In 2010-11, Kareem Maddox ’11 led the men’s basketball team to an Ivy League championship and its first NCAA Tournament appearance in seven years, earning Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-Ivy honors. This year, Maddox continued his basketball career in the professional ranks, playing for Landstede Basketbal in the Netherlands. We caught up with the 2011 Daily Princetonian Male Athlete of the Year at his first reunion to talk about European life, Princeton memories and more.
Q: What’s it like being back here?
A: It’s awesome. I just got in today — it’s incredible … We got to play at the alumni game, which was cool. You come back and never miss a beat, just like you’ve been spending time with everyone all year. I’m really excited to be back.
Q: Did anyone surprise you at the alumni game?
A: You’re always surprised at the alumni game, because everyone’s really good. I was surprised to see my boy [Noah] Savage [’08] in shape and how much everyone stays really good at basketball. They stick to the principles of the offense that we’ve been running for decades — people were cutting and screening, it was crazy. Once a year, it’s good to get back and play with those guys.
Q: Was the professional basketball experience what you thought it would be?
A: Yes and no. It was what I was expecting, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought it would. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to go back, because I still want to play and I think I still could play, but it’s a little stagnant at times — you practice, you sleep, you practice, you rest your body … You only practice for four hours a day, and it’s a full-time job, so it’s not the most exciting thing. It was fun — I love basketball, and I hope to keep playing — and games were amazing, our fans were incredible. It was a good year.
Q: Last time we talked to you, you were coming off of an injury. How are you now?
A: I tore my meniscus and I had surgery, but I was playing today. I’m back … Every now and then it flares up, but it’s nothing that won’t abate over time.
Q: What’s your contract status? Are you going back to Landstede?
A: No, I think if I do end up going back, I’ll probably try to do something else, just to get a different experience and not play at the same place for too long. I could definitely make some moves elsewhere … All that’s going to happen coming up pretty soon, so I haven’t made any decisions yet, but I have some stuff in the works.
Q: Are there any countries in particular you would want to go to?
A: No, not really, because it’s almost better to see what’s offered and make your choice from there. There are so many places to choose from, I couldn’t really say there’s one place I want to go play, and it always depends on the league and competition. Right now, I’m looking at Australia a little bit, which would be incredible, and Israel, which … would be a mixed bag, but it would be cool to play there.
Q: When you weren’t practicing or playing, what were you up to?
A: I made it a point to get out and see everything I could see with the time that I had. I also read all of the Game of Thrones books, which took me a while. You kind of see how much time you have, see what you can do, watch a couple episodes of a show, catch a nap … I got really good at cooking, which I’m happy about. That’s a good skill to have. Other than that, if we had a weekend off, we jumped in the car and went to Berlin. We got to go to Luxembourg, Belgium, France, London and do a lot of different things. It was an excellent experience — I got to travel in my free time and play basketball for a living. No complaints.
Q: What are you doing this summer?
A: I’m interning in New York City, commercial real estate. I got it through Noah Savage … I’m excited to live in New York — I definitely wanted to do that at some point — and two months might be the perfect amount of time, or I might want to stay longer, so we’ll see. I’m glad to be doing something other than playing basketball, just to keep my mind sharp a little bit.
Q: What do you miss most about Princeton?
A: The community. Having a real closeness with the team and the people you end up working with, the school … I guess it all falls into the community umbrella. I miss just being in school and being a student. But coming back for Reunions is the best time of the year, because you get to relive it for a couple days and see all your old friends and make some new ones, which is always cool.
Q: Any advice for the Class of 2012?
A: Do whatever you want in the next year, and you’ll figure it out eventually. I’m trying to follow my own advice, and hopefully it works … I’m not that far out, so maybe you should talk to someone a little further out of school, but that’s what I would say. Have fun.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/06/01/31008/