As a young boy, Max Hopfgartner’s father told him to always pursue what he wanted. Those words lead Hopfgartner to pursue sports during his early years and find basketball to fit in his dreams.
Hopfgartner grew up in Salburg, Austria, until the age of 17 and moved to America during his junior year in high school. He has had the opportunity to play for both the men’s national team in Austria and the John Brown University Golden Eagles.
Last semester, Hopfgartner made over 1,000 collegiate career points. His coaches and teammates at JBU have helped challenge him to always be the best possible player he could be.
“I don’t think anyone in our league out-works Max when it comes to how much time outside of practice he puts into improving his game. He is in the gym consistently and faithfully, day after day, honing his skills. That is a quality that pretty much all great players possess—that insatiable hunger to get better,” said Hopfgartner’s current coach, Jason Beschta.
“Max is a driven individual on and off the court,” said Hopfgartner’s teammate, Nate Anderson. “He always gives his best at whatever he does.”
“We have some really unselfish players this year,” said Hopfgartner.
His time in practices and on the court during the games have taught him to rely on his teammates as well as learn to step up and be a leader.
“He is a very good model of a student athlete where he does well in the classroom as well as the basketball court,” said Clark Sheehy, Hopfgartner’s former basketball coach. He remembered him being a well-rounded student both on the court and in the classroom.
Hopfgartner’s teammates have viewed him as a leader in more ways than one. He earned his role by showing up everyday with the same effort and attitude. “Max buys in to the standards which must be met for our team to be successful, and he holds himself and his teammates accountable to them,” said Beschta.
Although many outside of the sports world see him as quiet, he is a friend to many who have the pleasure of knowing him.
“Beware of that Austrian smile,” said Daniel Lauer, one of Hopfgartner’s friends and teammates. “After he gets you with his kindness, he gets you with his charm.”
Hopfgartner is currently studying renewable energy and hopes to pursue a career in that long-term. His ultimate dream would be to play for a major team in Spain after graduation, and he hopes that he will be able to balance both basketball and a career in renewable energy. Sheehy and Beschta both agree that Hopfgartner will have no problem finding his place in the world after graduation.