IN-FORM point guard Damon Huffman has been credited with leading a “long-overdue” tactical revolution at Newcastle Eagles.
Huffman’s fine form has been one of the major pluses of the first half of the Eagles’ season.
His personal campaign hit a new high over the weekend as he racked up a breathtaking 36 points in the defeat of a doughty London Lions side.
That remarkable display included six rebounds, five steals, three assists and no turnovers – with coach Fab Flournoy particularly keen to zero in on the final stat as evidence of the Eagles’ transformation this season.
Flournoy said: “We had a big job to do in the summer and the main thing was the team had to evolve.
“One of the areas we had to grow in was the point guard position.
“We hadn’t had one since TJ Walker left and, though we had a combination of players who could play in that position, we hadn’t had a specialist since TJ.
“This year we brought two in with Damon and Anthony Martin and the most pleasing aspect of Damon’s form is it shows we are starting to get the results we wanted from that.
“Damon is playing extremely well and is starting to come into his own and I am delighted he has got due recognition because of the numbers he put up over the weekend.
“In truth, a lot of what he has been doing has gone under the radar.
“What he primarily does is to get the ball to the right player and in the right area and that is so important to us.
“If you look at his assist to turnover ratio it is remarkable – he takes great care of the ball.
“In fact if you look at our turnovers as a team they are down from last year and that is one of the things that we wanted to create this year – a team more responsible with the ball and more efficient.”
Casual observers might note that, with a clean sweep of silverware last term, the Eagles hardly needed to overhaul their way of playing – but Flournoy’s success at Sport Central has been partly down to not letting the organisation rest on their laurels.
The team lost Andy Thomson in the summer, which put the onus on the coaching team to restructure their way of playing.
In addition to that, the Eagles chief sensed the league is evolving and providing different types of examinations for the reigning champions.
Flourtnoy said: “Teams are getting better in the league and teams are trying to catch us. It is a different challenge this year.
“If we have aspirations of getting better then we need to continue to grow and the point guard position is the one area where we felt there was a room to do that.”
Huffman’s own form is a source of immense pride for Flournoy and assistant Dave Forrester, who were questioned when they signed him from Zwolle in the summer.
His form was enough to prompt team-mate Charles Smith to hail him as the best point guard in the BBL on his Twitter account.
While Flournoy does not want to be drawn into comparisons, he is delighted with the way Huffman is playing.
He added: “I’m just so glad we’re playing with him rather than against him.
“Myself and Forrester were questioned when we brought him in, with people asking about his pedigree and whether he was good enough.
“It’s a source of immense satisfaction people are saying such nice things.”