Plum’s Matolcsy brings toughness from gridiron to court

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Friday, January 24, 2020 | 5:27 PM


Plum junior Max Matolcsy is no stranger to contact.

As a linebacker on the Plum football team, Matolcsy recorded a team-high 138 total tackles on defense this season and is garnering interest from a few schools at the collegiate level.

But when the hard-hitting Matolcsy isn’t delivering big blows on the gridiron, he’s contributing to a basketball team on the brink of a WPIAL playoff appearance for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

At 6-foot-1, Matolcsy might not be the biggest guy in the paint, and he doesn’t have otherworldly jumping ability to sky for rebounds. But he’s provided the Mustangs a solid paint presence because of his physicality and attention to detail.

“He only puts up four points and four rebounds a game, but there are so many little things he does well,” Plum coach Mark Marino said. “If there is a loose ball on the floor, he’s one of the first guys there. You can build around his toughness and consistency as we look to move forward.”

Matolcsy started playing when he was in fourth grade and took up football a year later. But by seventh and eighth grade, he quickly started to realize football was going to be his sport.

He never gave up on playing basketball, though, and finds ways to transfer his abilities from the field to the hardwood.

“The footwork and post moves in the paint can translate,” Matolcsy said. “But for the most part, they are kind of two different games. Basketball is more of a finesse sport with jump shots and layups, where football is bashing heads together. But they come together in some areas.”

Marino believes Matolcsy is starting to get more confident in the post with each game. In recent games against Armstrong and Kiski Area, Matolcsy got off to a good start by scoring six and 10 points in the first half.

“Most people are trying to shut down Connor Moss on the wing,” Marino said. “So to be able to have somebody on the inside that can catch and finish, it’s a testament to Max and all the hard work he’s putting in. His confidence seems to be growing every game.”

Matolcsy, enjoys the challenge of going up against the bigger bodies in the paint, which is the case most nights. Matolcsy took on Kiski Area’s Jason Baker (6-7) last week and has faced other players like Mars’ Michael Carmody, standing at 6-6 and 295 pounds, who hold the height advantage over him. But he tries to make up for it with his physicality.

“There are always guys that are like five or six inches taller,” Matolcsy said. “But I kind of like it because it’s like you’re the underdog. I might be much smaller than a guy, but I am just gonna use my strength to try and get around him. That’s all you can really do.”

Since the beginning of the season, Matolcsy has come a long way on the hardwood. Marino said he’s is looking forward to having a full offseason with him because he knows he’s essential for the future.

“You need a guy like him,” Marino said. “You need toughness to really build around if you want to be a consistent program.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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