Bucks’ MarJon Beauchamp on Giannis Antetokounmpo: ‘He is a great role model’

MarJon Beauchamp has had a bit of an up-and-down season with the Milwaukee Bucks, but the 24th pick has impressed plenty of individuals along the way.

Beauchamp didn’t play immediately to start the season. But once some players went down with injuries, the team leaned on him heavily over a stretch in November. He averaged eight points and 4.8 rebounds over a nine-game span and even started six times. He scored in double figures three times in that stretch, including a career-high 20 points on Nov. 14.

The performances by Beauchamp earned high praise from his teammates, including Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two-time Most Valuable Player was seemingly most impressed with the way Beauchamp came into the season ready to work.

“I think he has a skill set that is unique,” Antetokounmpo said on Nov. 15. “He plays with a lot of energy. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and he is a guy that leads by example. He is not a big talker. He is going to go out there, play the right way and try to get the job done. It kind of reminds me a lot of how it used to be when I was younger.”

Following that run by Beauchamp, minutes dried up and he nearly spent a month out of the rotation. He eventually played in 17 straight games from Dec.13-Jan. 14, averaging 6.6 points and 2.2 rebounds. Since then, though, Beauchamp has only made nine appearances.

With playing time limited, the Bucks sent Beauchamp to the G League.

He has made four appearances with the Wisconsin Herd, including two games this week. In a unique scheduling quirk, Beauchamp played with the Herd on Tuesday morning against the Lakeland Magic in Orlando, just hours before the Magic hosted the Bucks at Amway Center.

Beauchamp produced a season-high 24 points and eight rebounds on Tuesday in a loss to the Lakeland Magic. He scored 11 points alone in the fourth quarter and finished the game by shooting 10-of-15 from the field, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range.

“We’re very excited about how he has grown and developed,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said of Beauchamp. “He has had some moments where he has gotten some significant minutes with our team and then we’ve been healthier and he hasn’t got to play as much, and has played in the G League.

“Getting those opportunities and showing an ability to play and compete on an NBA level was huge. I’m sure, for him, it’s not easy to not continue to get to play and be on the court but he is working before and after practice in the weight room. We feel like he has a bright future and we are really happy with how he is growing.”

Rookie Wire caught up with Beauchamp after his performance in Orlando and discussed his minutes in the G League, playing with Antetokounmpo, his rookie season and more.

What is your mindset coming into your G League games?

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MB: I just try to picture everything I can do with the Bucks and what my role is over there and try to bring it over here and still work on my game. That is defense, making the right plays and the right passes, and really just taking the open shots. Play hard and play with energy.

How valuable are these minutes with the Herd?

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MB: It is great to get that feel and work on your game. Definitely conditioning-wise, when you’re not playing, to be able to go up and down — I feel like that is very helpful. I just take advantage of it and whenever they call me down, try to get better that day.

Players have said the pace of the game is even faster in the G League. Have you noticed that, as well?

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MB: Definitely! In the G League, spacing is a little different and the speed. The NBA is more spaced. I feel like it is more slowed down. In the G League, I feel like, they try to speed you up so I feel like you gotta just play at your own pace.

Do you feel like guys are going at you more because you're a first-round pick?

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MB: They definitely try to talk to me. Coach told me before the game: ‘They are going to come at you.’ You gotta just play with an intensity and that chip on your shoulder and play hard.

How difficult is that to stay ready with the Bucks when your name may be called?

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MB: It is very difficult when you care about the game and want to play. Mentally, I’m in a great space right now and every day I just try to work on my routine and stick with my routine. You never know what’s going to happen so you just gotta stay ready and trust your work and keep putting in the work when you’re not playing. I think I’ve been doing that pretty well.

How important has it been for you to use a mental coach?

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MB: It is very helpful. Dr. Craig Manning, who I work with right now, has been very helpful and I feel like I’ve grown so much since I’ve been here with him. We work on being assertive. Even when you’re not playing, just have broad shoulders and stay confident about yourself because you’re not here for no reason. We just work on little things you can’t control so I feel like I’ve been in a good state of mind.

Using a mental coach, was that something that other players have recommended?

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MB: I was seeing Dr. Craig Manning like twice a week and (Giannis) noticed that. He was like: ‘Man, stick with that. That’s 50% of the game. Taking care of your mental is very important.’ If the best player in the world is saying that, it is serious so I tried to take advantage of that.

How big has Giannis been for you this season?

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MB: He has been big. He told me: ‘(You’re) not playing right now but it’s not about moving up, it’s about moving forward each day. Just get better at everything and focus on yourself without being selfish.’ He has been big. He put that confidence in me when I was playing early in the season and he is just a great role model. I try to take everything he does — routine, level of focus, etc. I have never seen a player like that. I understand why he is the best player in the world.

What has surprised you the most about him?

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MB: How goofy he is. He loves making jokes. He is like a little kid. I didn’t know he was going to be like that. I thought he was just going to be so serious about the game, and he is, but he also has moments where he is just chill. He is just a great person, overall. I’ve never met someone like that with that energy.

Have you had a chance to look and appreciate your journey to this point?

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MB: Every day. I just gotta remind myself that I feel like I’m chosen because of everything I’ve been through and that’s the way I am today. I’m grateful for every opportunity and I don’t take it for granted. I look back every day and I’m like, ‘Dang! My life could be so much different.’ God had a plan for me and I just stick with God because God got me here. I’m forever going to be humble and just keep working and the sky is the limit.

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire