When Martin Geben steps onto the basketball floor, the fans will not see any razzle and dazzle.
What one will see, however, is a young man who brings a lunch pail — also known as workmanlike effort — to the gym.
Geben, a 6-foot-9 junior who hails from Vilnius, Lithuania, is the prize catch of St. Maria Goretti and, sometime soon, will be the same for a fortunate NCAA Division I college.
Geben was instrumental in leading Goretti to a 21-13 record this season, the first time since 2004-05 that the Gaels exceeded 20 wins in a season. Goretti also went 7-7 in the Baltimore Catholic League, a .500 mark the Gaels have not been accustomed to in recent years.
He averaged 16.2 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He scored more than 20 points in a game 10 times, with career single-game highs of 34 points and 21 rebounds.
The numbers weren’t Lebron James-like out in the stratosphere, but Geben wasn’t worried about piling up big personal numbers.
Geben is The Herald-Mail’s 2012-13 Washington County Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
His postseason honors began surprisingly when he was voted by BCL coaches as its player of the year, an award that came as a surprise considering he won over some more established conference stars.
“I really did not expect that,” Geben said. “When they read through the first team and didn’t hear my name, then I thought something was going to happen. It’s a really great honor.”
After a sophomore season in which Geben averaged 12.9 points and 8.3 rebounds, he embarked on changing his body during the offseason. Knowing he had to get stronger, Geben put on 50 pounds to reach 250 with much more muscle. He also happened to grow two inches.
“My main goals coming here were to get stronger, get experience and establish myself as a post player,” said Geben, who also likes shooting from range, including 3-pointers. “The biggest thing was adapting to the physical play.”
Gaels coach Amrit Rayfield is all smiles over his junior, which he has for another year.
“He has a passion and competitive edge for the game,” Rayfield said. “He has a brutal refuse-to-lose attitude. Sometimes it has to be channeled. He has a tremendous IQ for the game. I remember when he got off the plane when he first came here, he was this skinny 6-7, 195-pound kid. He’s transformed his body. And to win the BCL honor shows the respect of the coaches in the league.”
Geben’s hometown is the capital of Lithuania, with around a 3 million population. Geben will go home for a month after school recesses for the year, then will be back here as he primes for his senior year.
“I always wanted to come to the USA to experience the culture,” Geben said. “It is so different.”
Honors are likely to continue coming Geben’s way, this year and next when he faces the mammoth decision of what school he wants to attend. At this time, he has nearly 15 offers on the table, and he plans on making visits this summer.
“Growing up back home, you didn’t get much news on college basketball, you paid attention to the NBA,” Geben said. “My favorite player was Dirk Nowitzki because he played inside and outside, and I also like Kevin Love.”
No surprise there. Geben’s style of game is similar to either of those NBA stars.
Joining Geben on the All-County First Team are:
Sterling Christy, Williamsport
The 6-foot-4 junior forward averaged 16.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 1.7 blocks a game for the Wildcats.
Nnamdi Enechionyia, Saint James
The 6-foot-6 senior guard/forward averaged 14.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game. Signed to play basketball at Samford (Fla.) University.
Obi Enechionyia, Saint James
The 6-foot-8 junior forward is a two-time all-county honoree. The 2011-12 Herald-Mail Player of the Year averaged 19.4 points, 12.7 rebounds and 4.0 blocks per outing this season while shooting 50 percent from the field.
Tyrus Fleetwood, St. Maria Goretti
The 6-foot senior guard was second in scoring for the Gaels at 13.3, averaged 3.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals and was the BCL’s most improved player, as voted on by the league’s coaches.
Devon King, South Hagerstown
The 6-foot-4 senior forward is a three-time all-county honoree. Averaged 19.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.8 steals and 2.2 blocked shots while shooting 54 percent from the floor.
Kenny McCrary, North Hagerstown
The 6-foot-3 senior forward is likely the surprise of Washington County. He averaged 11.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.3 blocks a game. Shot 61.5 percent from the field (a school record) and had 271 total rebounds (the second highest single-season total at North).
Mawdo Sallah, Broadfording
The 6-foot-7 senior center averaged 18 points, 14.8 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots per game. Was a second-team all-county honoree last year.
All-County Second Team
Moni Anderson Senior Guard Broadfording
Scott Bennett Senior Forward Boonsboro
Alex Cosner Junior Forward Heritage Academy
Xavier Freeman Senior Guard South Hagerstown
Kevin Gibson Senior Guard Smithsburg
Michael Hill Senior Forward South Hagerstown
Nick Johnson Senior Forward Williamsport
Isaiah Keyes Junior Guard North Hagerstown
Boonsboro — Chad Cowden, Casey Strunk; Broadfording — Cisco Silva, Ben Cradduck; Clear Spring — Ryan Aaron, Michael Riley; Grace Academy — Hakeem Long, Edward Booth; Hancock — Jordan Tosten, Hunter McKinley, Noah Teeter; Heritage Academy — Ben Cosner, Bryce Nigh, Chris Harrell; Highland View Academy — Arthur Thomas, Huner Sorenson, Justin Osoro; North Hagerstown — Max Ober, Andrew Yacyk; Saint James — Sherman Harris, Fred Slater; Smithsburg — Matt Sprecher, Cobi King; South Hagerstown — Drequan Johnson; St. Maria Goretti — Forrest Buterbaugh, Ryan Grant; Williamsport — Riley Arnone.