BOSTON, Mass. - Max Mahoney is a forward, but he is also a throwback.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore from Basking Ridge just completed his second season on the Boston University basketball team, and the season proved to be a significant building block for Mahoney.
Eventually working his way into the Terriers' starting lineup about a third of the way into the season, Mahoney ended up leading Boston University in scoring with 386 points and 12.9 points per game. That performance earned him All-Conference Third-Team honors in the Patriot League.
"I worked last off-season on playing 15 feet (from the basket) and in," Mahoney said in an interview with TAPinto.net. "The coaches always talk about expanding your game."
The essential part of Mahoney's game, offensively, is his ability to play the low post, excelling on the blocks with the kind of back-to-the-basket positioning and baseline drop-step moves that are becoming lost arts in the latest 21st-century iteration of the game, where many teams either de-emphasize or simply lack players with bonafide low-post skills.
"I've heard that before," said Mahoney, a 2016 graduate of Ridge High School. "That all the '4's and '5's (big forwards and centers) are honing their 3-point games now. I just focus on being really good at scoring within the framework of the team."
That focus helped Mahoney to shoot .601 from the floor--by far the best field-goal percentage of any Terriers player this season. Mahoney also averaged 4.8 rebounds and led the team in blocked shots with 28.
"Making jumpers facing up and making the dribble move to the basket is something I worked on at school for half the summer," Mahoney said. "I was there with my coaches and some alumni that came back. I worked out with them five or six days a week while I was taking classes. I worked on basic footwork, post work and on my conditioning and staying in shape."
Mahoney's averages are all the more impressive in that they came while playing just 21 minutes per game. His ability to stay on the floor and out of foul trouble correlates directly with BU's ability to win. When Mahoney can stay on the floor, the Terriers have been a much more dangerous team.
Examples: Mahoney had his second-best game all season in the opening round of the Patriot League conference tournament, when he scored 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field in BU's 88-82 victory over Lehigh. But three days later, in the second round, Mahoney become mired in foul trouble early in the game, was limited to just seven minutes and BU lost to Bucknell, 90-59.
"He took his game to another level," Boston University coach Joe Jones told the Boston University Daily Free Press after the victory over Lehigh. "He was sensational.”
"I knew I had to approach that game with a different mindset, and to get aggressive right from the start," Mahoney said of his tournament game against Lehigh.
Mahoney, who averaged 12 minutes a game, 5.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in his freshman season, explained some of the biggest strides he was able to make before Year Two in college.
"Being able to play at this pace, and the physicality," Mahoney said. "Working on my body, eating right and not backing down to 6-10 seniors who have been in the league for four years."
Mahoney, whose grandfather, John, played college basketball at William & Mary before being drafted in the NBA's sixth round by the Boston Celtics in 1955, also has a younger sister, Molly, a junior who was a starter and key member of Ridge High's 2017 Group 4 state championship girls soccer team last fall.
The more time Max spends on Commonwealth Avenue near Kenmore Square--where he is majoring in business administration and management at Boston U.--the less he's able to get home to Basking Ridge.
"I am kind of settled in (at Boston U.) now," Mahoney said. "I do miss all my family, but I never got too homesick. I am surrounded by good people here, so it is a home away from home."