The 2016/17 season has brought both ups and downs for a new look Newcastle University roster. An entirely new BUCS team and a rotating door of players in NBL always meant there would be an element of inconsistency this season. Despite the adversity and difficulties the Knights have continued to march forward, set new standards and achieved what the club always strived for. With the NBL play-offs still to take place much of the season is now over. Here is a review of the 2016/17 so far but no doubt the play-offs will bring more excitement, turns and twists.
Newcastle University Men's team competed in their debut season in BUCS Premiership North which hosts a number of great University Basketball powerhouses, despite this the new class of players fought hard to finish in 4th position in the Premiership North and battle their way into the Final Fours. After beating Brunel in the Final 16's and beating the number 1 South seed, UEL, with a tip in from young Undergraduate Alei Wol, in their first ever BUCS Super 8 quarter final. The Knights fought hard on day 2 in their Semi-Final versus a strong Durham University team but fell short and their journey ended despite outstanding performances from Richard Austin and Irving Eggleston. Although it was disappointing to lose, the Knights accomplished something no other Newcastle University Basketball team has for a long time and that is to finish top 4 in the Nation.
Team Newcastle University also had their opening debut season in NBL Division 2. After back to back promotions from NBL Division 4 and Division 3 the Knights had a good momentum going into a very strong league with some really well established clubs. Newcastle finished with a 19-3 record but finished behind Kent Crusaders on a head to head of 3 points. The league came down to the final game of the season as Team Newcastle hosted Kent but lost 67-71 despite an inspiring point guard performance from Romonn Nelson who has went from strength to strength since signing in September. This meant Newcastle finished runners up in NBL Division 2, sealing their third successive promotion this time to NBL Division 1. Earlier in the season the Knights had picked up their 3rd National Cup in 3 years after beating Kent in the final of the Patrons Cup, 77-65, with Richard Austin picking up the finals MVP.
Team Newcastle University start their play-off campaign this Sunday (2nd April) against local rivals Tees Valley Mohawks, come along and support the Knights at Queens Campus, Durham University, Tip off 3pm. All support is welcome as the Knights will look to finish the season on a high in the NBL Division 2 play-offs.