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ARG - Fjellerup learning game from Pepe Sanchez
DUBAI (FIBA U17 World Championship) - Don't be surprised if you see a bit of Pepe Sanchez in Maximo Fjellerup. After all, Argentina's leading scorer at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship is attending the academy of the former national team leader.
After playing fotr years with the national team - including winning the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and finishing runner-up at the 2002 World Championship - Sanchez decided to give back to his country by starting up a new basketball club in his home town of Bahia Blanca.
And one of the players at the club's academy is Fjellerup.
The native of Tres Arroyos made his top flight LNB debut in February 2014 and he played in four games for Sanchez's team this season - as a 16-year-old.
"Pepe is really helping me a lot," said Fjellerup, who started playing basketball around age seven.
The 1.94m shooting guard also said it's an honour to play for someone with as much experience as Sanchez.
"It's great. I think about his championships and how he played, it's something big. I like to learn from him."
Fjellerup landed at Estudiantes Bahia Blanca because his coach Gabriel Colamarino used to coach Sanchez.
"My coach talked to Pepe and that's how it worked out."
Fjellerup has three more years in the academy in which he plans predominantly to work on his defense.
"I think I have a good shot and my penetration is good. But I really have to improve on my defense," said Argentina's leading scorer (19.7 points) and rebounder (8.0 rebouinds) in the Group Phase in Dubai.
Fjellerup actually had contact with Sanchez back in July 2013 when he was selected to play at the Basketball without Borders (BWB) Americas camp in Buenos Aires, where Sanchez was one of the mentors along with fellow Argentina national team greats Luis Scola, Manu Ginobili, Carlos Delfino and Pablo Prigioni.
Argentina U17 coach Miguel Santander said Fjellerup has plenty of skills to work with.
"He has a talent as a combo guard. He's smart, really plays for the team. He can score on his own and drive. He's a very nice player," he said.
"He needs to work on his body. He needs to get stronger and get into better condition. But he is still very young and has a chance for a nice future."
Thanks large in part to Pepe Sanchez.