is offensive minded and very spectator friendly.'
'He is well in communicating and appearance and goes well with sponsors and media. He fits an organization who is settle to win Championships . His flair for recruitment, quality network and roster arrangement can be used with success.'
Nice words and a good assessment of what Love hopes to bring to AB Contern and he advises that recruitment has already begun.
'A majority of the team has returned from last year which will give us a good level of continuity. We have signed Dylan Talley (196-G-89, college: Nebraska, agency: Octagon Europe) who has played in both the German BBL and Pro A. Dylan is a versatile guard who will to be a good addition to the team.'
'We also have a number of young players in the squad who will be looking to take that step to the next level. We are looking for a forward who will be the final import player to complete the roster.'
One of the obvious things that Love will do is look at the differences between The Total league and The BBL back in the UK although it's not something that he's in a position to judge just yet.
'I wouldn't be able to make any comparison to any league until the season begins. The first obvious thing that stands out is there are less import players and Bosmans than the BBL. The second is the genuine passion for developing the young talent which can only be a good thing for Luxembourg basketball.'
'My goals for the season is to enhance the team in all areas whilst maximising the potential of every player on the roster together with reaching the top six and the play-offs.'
It's going to be an interesting year for AB Contern and Gavin Love but one which should be an exciting one and an educational one for both parties. Certainly for Love it's another step forward and addition to an ever growing career CV.
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