Anton Maresch is a 25 year old 191cm guard from Austria that is a member of the Austrian national team. He started his basketball career in 2007 with UBSC Graz (A Bundesliga) where he played until 2010. Then he played with Xion Dukes Klosterneuburg (A Bundesliga) in the 2010-2011 season. In 2011, he moved to Spain where he has played the last five years. He played his first two seasons with Andorra (Spain-LEB Gold) and the last three seasons with San Pablo Inmobiliaria Miraflores Burgos (Spain-LEB Gold) and last season played 39 games averaging 9.6ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 53.0%, 3PT: 33.0%, FT: 60.6%. In Spain he won the Leb Silver title in 2012 with Andora and the Leb Gold title in 2015 with Andorra. He spoke to German Hoops before the euro qualifying game against Germany in Bamberg.
Anton, thanks for talking to German Hoops. A tough 75-61 loss against Holland After the first day where Austria beat Holland in a hard battle, would you still have thought that the Dutch could win 3 in a row and be the #1 team after four matches?
Yes they have a very athletic and tough team and after their win against Germany they got a strong confidence boost.
Just like the first game, the second encounter with the Dutch was a tight battle in the first half with Holland having the slight advantage 39-38. The turning point came in the third quarter where the Dutch held Austria to 7 points. What was vital for Holland keeping your point total down and what adjustments did the Dutch make on defense?
Well we didn’t play good at all in the 2nd half. I think a lot of guys didn’t have their best shooting night and they took away some of our first options and made us play very static. We just didn’t find a rhythm offensively and especially defensively we were not very aggressive.
The two work horses of the team are Thomas Schreiner and Rasid Mahalbasicthat combined for 37 points and were the only two players scoring in double figures. Why does scoring consistency from other players pose a problem for this team at times?
Rasid is obviously our leader on offense and Thomas had a good game as well. He is our most experienced guard and kind of the director of the offense. I think in the other games so far other guys did step up except for the last game where we were just not aggressive enough, especially myself totally disappeared.
The rebounding was a problem as the Dutch outrebounded you 40-27. Was effort on the boards and just wanting it more than the Dutch a reason for not being able to escape with a victory? Austria still has valuable size on the boards despite the absence of Jakob Poelti?
Well they have a strong offensive rebounding team. They already outrebounded us in Holland as well and we still dominated that game the whole time in my opinion. Except at the end where they came closer. Of course we miss Jakob but I still think we have enough talent this year to qualify.
This season the Austrian national team continue to be a tough team to play and continue to fight to qualify for the European championships like they have the last years without luck of qualifying. With two games left, the club has a good chance. Team Austria has had many players from the last years and continue to build good team chemistry. How has the team developed in the last three years to now have that chance to finally qualify for a Euro?
Well basically most of the team is playing together since the youth competitions. We all know each other really well and have a great chemistry. I also think the addition of coach kemzura and his crew was very valuable for us since he knows international basketball and prepares us really well for the games. This year might be our biggest chance to qualify for a European championship
Team Austria has it all in their own hands. They have probably one of the biggest games in years and Germany also is looking at one of their biggest games in years and thankfully for them it´s in Bamberg where it is always hard to play. Are you slowly getting motivated for this big battle?
Of course we are highly motivated. Adding to that a battle against our neighbor Germany is always special. I think we would have deserved to win the first game at home but now it would be even sweeter to win in Bamberg.
What is wrong with team Germany. They could easily be 1-3 now as Austria had them at the brink of elimination and then lost to Holland and a 3 OT loss to Denmark. Germany may be without Dennis Schroeder and now Tibor Pleiss, but surely still have ample weapons. Is Germany underachieving this summer?
Well yes but in my opinion they are always underestimating their opponents. Other teams also have good players and you should respect everybody especially in an international competition. That’s one thing they have to figure out for themselves.
How much is that 61-59 loss to Germany still in your head and the missed three pointer by you? Did it take a while to digest the loss for the team?
Oh of course that was a tough one. It felt pretty good when it left my hand but it just didn’t go in. It hurts more knowing that we could have not only beaten our rival but also it would have put us in a perfect position to qualify.
This game was pretty evenly matched in the stats with the shooting and rebounding similar, but especially in tight games one or two turnovers more can cost a game as Austria coughed up the ball two times more. What will be key in Bamberg for getting by Germany?
Turnovers are always a key for us. Rebounding is also important and execution on offense in the crunch time. Our defensive intensity has to be very high as well.
Will the absence of Tibor Pleiss make any big difference? He didn´t have his best games and is now looking for an NBA job. Do you feel like the German game will suffer without him?
I hope but we are prepared for everybody. If somebody is missing another guy will step up that’s how it works.
Austria has an easier schedule than Germany and has it in their own hands. If they can beat Germany by more than two points and beat Denmark, they will qualify. How confident are you that in the next week, team Austria will be successful and win 2 games?
I am confident that this will be our year.
After shooting out the lights last summer in the Euro qualifying at 60%, currently you are only shooting 16,7%. As an experienced shooter what resolutions do you have about why your shot isn´t falling now?
That’s just part of the game. I took some bad shots as well but all in all I’m confident that the shot will fall again
You have played the last 5 seasons in Spain for Andorra and Burgos. What have you liked most about playing in the Leb Gold and just the lifestyle of Spain?
It was a great experience. The league is pretty good and I like the style of play there. I learned a lot there and I fell in love with Spain.
What title do you cherish most your first Leb Silver with Andorra or your first Leb Gold title with Burgos?
Both were nice but I would say The Leb gold one because it was the title to move up to the best league in Europe, the ACB. Unfortunately the financial situation never permitted us to move up.
In your second season in Spain, you played with Thomas Schreiner. What has it meant to you in your career to have had a guy like him as your teammate and how have you benefited from him as a player?
He is a very intelligent player with a great shot. I am happy that he is playing where he belongs, the ACB. It was a fun year and if there is one thing I liked the most about him, it’s his work ethic. He deserves it to be where he is now and hopefully move on to a even better team.
Now that Lebron finally brought an NBA title home, where does this further ring put him in the debate against Michael Jordan as the all-time best ever?
In my opinion there is no argument about who is the best all time. Nobody can pass Michael Jordan. Just by being 6-0 in the finals he closes every argument.
If you had to construct an NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you choose?
Jordan, Shaq, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe (my favorite player)
What was the last movie that you saw?
I’m more into TV shows. The last show I watched was making a murderer, which I finished with my teammates just now.
Thanks Anton for the chat.