Ross has Fab future says star

ATHLETIC students at a college have been honoured for their achievements over the last year.

And the most decorated coach in the history of British basketball insists the borough’s sporting future is in safe hands.

Fabulous Flournoy has led the Newcastle Eagles to 13 titles in six years, and was the star attraction at TyneMet College’s North East Sports Academy (NESA) awards, presenting trophies to student athletes at the forefront of the talent pool.

The New Yorker said: “As a teenager playing sport, your dream is to be as successful as you can be.

“But there are people at the college ensuring that there’s the right mix of sport and education.

“Right now NESA is producing good, strong members of society as well as talented athletes.

“That has to be the way forward. Not everyone will become a professional athlete but if sport can contribute to a civil society then what NESA does works on every level.”

Flournoy, pictured, was delighted to hand over the Sportsman Of The Year award to basketball star Ross Wilson after the teenager enjoyed a breakthrough season.

The forward made his British Basketball League debut for the Eagles and played a key role in TyneMet’s run to the 2011 British Colleges And Schools (BCS) finals.

Wilson is completing his A-levels before deciding on his next move – with professional clubs, colleges and universities at home and abroad courting the towering Geordie.

“There’s a strong connection between TyneMet and the Eagles with coach Marc Steutel a key figure in strengthening that partnership,” added Flournoy.

“I do believe TyneMet’s presence and contribution will be instrumental in the success of basketball in the north east in the future.

“They sit at the base of the pyramid which offers young players a route through college, Northumbria University and ultimately the Eagles.

“Ross is an example of how that system can work and he is a role model – on and off the court – for a number of talented players coming through the ranks.”

And other big hoops winners at the annual awards ceremony included Player Of The Year Lamar Morrison, Most Improved Player Of The Year Paddy Keheller and Most Committed Player Of The Year Vlad Bodeaca.

Robyn Wallis scooped women’s basketball Player Of The Year while NESA football saw Ben Holmes pick up the ECFA Player Of The Year award and US-bound Claire Pitt clinch the women’s Player Of The Year prize.

Pitt was named Sportswoman Of The Year and the men’s ECFA football squad won the 2011 Team Of The Year gong.

Adam Ferreira was recognised for his commitment to rugby and Robin Johnsen claimed badminton’s Player Of The Year prize.

“Sport is in safe hands at TyneMet,” added Flournoy.

“I was amazed at the talent at the college across the board and it bodes well for the future.”