From Benfield Schoolboy attending a Hoops for Health session to Assistant Coach to the Esh Group Eagles Newcastle Senior Team and England Under 18's Assistant Coach too, quite a journey for Coach Ian Macleod .
A young man that shows that The Newcastle Eagles Basketball Club is not all about success on the court and allowing young ballers to follow their dreams but also where careers can be carved out in other ways if the attitude and work ethic are right.
Ian Macleod is a shining example of what it means to be an integral part of the Eagles family and how if you have a dream and are prepared to work hard you can make it to the top. I caught up with him after The Eagles had beaten Bristol Flyers 108 - 94 at home last Friday.
We started by discussing the tough run Eagles have had since winning The BBL Cup back in January against Glasgow Rocks and how they've turned it around.
'No-one said we were going to be perfect this year. I think when you've had as much success as we've had previously one game dropped and there's a lot of knee-jerk reactions from ourselves as coaches, from players and from our fans.'
'But, it gave us a chance to re-focus, something to really key in on and we've made a lot of improvements since then and that's our key, to keep on improving. It gave us a bit of a wake-up call which sometimes you need and showed it's not about what happens in January it's about how you finish the season.'
After the bitter disappointment of defeat at Leicester in The BBL Trophy Quarter-Final meant it had been three losses in four games for Newcastle, a get together was called for with all players and coaching staff involved in a clear-the-air meeting.
'It wasn't a case of their being any problems or splits in the camp. It was about putting it all out there. Things like not having a fragmented approach with Coaches having one opinion and players another. It was just a chance to put everything on the table and a chance to air opinions for all.'
'It was a coming together so we can go forward together. We have some internal goal settings and targets we want to achieve and it was about every body having input to those targets so we could set them together.'
So what of Macleod's own role on The Eagles bench and how does he see it.
'I'm enjoying it very much. The first two years were really tough as I'd never really been an assistant coach before. I had to figure out how to be an assistant coach and then it's a whole new thing altogether being an assistant to a player/coach. It is a fragmented approach to how we do things.'
'I think just finding my voice a little more this season. It's a new team with new players and the chance for a fresh start this year is a good thing. But ultimately I don't want to be a career Assistant Coach.'
'I want to get back to having more input at the higher level and climb that ladder once again which Fab (Flournoy) knows. I don't hide that from Fab Things have changed a lot this year and I think its for the good.'
'I get a lot of respect from the guys but it goes both ways. They know that we don't just see them as tools to go out and play. When there are new guys coming in the dynamics change quite a bit but it's also about the character of what you bring in.'
'We have a good locker room Everyone in there is pulling in the same direction and that's also key to be able to have your roles and find your way to have your input in to the team.' Macleod was fulsome in his praise for Scott Martin's 41-point performance in a good win but he was also focused in on the way the rest of the guys recognised the hot hands and played around Martin to come up with a solid win. Now, he contemplates a two-week break.
'We have got the time off but all the players are different. Some need to rest up, some need to get healthy but also what's been great this year has been the chance to work with the guys individually.'
'To bring maybe one, two, three players in when needed and then work with them individually on what they need for their games. That's very refreshing and something we've been able to do a lot more this year, so that'll continue over the next two weeks.'
'Whatever each individual player needs or the team needs we have to make sure we cater for that and stay ready.'
We turned to his thoughts for the games and the rest of the season coming up.
'Everyone says that the league is the big one which it is but you also want to win your last game which is the play-offs too. It's a marathon it's not a quick sprint where you win a couple of games in a row and suddenly you're going to win the league.'
'It's about grinding it out especially when it gets to the February/March months. The weather's not great, it's dark, there's the long road trips. That's when you have to grind it out those ones too and not just that last game.'
Turning to International matters, Coach Macleod has recently been appointed Assistant Coach of the England Under 18s side, a tremendous honour for him and The Eagles Organisation.
'I've been an Assistant Coach with the England Under 15s programme for five years now. I was very privileged to work with an excellent coach in Jessie Sazant a Canadian who now runs a growing English Basketball programme in Kent.'
'But now I've been moved up to Under 18s with Alan Keane who is an extremely well-read interesting Coach who has a very interesting take on basketball and different philosophies which I'm looking forward to working with.'
'It's a little bit easier being an assistant coach in the England set-up. Your role's very clearly defined and you're not going to get a Player/Coach in Under 18s England level.'
'I'm looking forward to the challenge and hopefully also being involved with The Great Britain set-up in The European Championships as well. It's another step up the ladder and another step forward.'
'The plan is for success moving forward. It's a little bit different now with the Home Nations that are coming together to compete as GB but developing the English talent at this age group and moving it forward is the key responsibility and it's a very exciting opportunity for me.'
None of this of course would have been possible without Newcastle Eagles Basketball Club and The Eagles Community Foundation a fact Macleod is happy to acknowledge.
'The Club have been fantastic particularly in the last few years and in particular Deirdre Tozer-Hayes, Susan Hunter and Paul Blake who have been really supportive of me in helping my find the time and also being flexible with my time at The Eagles to help with National teams.'
'they've also helped me enormously in my new role at The Club as mentoring and Performance Officer which gives me a chance to work with younger coaches and really focus on our performance pathway.'
'Whilst it's great working out Internationally and with England you can't forget about home. In Newcastle and the North East we've come a long way but there are still massive improvements to make within The Eagles Community Foundation and National League set-up as well.'
'The target is to improve the standard of that and hopefully a by-product of that is The North East getting better and a by-product of that will be England getting better so it's all connected. The support of The ECF and Club has been invaluable to me so far and hopefully will continue.'
'Where Fab is but not on the court! What I've done is no different to what players do. You don't need to be the best player in the world to make it you need to be determined. My wife would definitely say I've committed some time to this.'
'I'm pretty much unseen by my family and friends from September to May. You have to live it, you have to be dedicated to it and I think on all fronts that's what I've done. I'm proud of the fact that I've come through from those days as a Benfield schoolboy to coaching the senior side.'
And proud is what Ian Andrew Macleod should be with his achievements, how far he's come and the fact that he's focused on going even further. One thing we didn't mention is that he's also Head Coach of Gateshead College Basketball Academy.
They play in the Academy Basketball League and his charges currently sit with a 10 - 1 league record showing once again that this is a young man that has the presence and ability to go far in his chosen sport.
Manchester drop curtain on Senior Playoff Finals with D1M win - 3 hours ago
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Manchester retained their D1M Playoff title after a comfortable 73-53 win over Loughborough. A poor 2nd quarter where the Riders fell behind and shot just 2/15 from the floor proved too much to overcome against a well drilled and talented Magic side. Unable to call upon the injured Josh Ward-Hibbert, Loughborough struggled to find answers on offence for the duration. With the game meandering through the 2nd half, an altercation between Lee Goldsborough and Jonas Dieterich during a loose b... [read more]
Manchester retained their D1M Playoff title after a comfortable 73-53 win over Loughborough. A poor 2nd quarter where the Riders fell behind and shot just 2/15 from the floor proved too much to overcome against a well drilled and talented Magic side. Unable to call upon the injured Josh Ward-Hibbert, Loughborough struggled to find answers on offence for the duration. With the game meandering through the 2nd half, an altercation between Lee Goldsborough and Jonas Dieterich during a loose ball play led to unsportsmanlike fouls for both players and a disqualification for Magic's Stefan Gill (173-PG-83) after he was involved in the aftermath. That was as exciting as things got in a 2nd half that never really threatened a comeback from Loughborough. Duane Morgan (198-F-93, college: Adelphi) treated the vocal Manchester crowd to some spectacular plays, including a number of dunks and an alley-oop for good measure. He was awarded the game's MVP trophy after his stat line of 20 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists. Morgan started his MVP afternoon off well and picked up a team high 5 points in the opening 10 minutes. More importantly captain Jack Minister, guard Kayin Darbey (183-PG-94) and Lee Goldsborough all settled into the game with early points as Manchester moved out to a 22-16 1st quarter lead. Loughborough's athletic guard Reiss Pinnock offered some resistance but it wasn't the start the Riders were looking for as the initiative was with their opponents heading into the 2nd. With the largely Manchester based crowd fully into the game and behind the team in the lead, Loughborough crumbled in the 2nd. With only Pinnock and Levi Noel (197-G-91, college: E.Illinois) troubling the scorers, it was a crippling 10 minutes for Loughborough's chances of success as practically everything they attempted failed to connect. With a young roster, confidence was quickly dented and the D1M 5th seeds never really recovered. A 21 point Manchester lead at the half meant the game was firmly in the hands of the reigning playoff champions. The main talking point of the 2nd half occurred midway through the 3rd period and led to Stefan Gill leaving the court much earlier than expected. With Duane Morgan grabbing an offensive rebound, he went to put the ball back before being forced into a miss by a Lucien Christofis foul. Grabbing the rebound as the whistle sounded, both Goldsbrough and Dieterich went about the act with a bit too much effort for the others' liking. That led to a shove from the Manchester man and a chest bump from the Riders' captain. Taking exception to Dieterich's actions, Gill became involved in the melee with a shove that earned him a DQ. Aside from that flash point, the 3rd period played out with little of note. Loughborough sought a way back into the game that was frequently denied by the continued scoring of Manchester and their own errors on offence. Even when the Riders were presented with opportunities from the free throw line, they faltered there to and recorded a 39% success rate from the charity stripe in the game. The final quarter provided Manchester Coach Paul Middleton with a real luxury as he was able to provide his bench with some useful minutes in a showpiece game. Cian Hickey, Tyme Regent-Bascombe and Yannick Onifade (201-C/F) all saw their first action of the contest during the final 10 minutes and Kaiyem Cleary (196-G-99) was provided with an extended opportunity to showcase his talented. To their credit, Loughborough continued to fight but the difference in score didn't deviate far from the 20-point mark before the final buzzer sounded. Courtesy of: basketballengland.co.uk
The BBL Championship regular season came to a close with an action-packed Sunday with Bristol Flyers sealing the final spot in the Play-Offs. Andreas Kapoulas and his side defeated Surrey Scorchers 71-79 behind a double-double from Hameed Ali as both sides edged out Plymouth Raiders, who saw their season end with a 99-93 loss at Manchester Giants. Leicester Riders were beaten 77-80 at home to Worcester Wolves, while Esh Group Eagles Newcastle edged out DBL Sharks Sheffield for an 82-84... [read more]
The BBL Championship regular season came to a close with an action-packed Sunday with Bristol Flyers sealing the final spot in the Play-Offs.
Andreas Kapoulas and his side defeated Surrey Scorchers 71-79 behind a double-double from Hameed Ali as both sides edged out Plymouth Raiders, who saw their season end with a 99-93 loss at Manchester Giants.
Leicester Riders were beaten 77-80 at home to Worcester Wolves, while Esh Group Eagles Newcastle edged out DBL Sharks Sheffield for an 82-84 victory on the road.
Also, Glasgow Rocks came from 20 down to beat London Lions 80-77 with Cheshire Phoenix storming to a 128-77 success over Leeds Force with Mike DiNunno pouring in 34 points.
2017 BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals
Riders (1) v Scorchers (8) Eagles (2) v Flyers (7) Rocks (3) v Lions (6) Sharks (4) v Wolves (5)
All ties will be played over two legs starting next weekend, with exact dates and tip-off times to be confirmed on Monday 24 April. BBL Championship Surrey Scorchers 71 (19,36,50) (McCray 18, Williams 12, Ogedengbe 11) Bristol Flyers 79 (23,36,52) (Ali 19, Smith 16, Cosby/Boggs 13)
Bristol Flyers secured their place in the BBL Play-Offs after beating Surrey Scorchers 71-79 on the road to finish seventh.
Andreas Kapoulas ' side knew that a double-winning weekend would be enough to make the post-season and did exactly that as they followed up a win against Manchester Giants.
The Scorchers had cemented their own spot with a win against Plymouth Raiders on Saturday, and were playing for a higher-placed finish.
Hameed Ali posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 assists, while three other players reached double figures in the win.
The Flyers managed to push ahead by four at the end of the first after an even start, but the game was level at 36 heading into half-time.
The lead changed hands throughout the third quarter with Bristol edging into a two-point lead before quickly opening up a 54-62 advantage in the fourth.
Surrey provided another twist as they closed to within a single point on three occasions late in the game, but Ali closed out the win with a decisive 7-0 run.
Bristol will now face Newcastle in the Play-Offs Quarter-Finals having recovered from a 1-11 start to make the post-season, while Surrey take on league champions, Leicester BBL Championship Leicester Riders 77 (26,47,60) (Bernardini 19, Thomson 16, King 11) Worcester Wolves 80 (21,36,52) (Khan 17, Zeigler 15, Navajas 14)
Worcester Wolves made a return to winning ways as they held on to hand Leicester Riders a first home defeat since December with a 77-80 victory.
Ashton Khan top scored with a 17-point haul having hit a huge triple heading into the final minute with Wolves also welcoming back Maurice Walker to action on court.
The Riders led 20-9 early on before the Wolves cut the gap with a strong finish to the first, though the hosts restored their 11-point lead at the half.
A 16-0 start to the second half saw Worcester take the lead before the Riders responded with 13 straight to end the third up eight. The visitors poured in 28 points in the fourth to power to victory as they finish with 20 league wins.
Tyler Bernardini had a game-high 19 points for the Riders as they drop three of their last four having already secured the league title. BBL Championship DBL Sharks Sheffield 82 (19,42,60) (Rembert 16, Riley 15, Davis 13) Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 84 (27,37,66) (Fletcher 28, Martin 15, Behrens/Hart 8)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle closed out their regular season camapign with an 82-84 victory on the road against DBL Sharks Sheffield.
Rahmon Fletcher netted a game-high 28 points as the Eagles followed up Friday's win over Leicester Riders to finish 23-10 on the season.
Scott Martin opened with back-to-back triples in an early 13-0 run from the Eagles before the home side responded to cut the gap and took the lead in the second on an 11-2 run.
The Sharks led by as many as nine points at 53-44 before Fletcher scored 13 points in a pivotal 20-0 reply from Newcastle as they surged into an 11-point lead.
A 5-0 close reduced the deficit and after falling 10 behind once more, the Sharks hit back with a 9-2 run to set up an exciting finish. Rashawn Rembert made it 80-79 in the final minute before Drew Lasker fired Newcastle back ahead from downtown before his free throw sealed the win.
Rembert had 16 points in the loss with Jordan Davis adding 13 points and 10 assists as the Sharks finish in fourth with a 20-13 record behind Glasgow. BBL Championship Glasgow Rocks 80 (16,37,54) (Lescault 19, Achara 17, Bunyan/Watson 15) London Lions 77 (25,49,68) (Hassan 19, Owumi 15, Taylor/Niktash 14)
Glasgow Rocks came from as many as 20 points down to beat London Lions 80-77 for a dramatic final day victory.
The Rocks were 48-68 behind with less than two minutes to go in the third, but battled back with a 26-9 final period to take the win with third place secured earlier in the day.
Glasgow still trailed by 14 heading into the fourth and sealed the win with a 15-2 close in the final six minutes with a couple of huge triples from Jonny Bunyan.
Hayden Lescault top scored with 19 points, while Kieron Achara added 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting as well as eight rebounds, four assists and five blocks i the win.
The Lions looked set to finish with two wins on the weekend before their opponents' stunning rally and the two teams will meet again next week in the Quarter-Finals of the Play-Offs.
BBL Championship Manchester Giants 99 (26,49,75) (Jones 26, Williams 25, Bell/Okoro 13) Plymouth Raiders 93 (28,55,80) (Dixon 29, Corletto 26, Nicholas 14)
Manchester Giants finished a difficult season with a flourish as they claimed a 99-93 victory over Plymouth Raiders.
The Raiders needed a win coupled with a loss for Bristol Flyers to make the post-season, but their campaign ends with double disappointment.
Callum Jones starred with 26 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, while player-coach Yorick Williams fired in seven triples in a 25-point haul.
Plymouth jumped out to a 2-13 start and that would be their largest lead of the game as the Giants battled back and eventually took the lead with a 7-0 start to the fourth.
Cory Dixon had 29 points in vain for the Raiders with Daryl Corletto adding 26 as they finish with a 14-19 record.
BBL Championship Cheshire Phoenix 128 (39,76,101) (DiNunno 34, Brown 26, Allen-Jordan 16) Leeds Force 77 (12,40,59) (Marsden 30, Sanders 20, Matthew 10)
Cheshire Phoenix ended their 2016-17 BBL campaign in style after recording an emphatic 128-77 success against Leeds Force.
Mike DiNunno poured in 34 points in just 22 minutes, while Earl Brown recorded a double-double with 26 points and 14 rebounds, missing just two shots from the field.
Cheshire scored 39 points in a dominant first quarter and had a commanding 76-40 advantage at the half as they powered their way to a 51-point win.
The visitors were without two starters in Rob Sandoval and Jack Isenbarger as they suffered a heavy defeat to end their campaign.
Rob Marsden led Force with 30 points and 11 rebounds as they finish the season with eight wins to their name, with Cheshire one place ahead in 10th with an 11-22 record.
The final day of the 2016-17 BBL Regular Season on Sunday has seen the line-up for the forthcoming BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals confirmed. 2017 BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals Riders (1) v Scorchers (8) Eagles (2) v Flyers (7) Rocks (3) v Lions (6) Sharks (4) v Wolves (5) All ties will be played over two legs starting next weekend, with exact dates and tip-off times to be confirmed on Monday 24 April. The last two teams standing after the Quarter-Finals and subsequent Semi-Finals, will adv... [read more]
The final day of the 2016-17 BBL Regular Season on Sunday has seen the line-up for the forthcoming BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals confirmed.
2017 BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals
Riders (1) v Scorchers (8) Eagles (2) v Flyers (7) Rocks (3) v Lions (6) Sharks (4) v Wolves (5)
All ties will be played over two legs starting next weekend, with exact dates and tip-off times to be confirmed on Monday 24 April.
The last two teams standing after the Quarter-Finals and subsequent Semi-Finals, will advance to The 02 in London on Sunday 14 May for the 2017 British Basketball Play-Off Finals, where a record-breaking crowd is being anticipated.
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