NEWCASTLE Eagles will be looking for their 12th win in 13 matches this season at home to Manchester Giants tonight – yet it is their inconsistency which is frustrating coach Fabulous Flournoy.
While results have put the Eagles in their customary early-season position among the British Basketball League’s chasing pack, the New Yorker is alarmed his side have been blowing so hot and cold within matches.
On the face of it, a new team have adapted well to their notoriously demanding player-coach, and his defensive style.
But it would do Flournoy’s reputation no good at all if he were willing to settle for anything but perfection.
“In all honesty we have good weeks and bad weeks,” said the 38-year-old playcaller. “That’s the sign of a young team and a new team.
“There’s times when we’re the finished product and times when we’re not even close.
“That’s the part that’s a struggle. It’s trying to get that consistency right, especially among the younger players.
“The results have been consistent but we have had some diabolical third quarters.
“The whole Leicester game in itself was inconsistent, but we allowed Manchester, Glasgow Rocks and Milton Keynes to come back to us.
“We’re playing some pretty good basketball, and great at times, but we have big spells of inconsistency. Most teams know they will have a chance at the end. That’s a very dangerous thing for any team. We’re supposed to be winning games late on. You lose confidence and momentum at the end of a game when you’re supposed to be executing at your maximum.”
Damon Huffman and Kareem Maddox are among the new faces at Sport Central this season, and both were named in the BBL’s team of the week last week. It suggests things are starting to gel, but Flournoy is refusing to jump to conclusions.
“It’s too early in the season, this team hasn’t won anything,” he said. “It has some way to go. We still have an identity crisis.
“We’ve only been playing one game a week and other than the Leicester game we haven’t had any ‘silverware’ games where we’ve had to perform.
“It’s coming up to December and January where the season’s going to be more active anyway.
“We’re still there or thereabouts in the league and still have the (BBL) Trophy, the Cup and the Play-Offs to play for.”
Finding their feet they may be, but the Eagles are joint top of the table with Leicester Riders – the only team to beat them this season – and last week booked a BBL Cup semi-final against Plymouth Raiders.
Flournoy thinks the trio will be this season’s main challengers as the Eagles defend their 2012 clean sweep.
“Plymouth is just going to be almost like it was with Leicester,” he argued.
“It’s another game between top teams battling it out for silverware.
“You’re going to have to get through Leicester and Plymouth to win anything this season.”