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Horta hoping to play his part in Eagles' BBL bid.

Byline: Thomas Dodd @TOMALEXDODD

NEWCASTLE Eagles starlet Danny Horta is eager to play a bigger role in helping last season's BBL champions retain their title.

The 19-year-old has had limited opportunities this season, but admits that time is on his side as he strives to make an impact on the court.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's clash with Leeds Force at Sport Central, Horta said: "Obviously, I'm not here to sit on the bench. But it will all come in time, I know I'm still young and can develop."

The guard will be keen to avoid following in the footsteps of Eddie Matthew, another Eagles prodigy who signed for the Force at the end of last season to get more game time.

Tomorrow is Matthew's first chance to show his former employers what they are missing, having been sidelined for last month's match through injury.

Former Northumbria University student Horta acknowledged that the step up in intensity to the professional ranks may explain why youngsters like himself and Matthew can struggle to make an impression. "The biggest difference I have seen is the mindset. Everything is a lot more detailed, it's the little things that count so much more at this level," he said.

The young guard (right) was, however, optimistic about his own game.

He said: "Being out here trying to get better really is a great experience. I'm learning the game, learning the system and best of all learning how to compete at this level.

"My performances are getting better, I'm with these guys day in day out, it means I can learn like them too."

Horta is almost spoilt for choice when it comes to finding a mentor to look up to in the Eagles roster.

With the likes of Charles Smith, who boasts 16 years of BBL experience, and the league's most decorated coach Fabulous Flournoy surrounding him on a daily basis, Horta is revelling in the chance to learn as much as he can.

"It's been a brilliant experience so far," he said. "The other players have taken me under their wing and it feels great. I feel I'm learning so much and developing as a player all the time and as an individual off the court as well."

Flournoy's men have recorded seven straight wins at the beginning of this campaign - a run which included a 91-63 victory over Leeds at Sport Central last month.

Horta echoed the sentiments of most Eagles fans by describing the start to the season as 'fantastic'.

"We couldn't have asked for anything better," he added.

Having lost all four previous encounters against the Eagles in British basketball's top flight, the Force will face an uphill task come tomorrow night.

Horta will hope his four-point haul in the last few minutes against Cheshire Phoenix last week will convince the coaching staff to give him more of a run out this time around.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 24, 2015
Words:482
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