Smith- ‘I would love to finish my career in Newcastle’

Smith in action (www.bbl.org.uk)

Smith in action (www.bbl.org.uk)

Charles Smith admitted the decision to re-sign for the Newcastle Eagles was one of the easiest he has ever had to make and would love to end his career with the club.

There were offers from teams in France and Sweden but Smith insisted Newcastle was the only place he wanted to be.

“The club means everything to me I would do anything for the club. I’ve been here since the beginning it is part of my family now.”

Smith has enjoyed an illustrious career in the BBL having made his debut for Newcastle back in 1999. The 37 year-old has won 15 trophies with the Eagles in 11 seasons but for the second time in the last three years, failed to win anything last season.

“It hurts a lot every time we don’t win a trophy!

“We will be very motivated to make sure it doesn’t happen again. We have guys who are used to winning and guys who will be out to prove themselves and I think that’s a great motivator!” he added.

Darius Defoe is the only other returnee from last season’s squad along with player-coach Fab Flournoy, who has signed former players Drew Lasker and Paul Gause as well as Stuart Thomson, brother of former Eagle Andy.

Damon Huffman and Joe Chapman have been replaced by new American recruits Scott Martin and Malik Cooke and Smith is happy with the look of the team despite the key loss of his partner in crime.

He said: “It’s always hard to lose a great player like Joe (Chapman), I’m just glad I won’t have to play against him!

“On paper, Fab (Flournoy) and Dave Forrester have put a good team together. We have a good mixture of veterans and young guys and everyone will have a part to play.”

Smith and Chapman formed a deadly partnership in the BBL in their four years together but the former league MVP has moved to Japan to sign for Bambitious Nara.

Last season, Smith racked up the most points in the league with a combined 691 points including the play-offs to show there is still life in ‘Prince Charles’ although he admits his playing days are diminishing.

“It was a great accomplishment because it shows that all my hard work is paying off and that age is nothing but a number!

Regarding his future, Smith said: “I don’t have a number of years I have left. As long as my body holds up and I can continue to be dominant on the court I will play! I would love to end my career here in Newcastle!”

BBL TV was launched earlier this week and Smith believes it is great news for the league and the sport.

“BBL TV is great! Anything you can do to promote the league and the sport is a great ideal. Hopefully people will sign up for it and see how great basketball is.”

The 6’6″ American forward and Newcastle begin their quest to bring silverware back to the North East when they host Durham at Sport Central on September 27th. The last time, the Eagles went a season without a trophy, they bounced back with a ‘clean sweep’ in the 2010-11 season.

Smith said: “A clean sweep is very hard to do and the league is just getting stronger and stronger. But we go out to win every game so yes it can be done!”

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