She made the selection of the week this year three times already and she is the best player of our team currently. She upped a level, and this can not only be seen in points and rebounds but in her attitude too. She knows and feels that if she plays well that can be the key to the team’s success and when she ‘fumbles’ she can put her teammates in a difficult position. We talked to our center, Beatrix Mérész, in the first week of the national team break
The break was timed well, she is recovering from a minor injury, but she promises to be 100% by the time of the key games of the regular seasons. She is having a hard time with rest anyway and even though the whole team got a break she cannot wait to be back to practice. The last three games of the regular season will be key but right now we will reflect on the past period instead of looking forward.
“I fault myself for losing the Vasas and BKG games. I did not play well in neither game, and I did not shoot well, and I should have given more. I don’t like finding faults in others because it was my responsibility there.” She says she is not the nervous type, and the stakes don’t bother her. She is experienced I tell her then we smile because she turned only 22 in December.
With that, this is her fifth season in the league, fourth at BEAC. Some were surprised that she signed her contract extension for this season.
“I don’t understand why. They like me here and I like to be here. I am far from being a mature player. I do learn something new every week at practice that I can build into my game and be better. I also don’t have foreign players in front of me, so I get plenty of opportunities and playing time.
In my position, I usually play against foreign players in the championship but in BEAC, the success of the game rides on me too. If I must, I need to be able to take that last shot in a close game. No player can learn more from the game than this.”
When I poke at why she became a key player in her fourth year, she reflects back far.
“My first BEAC year was taken away by the sickness I had. I spent five months having the mono. My spleen did not want to heal and there was a point when the doctor said that this could be the end of professional sports. I broke down. I could not study, and I never had a problem with school. School and basketball went hand in hand, if I did not study, I could not go to practice, so I had to put the time in with school. When basketball was in danger I did not care for school. Then I finally healed, but I had to build myself up physically and bring my game up again. Then, this was followed by COVID and when I finally found myself the season ended. Actually, only last year by PlayOut did I feel that I could finally play the way I wanted to.”
You could build on this and Trixi put in a lot of time and energy in the summer to improve by the season. It was also useful that her summer was ‘empty’ in terms of basketball.
“After the national team program in May, I had nothing else planned for the summer and I practically worked the whole summer with Bubu before the pre-season period. We fixed a lot of small moves and I needed those to start the season the way I did. Of course, there are a lot of things to do still but I feel that I am building myself form week to week.”
Her repertoire grew because she started shooting from the outside more and not inefficiently. Her change is conscious but she sort of accepted that ‘she will grow old as a four player.”
“I am not especially tall and my strength in not the muscle play underneath the basket either. I am working on stabilizing my mid-range and outside shots so the opponents would have a hard time guarding me.”
Does not always work but in important games she usually scored in doubles. She does not care about the stakes which is proved by the fact that she did her best against TFSE this year. That was the game when it was decided that we can make the Hungarian Cup after finishing among the top eight teams.
“It could not be that we would not be in the cup! I can block out the outside influences in a game usually and I don’t hear the fans. During the game, the only thing that I pay attention to is the game and front the outside, I only her Bubu’s voice. I block everything else out. Of course, when I sit down on the bench, it is great to hear the fans cheering.”
Among the big wins in the fall, and despite the stakes and the success, this is not what matters to her most. She tears up when we talk about the game against Győr.
“I had a serious family tragedy that morning and I was not even sure I could play. I did not play well in the first half. At halftime, I worked on myself mentally and my mom sent me an important message. For the second half, I gave it my all and I was not even always award of the score, and I saw at the end how much we won by. That game stayed with me for a long time.”
She sees the key to this year’s success in team unity.
“Those games work for us where we can continually encourage each other even if something is not working. When the bench is with us and we pay attention to each other on the floor, we could not be in big trouble.”
We could not avoid talking about what lays ahead and the analysis of the key games. She says it straight up: she would view it as a failure if the team could not make the top eight. Even though she knows she is still at the beginning of her career, and she will have plenty of opportunities to be in the top. No doubt, many people will knock on her door, but she is not thinking about those right now, even though her long-term goals are defined.
“I have one more year of school and then basketball will be in the forefront. A big dream of mine is to try myself out abroad.”
Looking at her form right now, she has every opportunity to make her big dream a reality. For now, however, we have important tasks in the near future: to help her team make the top eight teams and remain healthy in the process!