Kareem Maddox quite happy to put the team first

KAREEM Maddox says individual honours are immaterial if he does not win of the big prizes with Newcastle Eagles this season.

Kareem Maddox of Newcastle Eagles

KAREEM Maddox says individual honours are immaterial if he does not win of the big prizes with Newcastle Eagles this season.

Eagles forward Maddox was announced as the Molten player of the month for the second time yesterday, scooping the award for his stellar February efforts.

The 23-year-old averaged a stellar double-double of 21.6 points and 13 rebounds per game during the month as he continues to lead from the front for the Eagles.

The award is the latest sign the former Zwolle forward is settling in the BBL, with Fab Flournoy hailing his accomplished performance against Surrey Heat on Sunday as a “monster” display.

Happy as he is to be picking up accolades, he admits it will pale into insignificance if the Eagles miss out either in the BBL or the end-of-season play-offs.

“It is a nice thing but I would feel as if I missed out if we don’t win anything as a team. That is what it is all about,” said Maddox (pictured right).

“Winning one of those competitions is what I’m focused on but we’re taking it one game at a time.

“It sounds like a terrible cliche but it is true, I’m not seeing either the awards or the league title – I’m just all about trying to win the next game.

“That is the key for us now, to go on and win something.”

Although it has been a successful month for the Eagles, it has also been a major examination of Maddox’s mettle.

He has been one of the last men standing in a shallow rotation of six – with the Eagles options limited by injuries to Flournoy and also to Damon Huffman.

Maddox added: “It has been testing. If you think back, it hasn’t been since January we’ve been able to put a full team out,.

“Even before then we had Chuck (Charles Smith) missing, then it has been Fab (Flournoy) and Damon out.

“We have had a hard time getting a team we can stick with and work on some chemistry and what we should be doing.

“That is why Sunday was such a good win, because we had to work so hard for it.

“First and foremost that was the important thing: to win and to keep our run going.”

Maddox joined the Eagles in the summer from Dutch side Zwolle and admits the transition has not been an easy one.

The intensity of the BBL is much different from the slower, more tactical game in Holland – which he likens to the kind of hoops he played at University.

Flournoy told him he would need to play with more energy and he has heeded that advice.

He said: “I had to put up a lot of energy, which is what Fab has told me to do.

“That is the biggest thing I have had to get my head round in the BBL, that you have to ply with energy and you have to be a threat constantly. You cannot play at a lower level, you have to play with that intensity and to be a threat as much as you can.”

Maddox beat off competition from team-mate Charles Smith and Plymouth’s Michael Ojo to win the award.

Key in the BBL’s thinking was Maddox’s performance against Surrey.

He produced the second best display of the entire season, racking up a mammoth valuation score of 47 after torching Heat for 26 points and 20 rebounds, in addition to four blocked shots.

 
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