by Andy McKenzie

England captain Peter Scantlebury said that next year could be his final season in basketball and he's hoping to go out with a bang. The 17-year pro has decided to bring an end to his glittering career after the 1998-1999 season, but doesn't plan to let up on opponents just yet. "I'll definitely play on next year but at the end of the season, I'll have to sit down and have a think about whether 1 want to come back for another year or to call it a day," he said.

The 34-year-old admitted he had high hopes at the start of this campaign, his first with the Newcastle Eagles, although things haven't gone quite to plan. "It's been disappointing," he said. "When I joined in the summer, I expected to be challenging for honours. The aim of the season was to win something, but we are out of the cup, struggling in the League and could be out of the trophy if we don't win at Sheffield on Sunday.

"The team hasn't quite gelled yet. A lot of the players hadn't played together before and at the minute we're too inconsistent. We have some good talent but we can't quite seem to produce the goods on a regular basis."

Although the Eagles haven't had the best of starts, Scantlebury says he has no regrets about leaving Thames Valley, who ironically are through to the semi-finals of the Cup and riding high in the League. "I wish them all the best," he said. "I had four good seasons there but my wife's from the North East and we like living up here. I'm more than happy at the minute."

This is Scantlebury's second spell in the region. He previously starred for the team when they were playing in Sunderland back in 1990. They won the Cup that year and came second in the League, with a team that the former Winthrop College standout looks back on with fond memories. "We had a lot of talent then, not just playing wise but smart as well. We played well as a team and knew how to get the job done. We're a much younger team now, and perhaps lack experience, but we have plenty of talent."

Scants is already considering life after his playing days are over, but he still sees his future in British basketball. "I hope that I'll be able to stay in the game in some form. I'm involved in a few things at the moment, youth developments and such like," he said. "Coaching could be an option, but I'm not sure at the moment."

The Camberwell-born veteran has experienced the full range of emotions on the basketball court. He ranks winning the League with Thames Valley in 1994 and making his England debut eight years earlier as the high points of his distinguished career. The biggest disappointment has been never getting to Wembley for the end of season finale, something he's desperate to achieve with the Geordies before he brings down the curtain on a great hoops career.

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