His heroics helped ensure the Newcastle Eagles missed out on
the BBL Play-offs last season as he suited up for the Plymouth City Patriots
and condemned the Tyneside club to a ninth-placed finish, but now Rowell
Graham-Bell is keen to bring glory back to the north-east as he gets set for a
new season with his new team.
The first signing confirmed of the Marc Steutel era earlier
in the summer, Graham-Bell is a high-energy British talent who brings it on both
ends of the floor, and we caught up with him ahead of the new season to learn
his thoughts on the team’s hopes for the new campaign.
“I feel like this team is full of absolute dogs, and that is
what Coach has tried to build here.” Graham-Bell said.
“It is a very different team from what was here last season,
especially, but we have some great talent and great energy in this group and I
can’t wait to take on the rest of the league and show them what we can do.
“It is funny how basketball goes because my last regular
season game for Plymouth was obviously a very big deal as we denied Newcastle
from reaching the play-offs for the first time in many years, so that did cross
my mind when I signed here, but I’m excited to do everything I can to help this
team get back where they belong.
“I’m going to bring high energy, as I always do, and intensity to the floor. As much as I’m a fun guy away from the court, as soon as I cross that line I only want to win, and I hope everybody brings that same energy. We’re happy to be the team that nobody likes, that nobody wants to play against, we just want to win and bring some success to this club.”
“This is a team built in his identity.”
Heralded as a new era at Newcastle with the team completely
rebooted and a new Head Coach in situ, Marc Steutel is one of the most highly-rated
young coaches in British Basketball and fans are rightly eager to see what the Great
Britain Men’s Assistant Coach can do at BBL level.
For Graham-Bell, who played for Steutel at Junior National
Team level in the past, it was a no-brainer to reunite with his former coach as
he gave a glowing appraisal of the new Eagles play-caller.
“I worked with Coach at GB Under-20s and we got to know each
other’s personalities really well during that time. He’s just somebody that I
naturally formed a good relationship with and we’ve stayed in regular contact
“It was an easy decision to come and join him in Newcastle.
When he told me he was moving to the club and what he was hoping to achieve
there, I knew straight away that I wanted to be a part of it and I can’t wait
for us to get going.”
“This is a team built in his identity, and as long as we’re
all on the same page and tapped into the same mindset and mentality, then we’ll
have success this year. It was just a matter of time for Coach to get a
position like this in the BBL, and now he gets to show what he can do on this
“I was underestimated last year.”
One of the consistent bright sparks of a Plymouth City
Patriots side that shocked the BBL with their excellent performances after
Christmas last season, RGB shone in the spotlight and is eager for him and his
teammates to do the same this year as he lauded his new teammates and their potential
“My only goal is to win. We don’t want to come second or
third or reach a final or anything – we just want to win. I’m not the type of
person to settle. I want it all and I know the rest of the guys do as well, so
we’re excited to go out there and try and earn it.
“From what I’ve seen so far from the guys in pre-season, this
is a team full of guys that can get the job done. We’ve got a group of guys
with such a wide and varied skillset at an elite level, and we believe we can
make some noise this year.
“Personally, I feel like I was underestimated last year and
I enjoyed the chance to show everybody what I could actually do, so I’m excited
for the chance to do that again this year with a great group of guys in
The Newcastle Eagles get their BBL Championship campaign
underway on September 30th against the mighty Manchester Giants.
Watch every BBL game this season live and free at www.bblplayer.co.uk as well as weekly
fixtures on Sky Sports.