Heading into the Mid Atlantic Open, Moscow Red Legion’s Marcello Margott was sitting atop the Overall Player Ranking, as the highest ranked player in the world. After a disappointing finish in the MAO, not even making it to the semi-finals, Paintball Access catches up with Margott and picks his brain about their losses to Heat this year, the MAO, and who he thinks is playing well right now in the league.
We’re coming off the 4th event, the Mid Atlantic Open, it’s been a crazy season so far, you’ve been, personally, very successful, and have played some of the best paintball of your career in 2012, but team wise, it’s been incredibly frustrating, you just got knocked out of the last event by Houston Heat, again. You guys have lost to them 4 times this year. How does that feel?
It’s very frustrating. Whether it be Houston Heat or whoever, it’s just frustrating not to win. It has been Heat who’s had our number. As you said, they beat us 4 times out of 4 so far. But they’ve been close matches. To be honest, I don’t look at it as a loss to a particular team; I just look at it as a loss. Our team needs do what we need to do to win, regardless of whom we play.
Yeah, but that being said, when you look at that specific team (Heat), you’re looking at 4 losses to a team who A. you have players on your team who play with their top guys as Art Chaos in Europe and B. three of their senior guys, and two of the hardest dudes who ever played on Red Legion (Fedorov and Mishca) were stolen, left, or defected, whatever you want to call it, by Heat from Moscow. It’s a little crazy there. I know that’s tough. You guys have had a decent amount of success (two 2nd place finishes) for a team who rebuilt in the off-season, for a relatively new squad. You picked up Axel (Gaudin) whose playing well, Jason Wheeler, and yourself. You are all playing well, ranked pretty high. But what’s the missing piece to get it together and get a win?
It is tough and honestly we’re learning to believe in ourselves. In the beginning of the season there wasn’t a lot of faith out there as to how this team was going to do, there were a lot of questions from everybody, from fans, ourselves, the coaches. About how this was going to go, and what it was going to be. But we are doing pretty good; we’re playing well with one another. It’s going to take time; we’re learning how to lose with each other which helps you learn how to win with each other. It comes down to having faith in ourselves and each other, and knowing that on our best day, we can easily win one of these tournament, there were already a few tournaments this year I feel we could have won, if things had gone our way.
It’s not like you guys are getting blown out.
You guys aren’t losing any games by a ton of points; you’re losing these games by one point.
Oh for sure, it’s those long points, those close points. But again it comes down to believing in one another. If it starts going a little bit bad, we start losing that faith, and that should never happen, because we have such a talented team. I know we’re all excited for World Cup. After this event, more than any other event this season, Sunday night we had team dinner, we had a meeting, and I could tell in everybody’s eyes they were thinking, “Ok, we’re over this losing bullshit, we can win, and it’s bullshit it hasn’t happened, we can win one of these.” And I think we have that faith and belief now.
What are you personally going to do? Do you thing there’s more you can do, or do you feel like you’re giving it everything you have already?
There’s always more you can do.
So between now and World Cup what are your plans?
It’s the World Cup and every year I put myself through a crazy program and exert myself to the fullest and really just try to do everything I can to elevate my play. But it’s a team sport and I know my guys are training 5 days a week in Russia, so I need to do the same. And our goal is to win World Cup. Me personally, yeah, I can improve, there’s always room for improvement. Between now and then I’m going to be doing everything in my power to eliminate all the mistakes I’ve made, all the holes in my game. I may be ranked pretty high, but I’m still making mistakes, costly mistakes at times when the game is on the line. If you want to win, if you want to be the best, you can’t make those. That’s my main goal, stay mentally focused, get myself in great shape for ‘Cup.
We had a crazy competitive year so far, who, player wise, has impressed you this year?
It may be cliché, but honestly I’d say my teammates. Players that I have always known are extremely talented but never realized exactly how talented until now. Players like Maloy (Alexandr Berdnikov) who’s just an insanely talented and versatile player, it’s no wonder he’s been so good for so long. Kirill Prikhidni, who I think is the best role player in the game. He is the perfect example of a team player and a great teammate. Then you have players like Axel Gaudin, a young kid who just turned 19. Even though he’s had experience in the professional division over in Europe, it’s his first year in the PSP, the most talent filled league in the world, and he is continuing to surprise people. He has a lot of talent and if he can gain mental maturity he will continue to dominate and at a higher level. I believe the same applies for Jason wheeler.
There’s been a lot of players who have stepped up this year, that’s why it’s been such an interesting year. A lot of people are digging deep. Chad George has really impressed me, in the past I’ve always respected him as a player, but I thought of him more as a missile. He only knew one speed– just go. This year he’s really leveled it out a bit, and has been very effective for Heat.
Ryan Greenspan is having a great year though his team is not. He’s always an inspiration, just such a solid veteran. I’ve spent some time travelling around with him and he’s a professional.
Nico Perry, he’s not one of the top level players right now, but he’s 16, just turned 16 actually, and he’s a kid I’ve know for awhile. I like his aggression and he’s fearless. I think he’s going to be great eventually.
Yeah, he has a high talent level but the knock on Perry is he not very mentally tough, but then again, who is at 16, in his rookie year? He gets easily frustrated when things aren’t going his way. He needs some seasoning. We can both relate to that, I mean, I started playing pro when I was 16 years old, and I wasn’t mentally tough, didn’t take criticism well at all.
Yeah, me too.
He has a ton of potential. I would just like to see him understand the road is long, and for him to just go out there, get his reps, take his lumps. And it will come. At least seeing the frustration shows he really cares. That was you too right?
Yeah, exactly, it was.
What, 17 right? You have experience with that.
Yeah, we won two championships with the Ironmen, 17 and 18 years old for me. It’s like they say, you think you know everything when you’re that age. The future is very bright for that kid.