High school: Dalton High School (Manhattan, NY), 2017
College: Emory University
Hometown area of NYC: Upper East Side, Manhattan
Years in Mo’ Motion: 4
A NOTE FROM MO: I remember the day Max Peponis hopped into our first workout at Booker T Washington School. It was the end of our core group’s grade 5 season, yet Max he fit right in that spring (as did his younger brothers Miles and Bo). Max immediately took to the left handed drills and understood why we were working on every detail of his jumpshot by breaking it into pieces. Seven years later, I am proud to say that I just watched Max dominate a game in early December as basketball team captain at Dalton after finishing his football season. Just before the holiday break, Max scored 25 points in a holiday tournament. I’m looking forward to seeing Max lead his high school team, and love the fun of playing high school hoops.
Here’s a short Q&A with Max followed by a gallery that includes photos of Max playing at Mo’ Motion and at Dalton.
Who is your favorite basketball player and why? Joakim Noah. He is able to change the game simply with his emotion. He’s also a city kid.
Which college and/or pro team is your favorite and why? My dad is from Chicago so my favorite team is the Chicago Bulls.
When did you know that basketball was your favorite sport? Fifth grade.
Why is it your favorite sport? First of all, it forces you to play as a team to achieve success. Secondly, there is a physical nature that I enjoy. It also requires a unique intelligence in order to be successful.
What is your favorite thing to do on the basketball court? Rebound. I think that being a good rebounder is about combining technique and aggression. If you box out correctly and are in the correct position, it comes down to who wants it more, and that is what I particularly enjoy about rebounding. This came from my dad (so he doesn’t accuse me of stealing it), but a big part of it is the ability to judge where a shot is going to bounce before it hits the rim just based on probabilities.
What is your least favorite thing to do on the basketball court? If I am on the court, I have no complaints. It’s always fun to be playing the game.
What is your greatest challenge in the basketball court? Occasionally I have problems playing defense without fouling, however, it is something I am working on.
Who influenced you the most in your basketball career and in what way? Mo has influenced me the most. At the time I started Mo’ Motion, I was playing basketball just to have fun without serious ambition. It was the first time in my basketball life that I was really forced to address my weaknesses.
What are your short- and long-term goals as a basketball player? Short term I would like to help lead Dalton to a successful season this year. Long term I would just want to be able to play basketball in some form for the rest of my life.
What are your goals as a student? Short term is to finish off my high school career as well as possible. Then I would like to find a field that I both enjoy and am good at.
Where would you like to go to college? I’m in the process of applying and deciding.
What field or areas of interest do you want to pursue? I would like to be doing something business related.
Can you describe your first day at Mo’ Motion? I remember that Mo took me aside and watched me shoot jump shots and then immediately told me that I shouldn’t shoot from beyond 10 feet. The rest of the day I was working on not using my guide hand to shoot the ball.
What is your favorite Mo’ Motion memory? When I was in sixth grade, I made a buzzer beater shot to beat the Boys Club.
How would you describe Mo’s approach to coaching and directing her coaches? I would say she is passionate and also intense. Maureen will not take anything less than your best effort.
What primary area of weakness did Mo’ Motion help you improve the most? My biggest weakness when I first came to Mo was that I was very one-dimensional as a post player who could only score with their right hand. Mo has done wonders for my shot, but the thing that I thank her for most is giving me the ability to finish with my weak hand around the basket. Another weakness Mo forced me to address is to play facing the basket. She did this by doing extensive work with me playing from the high post and teaching me how to pivot and attack properly.
What do you think is the most important skill an athlete can have? Aggression.
What is your favorite quote about sports and/or life? You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretsky
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