Maxi Begue(Fraport Skyliners) Strives To Be An Impact Player At Both Ends Of The Court

                It was mid January 2020 and there was an interesting youth double header at Basketball City Mainhatten in Frankfurt where easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners train with the Skyliners U-16 and 19 teams playing back to back games. In the second contest Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners battled top team Porsche Ludwigsburg BBA in ana NBBL(U-19) game that boast super talents like Ariel Hukporti, Lukas Herzog and the Patrick brothers who are the sons of MHP Riesen head coach John Patrick. In was at the beginning of the fourth quarter with the game deadlocked at 49-49. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had possession and versatile German Maxi Begue got the ball in the post and faced a brutal triple team, but with quick instincts and decision making he noticed an open Erik Brummert and delivered the perfect shovel pass which resulted in an easy bucket and 51-49 Frankfurt lead. But instead of celebrating on his dime and savoring the moment, he rapidly got focused for the next defensive play and sprinted back on transition defense as the guests pushed the ball up quickly from Johannes Patrick, but seemingly out of nowhere Begue was there like a lightening flash and stripped the ball from the German guard. In the end, Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were unable to get the victory as Porsche Ludwigsburg BBA was able to slip away going on a crucial 8-0 run and win 76-61 remaining unbeaten. But this scene was just another example of how Maxi Begue can be an impact player at both ends of the court. “ I see myself as an impact player. I have learned that as a player you always have to be ready and prepared. I never celebrate after an offensive play and am ready for the next play. After giving the ball to Brummert, I ran back on defense and was able to make the play”, stressed Maxi Begue. It was another normal day at the office for Maxi Begue netting 12 points, hauling down 9 boards, dishing out 4 assists and getting 1 steal while shooting 50% from the field. The game and so many others this season have continued to show that Maxi Begue strives to be an impact player at both ends of the court.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Maxi Begue during the 2019-2020 season

                Maxi Begue was born on February 26,2001 and grew up in Darmstadt. At first he wasn´t as interested in basketball, but it grew with time. His mom didn´t want him to play soccer and he then landed in the pool. That wasn´t the right fit for him either so he then moved to basketball. The love for basketball grew slowly, but it was there. He followed the Fraport Skyliners as a youth and had the opportunity to take part in the kids tunnel in the 2010-2011 season before a game. His zeal for the game continued to grow and he was fascinated by Fraport Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson and 2011 BBL MVP Dashaun Wood. It was then time to find a club where he could grow as a player. He had began to play in Darmstadt, but the Fraport Skyliners was the best fit for him. Frankfurt wasn´t too far away from Darmstadt and the Skyliners organization was the only one in the area that had a BBL, Pro B, NBBL and JBBL team which obviously was very appealing to him. His first basketball success was being named to the German U-16 national team and then taking part at the 2017 JBBL(U-16) top 4 in Frankfurt. The club made a nice run, but couldn´t beat powerhouse Alba Berlin in the final which boasted current Michigan(NCAA) freshman Franz Wagner. “I remember the quarterfinals series against Ulm as being very tough. We won the first game, lost the second, but won the third game. I remember going into the semi final game against Tuebingen as having been very hyped on social media and we were never afraid of losing it. Alba Berlin had a deeper roster and played more as a team in the final. The season though had been a good one and been fun”, explained Maxi Begue. He played his first NBBL game at age 15 and averaged 4,0ppg, 4,4rpg and 1,6apg while being one of the vital players for his JBBL team. But he also made his debut for BBL farm team Fraport Skyliners Juniors at age 15 playing 3 minutes in a loss against the ScanPlus Baskets. “Eric Detlev was coach. I remember defending in the post and trying to use all my strength against my opponent, but it just wasn´t enough as he scored. I realized then that it was something totally different playing against men”, added Maxi Begue.

                In the 2017-2018 season he made another step in his development playing a central role with NBBL team Eintracht Frankfurt/Fraport Skyliners averaging 10,0ppg and 5,3rpg while also getting into 4 Pro B games averaging 3,0ppg and 1,0rpg. He was able to make that jump in his game as a very young player at the NBBL level, because head coach Jan Eichenberger believed he could make an impact. “Coach Eichenberger gave me a lot of confidence and had trust in my abilities. I had the freedom to try out things on the court. Playing against a defensive team like Ludwigsburg also helped me, because I was able to see how the NBBL play was about. I also was allowed to play my game in situations where things weren´t going so well for the team”, added Maxi Begue. In the last years, he has also witnessed the good development from Len Schoormann, but one day will be able to tell his grand children that he was teammates with current Washington Wizard Isaac Bonga. However Bonga didn´t have a big effect on his game which is often the case when guys are around the same age. “We were in the same school called house of athletes, but to be honest we weren´t in so many practice groups together. I remember playing with him at the end of the 17-18 NBBL season and he always produced on the court. I wouldn´t call him a role model simply because we have different player profiles. I never really was aware of trying to pick up things from his game. I look more toward the older guys for inspiration”, stressed Maxi Begue.

                Last season he continued to be extremely busy making new steps in his game as he got a bigger role with the Farm team Fraport Skyliners Juniors playing 24 games averaging  3.7ppg, 2.0rpg, 1.3apg,and also played:17 games with Eintracht Frankfurt_Fraport Skyliners averaging 14.3ppg, 7.3rpg, 2.9apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 21.7%, FT: 72.7%. The German takes a lot of pride in getting better. He worked on his athleticism in the summer of 2018 and it paid off last season. “Important last season was that I got more playing time and was able to show my athleticism at a new level. I had more of an impact at the end of the season. It was a mental thing. I also made first strides with my shooting. I remember not taking as many pull up jumpers at the start of the season, but was taking a lot more at the end of the season”, stressed Maxi Begue. He also took part at the 2019 Addidas Next generation Tournament averaging: 7.5ppg, 7.8rpg, 3.5apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 34.6%, FT: 80.0%. He remembers it as being an Ok tournament, but not the best, but it was a good experience. “Playing at the ANGT is a lot different than playing a European Championships. You usually play with your team and it just feels more comfortable”, added Maxi Begue. His 2019 summer highlight was taking part at the European Championships. The U-18 team didn´t win a medal despite having a lot of talent with guys like Franz Wagner, Luc Von Slooten or Ariel Huckporti and underachieved. Begue was a starter and held his own averaging 7.6ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 43.3%, 3PT: 46.2%, FT: 69.2%. “I was really happy to play this tournament after missing the last two due to injury. I tried to play as well as I could and believe I was noticed with my defense and athleticism”, warned Maxi Begue.

            This season Begue played his third full NBBL season and became a vital German player for the Pro B farm team. Unfortunately the Coronavirus ended his season abruptly as in the Pro B he averaged 6,4ppg, 4,3rpg and 1,6apg while in the NBBL he averaged 14,0ppg, 9,3rpg, 3,3apg and 1,3spg. He continued to work hard on his game and his goal is 100% of becoming a professional. He recently finished school in 12th grade where he enjoyed the subjects of English and sports the most. Currently he is enjoying an apprenticeship with the Fraport Skyliners where he is involved with the youth program. He is roommates with the other huge German talent on the squad Len Schoormann and one could imagine that there must be a huge competitiveness among them, but there isn´t. There is a lot of mutual respect for each other and Begue doesn´t see himself in his shadow. “We have known each other since playing on the U-14 team. We are good friends. It may look like I´m in his shadow, but I don´t see it that way. We are both happy for each other´s success on the court. It would be nice if we would both be teammates in the BBL with the Fraport Skyliners”, expressed Maxi Begue. You can´t compare them, because they are different players. Schoormann is smaller and agile while Begue is a modern player that can defend the 1-4 positions”, stressed Fraport Skyliner head coach Sebastian Gleim. Begue missed the first few months due to injury and his versatile play was dearly missed at the NBBL and Pro B level. Especially the Pro B team struggled on the defensive end as his defensive abilities were missing. The Pro B team finished the season in a bad manner missing the playoffs. He fills the stat sheet and is showing that he can be an important contributor at this level. “I have a lot more responsibility than last season and I feel the need to always have to prove myself against the older guys. My defensive game has more of an influence in the Pro B, because things don´t work as well on offense here than they do in the NBBL. You have to know that you have to set other priorities”, warned Maxi Begue. “.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Maxi Begue in the 2019-2020 season

            Begue turned 19 on February 26 and his potential continues to be massive. Fraport Skyliners head coach Sebastian Gleim gleams when being able to describe the game of the German. “He has a stunning body. He is unbelievably athletic and has the potential to become a great defender. He has more assets than many players in Europe. He just needs to get more mature, grow up and just learn to become more of a professional”, warned Sebastian Gleim. His shooting continues to be a work in progress. His mid range game is nicely polished, but it is his three pointer that continues to need his utmost attention. He had it on at the 2019 European championships shooting at a clip of 46%, but this season has been struggling in the Pro B and NBBL, but with new mechanics, the potential is there for him to be able to take it with confidence soon. “My mechanics are different now. I have to give a lot of credit to Klaus Perwas. I worked on my shot with Perwas 3 weeks before the European Championships. During the season, it is more difficult to work on your shot consistently. You can concentrate better in practice on your shot while in games you can´t. You don´t know and focus as well in games on how the shot should look like. I try to take tips from many. I was told to keep my head more straight and shoot more out of the elbow. Sometimes when I´m working on my shot in the gym, my shot doesn´t feel the way it should and I don´t know what to do, but coach Perwas will see something from the office and come out and help me correct it”, added Maxi Begue. Sebastian Gleim has seen growth in the Begue´s shot. “His mechanics are better now, but it always depends how he will shoot in a game. Nowadays there is a lot more pressure on the players. It is a lot more difficult to get better. But there is a lot of hope. Alex King didn´t become a good shooter until later in his career”, added Sebastian Gleim. Even if his versatility may be his biggest strength, it is his defensive game that should get just as much credit. It is his strong body that allows him to be able to defend more positions and bigger players, but the club definitely doesn´t want him getting too big. Begue is in the weight room a lot, but the club isn´t focusing on making him too big, but being very mobile. Euroleague players and ex Fraport Skyliner players Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel aren´t huge players, but very mobile which they have been able to use to their advantage. The German continues to work on his ball handling and shot, but continues to have a lot of enthusiasm in being the best defender that he can possibly be. “You can always play defense and so much isn´t seen on the stat sheet. One can always impact a game and break an opponent whether it´s denying the pass or being a pest on the screen. For me it is especially always a big challenge defending against the player that is hyped. There aren´t many guys that are equally strong on offense and defense and I want to be that player that can do it at both ends”, warned Maxi Begue. Begue continues to be on a good way in his development and trying to reach his goal of becoming a professional. Offensively he has a nice versatile game while on the defensive side, he continues to be a very good player that can impact a game. Sky is the limit for Begue and who knows, he may go the same route that a Voitgmann, Barthel or Bonga went reaching the BBL via the Pro B with the Fraport Skyliners and grow into a top defensive player in Frankfurt the way Quantez Robertson has been the last decade

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