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Knights court top league success

21 January 2021

A promising start and new talent has put Newcastle Knights in the National Basketball League (NBL) Division One driver’s seat this season.

Newcastle University’s men’s basketball 1s team are poised to cement their top-league position, thanks to winning five of the opening seven games and shooting to third in the standings of the 14-team league.

Mark Elderkin, Knights’ Head Coach, said: “After gaining promotion from NBL2 last season, we knew the step up to NBL1 was going to be a big one. We had a very successful off-season in terms of recruitment but had no idea really what Covid-19 would have in store for us. We were very fortunate when elite sport was given the go ahead and finally got the full squad together the week of our first official league game.




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“As of right now we haven’t set any targets, we are just working on getting better and coming together. We just feel very lucky being able to continue to play and thanks to the huge support from Newcastle University we have found a way to make everything work despite the circumstances. It will be an exciting season, where pretty much anyone can beat anyone in this division.”

To help boost their Division One chances, the Knights have recruited top UK and international students.

Coach Elderkin said: “Notable signings for Team Newcastle University include Jacob Cauthorn from Sheffield, plus Ronald Blain and David Moya from The USA. All players signing for Team Newcastle have the opportunity to gain their Degrees whilst playing in an elite division. Plus the recent partnership pathway with Newcastle Eagles things are really looking up for the programme. All home games this season are being live streamed on Basketball England’s YouTube Chanel for anyone who wishes to get behind the team.”

Forward Ronald Blain comes from Hawaii Pacific University. He said: “There was a lot of nervousness leaving Hawaii and coming over to Newcastle about a month ago, but from the time I stepped foot here, I have been enjoying my time more and more each day. My teammates and coach have made the transition process to playing in this league and living in this country run a lot smoother than i could have imagined. We’re a young team, with a lot of upside/ potential and I’m excited to compete against the other teams, while gunning for a playoff spot when that time comes.”

Point Guard David Moya, who featured for U17 Puerto Rico in U17 World Cup, said: “I’ve had a great time here so far with Team Newcastle. Everyone made me feel very welcomed from Day 1 and we have a great group of guys that genuinely enjoy playing with each other. I can’t wait to see how our team comes together and seeing the season play out.”

Jacob Cauthorn is a Centre and played for Sheffield Sharks before joining Newcastle Knights. He said: “I’ve had nothing but a positive experience joining the Newcastle team. Mark did a great job of aiding the transition from my old team to the D1 level along with my team mates who have been extremely accommodating. We kicked off the season with a promising few wins and although we have hit a few bumps in the road we are looking to bounce back and finish before Christmas break strong.”

NBL Division 1 brings together 14 of the best teams in the UK. The first eight teams at the end of the regular season advance to the playoffs where the new champion is decided, while the bottom two teams are relegated to NBL Division 2.