NEWCASTLE Eagles stalwart Charles Smith is still learning despite being one of the BBL’s most revered players.
The Eagles co-captain recently passed the 5,000 Championship point mark, and in doing so became only the 17th player in BBL history to accomplish such a feat.
But Smith says he is more concerned with winning games than statistics, which will be crucial this weekend as they have two games in as many days.
“I don’t really pay any attention to the statistics, I just want to go out there and win games,” said the 37-year-old.
“We as a team look to win every game, and it is the mentality of the club to go into each game looking to come away with a win.
“I don’t feel my role has changed too much, I’m just trying to be more vocal and be a leader to the guys.
“We know teams may look to pay attention to the likes of myself and Joe (Chapman), so some games I’ll be a scorer, and others I’ll help the other guys.”
Newcastle face Worcester Wolves tonight and then go to Plymouth tomorrow.
The game against Plymouth Raiders will be the Eagles’ third in two weeks – following the thrilling BBL Cup semi-final last week.
Newcastle edged the game over two legs, but it took overtime for them to get the job done, as they blew a 17-point first leg lead at home.
“It was a kind of weird feeling after that game,” said last year’s Cup MVP.
“We knew we hadn’t played very well and had lost the game on the night, but we’d got through over the two legs.
“And that was what it was about – making sure we got through.
“We haven’t really spoken about doing another clean sweep, it’s just about taking a game at a time, and we know we didn’t play well against Plymouth, but we are still in the Cup and so we have a chance of more silverware.”
Newcastle have one of the older teams in the league and so preparation ahead of the long weekends is crucial to ensure they get the best out of their team.
Smith says training takes a slightly different turn ahead of big weekends: “We don’t usually go too hard in training during the week when we have two game sat the weekend.
“It’s more about the technical side than the physical one, so video analysis is really helpful, especially for the younger players.
“The younger guys get to see how teams play, but also how they play themselves which is great for their development and for us as a team.
“We actually looked at the Plymouth game earlier in the week, but then focused on the game against Worcester towards the end of the week.
“It’s important we concentrate on the next game that comes, but by looking at the Plymouth game first, the guys then feel comfortable when we come back to analyse it.
“Worcester have got some new guys since we last played them earlier in the year, so it will be a completely different game.
“Both games will be completely different.
“We’ve played Plymouth a lot recently, but Cup games are completely different to league games so we can’t go into it with the same mentality.”
Newcastle go into this weekend’s games knowing that two wins will see them tied for top spot with Leicester Riders – who are the only team to have beaten the Eagles in the league this year.