Broth­ers team­ing up at the Ea­gles


The Chronicle - - Basketball - By JEFF KING

NEW­CAS­TLE Ea­gles have strength­ened their squad with the ad­di­tion of for­ward Ja­mal Wil­liams, who joins brother Kai on the Sport Cen­tral ros­ter.

Ja­mal played along­side Kai for London Lions last term be­fore suf­fer­ing a sea­son-end­ing in­jury 12 months ago.

Now fully re­cov­ered, he goes straight into train­ing to be considered for the game against Sh­effield on Fri­day.

Like his brother, 6ft 5in for­ward Ja­mal holds dual-Cana­dian/Bri­tish cit­i­zen­ship, and his sign­ing is quite a coup for the Ea­gles as they pre­pare for a chal­leng­ing year.

“We spoke to Ja­mal in the sum­mer and were aware of his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion sched­ule. Now that he’s been given the all-clear to get back into train­ing and play again we felt we had a space on our ros­ter and could fit him into our plans,” said head coach Fab Flournoy.

“This is a year when our squad is go­ing to be tested by in­ter­na­tional call-ups in both FIBA com­pe­ti­tions and po­ten­tially the Com­mon­wealth Games, as well as in­juries.

“When we be­came aware that Ja­mal was in­ter­ested in play­ing here it made a lot of sense for us to bring him in.”

Wil­liams, who has played his whole pro­fes­sional ca­reer in the BBL since sign­ing for Mersey Tigers in 2010/11, will make New­cas­tle his fifth stop af­ter spells with Ply­mouth and Worcester.

At Worcester in 2013/14 and in the last two sea­sons at London he also played along­side his sibling, and is ex­cited not only to be link­ing up with him again but also to be sign­ing for the Ea­gles.

“Since my in­jury, I have main­tained a good level of fit­ness,” said Wil­liams, who had surgery af­ter sev­er­ing a nerve in his arm.

“I have re­cov­ered ahead of sched­ule. It has been a year since I have played in a BBL game, but the past four months I have been play­ing in a lo­cal league in Canada, along with prac­tis­ing with the Univer­sity team.

“It is not the same skill level as the BBL, but it has been ben­e­fi­cial to my game and keep­ing a rhythm.

“I am very ex­cited to be back in the league, I’m ready and very con­fi­dent in my abil­i­ties. I have al­ways ad­mired New­cas­tle’s level of pro­fes­sion­al­ism since I en­tered the BBL.

“They look af­ter their play­ers and have great fan sup­port. I am look­ing for­ward to play­ing for Fab and his coach­ing staff.

“I have en­joyed play­ing against the Ea­gles, I know play­ing for the Ea­gles will be a nice change. Kai and I love play­ing to­gether, it’s safe to say we are a pack­age deal.

“I have fol­lowed the Ea­gles closely and have talked to Kai through­out the sea­son.

“Kai is very happy with his de­ci­sion to play in New­cas­tle and thinks it’s a great fit for me as well.

“The Ea­gles al­ready have a great ros­ter. I hope to fill in wher­ever needed, with my ver­sa­tile skill set and BBL ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Ja­mal, who turns 31 on the 26th of this month, is known as a rugged com­peti­tor who brings a hard-nosed blue-col­lar work ethic to ev­ery prac­tice or game, at­tributes that will serve him well un­der Flournoy and with the Ea­gles.

Ja­mal Wil­liams, pic­tured tak­ing on the Ea­gles in a London Lions vest, has joined brother Kai in New­cas­tle

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