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! Continue reading

February Statistical Review in the BBL

35 games played. 16 victories on the road. 2 unbeaten teams. Two 40 point hauls. A double-OT thriller and a BBL Trophy semi-final.

The Molten BBL Coach of the Month award was given to Paul James after guiding his Worcester Wolves side to 5th in the league after six wins from six in FebruaryWorcester have boosted their top four hopes with five straight wins in the league and also progressed to the last four of the BBL Trophy. The 94-88 victory in Newcastle was their stand-out win but the Wolves have also completed double-duty for the last two weekends in which a victory was achieved after two additional periods against the London Lions. Alex Owumi (16p/10r/8a) and Carlos Fernandez (14p/10r/7a) both came close to achieving the rare feat in the BBL of a triple-double.

Rob Paternostro came close to winning the award for the second month running as the Leicester Riders also went 6-0 in February to maintain their place at the top of the standings. The Riders set up a semi-final clash with Worcester after going to Guildford to beat Surrey Heat 82-66. The league leaders’ defence continues to make a difference and Leicester managed to hold their opponents to an average of 60 points a game during the month and winning by 14.1 points on average.

At the other end of the spectrum, Surrey are in a poor run of form having slipped to sixth place in the league after such a bright start with Creon Raftopoulos‘ men losing all four league games this month. Mersey Tigers also suffered defeat in every league game in February as their quest for a first victory drags on. Glasgow had enjoyed a five game winning streak before falling to a 76-72 defeat at home to Leicester but are still level on points with Plymouth. The play-off race continues with London, Sheffield, Manchester, Cheshire and Durham all battling it out for the seventh and eighth spots. Phoenix and the Wildcats both went 1-5 for February while the Lions picked up 8 points from seven games, the Giants won two from five and Sheffield maintained 8th place with a 2-1 record for the month whilst opening up a 14 point lead in their Trophy semi-final against Cheshire.

Newcastle Eagles’ Kareem Maddox claimed the Molten BBL Player of the Month for the second time after a dominant February, averaging 21.6 points per game along with 13 rebounds per game. The BBL rookie tied his season-high points tally with 29 against the Cheshire Phoenix and ended the month with a monster double-double of 26 points and 20 rebounds whilst adding four assists, three steals and four blocks to an incredible stat-line. Maddox is having a stellar season with the Eagles and the American currently averages 15.8ppg (20th) and 10.2rpg (2nd) but is yet to score from beyond the arc this season.

Charles Smith ran his team-mate close with an impressive month averaging 32.2 ppg in four games with a total of 128 points. The league veteran had a BBL season-high 49 points against Durham at the beginning of the month on 8-10 shooting from downtown whilst collecting 16 boards to complete a memorable performance. Smith went 100% from the free throw line in the four games and has now gone 28/28 from the foul line over his last 13 games. The Eagles‘ forward failed to connect from beyond the arc against Plymouth (0-3) but managed to net a total of 19 with a 52% success rate. Most recently, Smith carried Newcastle to a win in Surrey with a 33 point haul and 10 rebounds. Joe Chapman dished out 10+ assists in three games over January/February and leads the league in that category with an average of 7.6.

Michael Ojo was the other player in February to have a 40 point game in his outing against Cheshire and followed that outstanding performance with 61 points in his next two games against Glasgow and Surrey on his way to averaging 29.2 points per game during the month. The Raiders‘ guard also nailed all 27 of his free throw attempts and has now made 42 of his last 43 from the charity stripe. Chez Marks has dropped to second in the league scoring charts but still had an impressive month scoring 31 points on two occasions including helping the ‘Nix to a vital win against the defending champions in Newcastle.

BBL Team of the Week

The Team of the Week is calculated by performance valuation based on Sporting Pulse’s statistics for the BBL:

  1. Charles Smith- A sensational display from the Newcastle Eagles veteran with an incredible 49 point haul against the Durham Wildcats. The 37 year-old made 19/35 shots from the field including 8/10 from beyond the arc. Smith continued to fill the stat-sheet with an additional 16 rebounds and has now taken his season points average to 20.1
  2. Joe Chapman- The reigning BBL MVP joins his team-mate in the Team of the Week thanks to an impressive triple-double in the same game. Chapman fired in 18 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and provided 11 assists in Newcastle‘s emphatic 106-65 victory. The 28 year-old is a regular in the Team of the Week and has now seen his season-high of 41 points (v Sheffield 18/01/13) beaten by Smith.
  3. Michael Ojo- The Plymouth guard has stepped up in recent weeks following a return from injury and the release of the influential Jeremy Bell. Ojo inspired the Raiders to a 100-93 victory on the road at Cheshire with a career best 40 points to average 31.25 points in his last four outings. The 23 year-old has the second best points per game average (22.7) in the league behind Chez Marks whilst shooting 53% from the field.
  4. Donald Robinson- The BBL Rookie earned his place in the TOTW with a 30 point haul against Cheshire Phoenix on Friday in a game that will be televised on Sky Sports tonight. The Rocks guard made an impressive 12/14 FG attempts with a 75% success rate from downtown on his way to a season-high points total. Glasgow were in action again on Sunday to make it two wins out of two for the weekend but this time Robinson could only manage a single basket.
  5. Stanley Ocitti- The Wolves big man completes the line-up after helping his side to a win in Manchester with a 20 point-10 rebound double-double. Ocitti narrowly missed out on the feat in his previous two matches for Worcester but managed to add a seventh for the season in the victory against the Giants. The 6’8″ forward averages 13.6 ppg and just under 10 rebounds in his first season in the BBL.

Bench: Sheffield Sharks duo Micah Williams and Mike Tuck make the bench for their performances in the team’s home win against Durham while Darius Defoe also makes it despite being overshadowed by the efforts of Chapman and Smith. Matt Schneck is on the bench after helping Plymouth to a win against his former side while Chez Marks continues to prove why he’s the league’s top scorer with another 30+ point haul. Also making the bench are Leicester duo Jay Couisnard and Drew Sullivan who helped their side into the semi-finals of the BBL Trophy and keep the pressure on league leaders, Newcastle.

Newcastle move clear at the top; Plymouth and Glasgow keep the heat on Surrey

Newcastle Eagles eased to a 106-65 victory away to local rivals Durham with Charles Smith producing a scintillating display to help his side move two points clear at the top.

The 37 year-old finished with an incredible stat-line consisting of 49 points, including 8/10 from long range, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and a block. Joe Chapman joined in the fun with a triple-double (18 points-10 rebounds- 11 assists) to inflict a second defeat on the Wildcats for the weekend.

Newcastle made a blistering start and opened up a 27-point advantage at the end of the first quarter after racking up 40 points. The home side battled back in the second before being outscored again in the second half on their way to a 41 point defeat. Andrew Keister had 11 points and 18 rebounds but Molten BBL Player of the Month for December and January, Ralph Bucci could only manage seven points.

Glasgow left it late to beat the London Lions as EJ Harrison‘s late three helped the Rocks defeat his former side 69-66. The victory helped the hosts maintain the pressure on Plymouth and Surrey as they remain just outside the top four. Orlan Jackman tied the game at 66 with a minute left, to take his points tally to a game high 26, before Harrison struck in the dying seconds.

The visiting Lions were quick out of the blocks and made four triples in an 18-3 close to the opening quarter to lead 29-14. In the second, their lead grew to 19 points before the trio of Andrew Wedemire, Sterling Davis and Harrison combined for a 22-2 tear to put Glasgow ahead. Jordan Spencer responded with a three to give the London side a half-time lead which transpired into a three-point advantage heading into the fourth where the tense finale ensued.

Plymouth moved level on points with third-place after a 100-93 win in Cheshire. Michael Ojo top scored with an impressive 40 point haul to guide the Raiders to victory against the ‘Nix. Chez Marks led his side with 31 points but a second defeat for the weekend results in Cheshire dropping outside the play-off places although they are level on points with London.

This is how Sunday’s action changes the shape of the league standings:

1- NEWCASTLE (17-2) 34pts; 2- LEICESTER (16-2) 32pts; 3- SURREY (14-5) 28pts; 4- PLYMOUTH (14-6) 28pts; 5- GLASGOW (13-8) 26pts; 6- WORCESTER (11-9) 22pts; 7- SHEFFIELD (8-12) 16pts; 8- LONDON (8-14) 16pts; 9- CHESHIRE (8-14) 16pts; 10- MANCHESTER (7-15) 14pts; 11- DURHAM (7-15) 14pts; 12- MERSEY (0-21) 0pts

*See BBL Current Table for a more in-depth look at the league standings.