He was also named All-Big 12 honorable mention by the coaches. His 15 home runs ranked third on the team and he was fourth on the team in RBIs. Max homered in his first official appearance at the plate last year. His nine home runs tied for first in conference play.
In his sophomore season this year, Max has definitely picked it up a notch for the first 15 games of the season. As of March 11, 2011, Max is sporting a .429 average, which is second highest on the team for starters and fourth in the Big 12 Conference. His slugging percentage of .735 is tops in the Conference. Max is also leading the Conference in runs scored with 19. He is second in the conference with nine doubles. These are all great numbers especially when you consider he missed two games earlier in the season.
Why is there a big jump in his hitting production?
“A lot of the difference is experience,” Max explained. “Going to Omaha (College World Series) last year was great. It made me a lot better hitter overall.”
Max is listed on the OU web site as 6-1 and weighing 200, which is a lot bigger than his high school days.
“I put most of that (weight) on my freshman year, but I’ve put on about five pounds this year – all muscle,” said Max. “I’m a lot stronger now. My body fat is at ten percent. We’re in the weight room in the fall for four days a week and build strength. In the spring we work out twice a week to keep us flexible.”
So far this season the Sooners are undefeated with a 15-0 record all against non conference opponents. OU is ranked No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball and USA Today/Coaches this week and No. 3 by Baseball America and the NCBWA. Max has missed two of the early games with a slight muscle injury, but is totally healthy now. He has played some second base and left field this season. He played mainly at shortstop in high school.
“The team has a lot of depth and I can play almost anywhere, but I’ll play at the position that fits best for the team,” explained Max.
Max wears number seven on his uniform for the Sooners which is a change for him.
“I wanted number five, but it was taken so they suggested number seven and it seemed to fit,” said Max. “I’ve always liked number seven.”
When asked if he could give advice for a youngster who is in athletics and who wants to improve, Max responded:
“Listen to the people who are above you and work hard,” is what Max recommended. “I can hardly remember high school now; things have gone by so quickly.”
Max’s scholarship includes a three year commitment at OU after which he can be drafted by a Major League team.
“I just have to keep working hard and hopefully get a higher draft pick in my junior year,” Max said of the possibilities of playing professionally.
But there is a lot more to do at OU besides playing and practicing baseball. Max is leaning to a major in Communications.
“I spend a lot of time in study hall,” Max admitted. “You’ve got to keep your head on straight with grades.”
“Parents, aunts and uncles and grandparents (Durant Mayor Jerry Tomlinson) and some friends have come to see my games,” said Max. “I also have a relative in Norman and they’ve been here too. We get quite a showing from Durant.”
“I want to thank people in Durant for all their support,” said Max. ‘I’m just going to try to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”