One on one with Marie Peeters

Gepubliceerd op 1 april 2024 om 11:00

Despite facing initial challenges in breaking into the highly competitive realm of Division One basketball in Belgium, Marie Peeters remained undeterred. She utilized each setback as fuel to hone her skills and prove her worth. Today, with over 8 years of Division One experience, Marie stands as a beacon of tenacity and growth. Liège Panthers must be proud to have a player like Marie in the team! Photo: Fiba Europe

1.  What inspired you to start playing basketball at such a young age?

“I started playing at the age of 9. My brother already played basketball and I wanted to try this sport as well. I immediately loved this sport, and I still do.”

2.  Can you describe your experience making your debut at the highest level of basketball in Belgium at Liège Panthers?

“Well, my first steps in the first division weren't that easy. There were a lot of girls playing on the same position as me. I spent 4 to 5 years on the bench without playing, but I kept working hard because I knew I had the feeling that I could do it. So I've been playing in Division One for 8 years now, but I've received more minutes in the last 3 to 4 years.”

3.  What do you enjoy most about being a professional basketball player?

“Actually, I am maybe a semi-professional player, because I am currently doing a complementary master's degree in entrepreneurship. Before that, I was studying civil engineering at the University of Liège. So for the last 8 years, I've been combining my studies with high-level basketball.”

4.  How has your game evolved since you first started playing at the highest level?

“I started playing in Division One at the age of 16, when I was still very young. So, my game has evolved a lot! The most significant improvements have been in my shoot, defense and game vision.”

5.  What has been the most memorable moment of your basketball career so far?

“I think during in the World Championship with the Belgian Cats under 19 in 2019, and ending on the 4th place. Even though I didn't get much minutes, it was an incredible experience where we got to meet players like Caitlin Clark, Paige Buckers and Hailey Van Lith.”

6.  How does it feel to represent Belgium on the international stage with the youth team of the Belgian Cats?

“I've always been very proud to be able to represent Belgium at international tournaments. These experiences have always been an enrichment from both a human and a basketball point of view. It also enabled me to travel a lot and discover new cultures.”

7. Can you share any challenges you've faced throughout your basketball journey and how you overcame them?

“My main challenges were to prove those who didn't believe in me that they were wrong.”

8. What are your goals for the future, both individually and with your team?

“Well, I think to continue to enjoy playing basketball. I'd like to continue improving my shooting and defense. Our aim this year with Liège Panthers is to finish in the 5th place in the championship. Next year's objectives will be defined at the beginning of the season.”

9.  How important is teamwork and camaraderie in achieving success on the court?

“I think that in a sport like basketball team chemistry is essential. Our coach always gives us two quotes at the end of the match: ‘Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the “Me” for the “We”’, and also: ‘The sign of a great player is how much he or she elevates his colleagues’ performances’.”

10.  How do you stay focused and motivated during challenging times, such as injuries or losing streaks?

“Fortunately, I've never had any major injuries, so I try to take care of my body and rest well and work with the physio when I have minor ones. Losing streaks are never easy, but you have to overcome them as a team.”

11.  What do you think sets Belgian basketball apart from other countries?

“We may be geographically a small country, but a very big one if it comes to getting stronger every year. What the Cats have achieved in recent years is simply incredible. Their main strength is that they play like a real team and with their hearts. I think the men's team is also playing stronger every year.”

12. How do you see the future of women's basketball in Belgium evolving?

“I think it's changing in a positive way! Because of the performances of the Belgian Cats, basketball is becoming more and more popular. There are more people at the games and more young players who want to become a Belgian Cat in the future.”

13.  What do you think are the keys to success for young players hoping to make it to the highest level of basketball?

“I think the main key is hard work and perseverance. Also: never give up, because with hard work anything is possible.”

14.  What kind of advice would you give to young aspiring basketball players?

“The main advice I would give is simply to believe in themselves and never give up. Success often takes time.”

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