Similar to the way his game has grown since coming over from Lithuania two years ago, Martin Geben has seen his recruitment take an upward trajectory in recent weeks.
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey extended an offer to the 2014 power forward from St. Maria Goretti High School in Hagerstown, Md., after watching the 6-foot-9, 225-pounder at the Nike EYBL in Hampton, Va. over the weekend
“He’s a kid that takes it all in stride, but I’m sure he was certainly honored by getting the offer from Coach Brey,” Goretti head coach Amrit Rayfield said. “I’m pretty sure that there’s going to be some serious consideration.
“These last couple of weekends have really opened up a lot of doors for him. He already had Temple and Xavier, Dayton, GW, St. Joe’s and a lot of the A-10s, but after this weekend he has Notre Dame and Maryland.”
The latest offers will undoubtedly have Geben looking at the highest levels of college basketball.
“His thought process is probably going to change a little bit, but at the same time, he stays grounded,” his coach said. “Academics are very important to him, so I think with Notre Dame’s academic situation and basketball situation, it’ll be a matter of sitting down and seeing what the best fit is going to be for him.”
The Irish are recruiting Geben as a power forward with the ability to step outside.
“He’s a face-up, stretch-4 type guy,” Rayfield said. “He has the ability to finish around the basket with great hands, but he also has the ability to step out and make threes to stretch defenses. We’re really working on putting the ball on the ground and doing some things off the bounce with him as well.”
Geben moved to the states in August of 2011 and played his sophomore and junior seasons here.
“He’s improved so much in the last year,” Rayfield said. “He’s increased his size. Fortunately for him, he’s grown about an inch, so he’s 6-9. He’s put on some weight, so he’s about 225, 230. He’s always been a very skilled kid. I think his toughness around the basket has improved; his ability to rebound at a high level, be able to defend multiple positions, he’s very mobile for his size, he runs the floor well, moves his feet well, he’s getting more explosive around the basket.
“He’s able to finish right around the rim now. When he got here, he was a typical European guy, where finishing around the rim was finger rolls and reverse layups. Now he’s learning to finish above the rim, which has helped him quite a bit.”
Rayfield credits Geben’s work ethic for his improvements.
“He went from honorable mention in the Baltimore Catholic League to Player of the Year in one year’s time,” he said. “That’s the same league where (current Irish point guard) Eric Atkins shared that same honor. That really shows his progress as a player and getting accustomed to the American game, the toughness, athleticism and those things that are required have really helped him a great deal.
“He was really thrown in the fire quickly in the Baltimore Catholic League and the schedule we play. He responded very well, but it was still a little bit of a grind for him. He just keeps getting better in all phases. For him, it’s kind of a weekly, monthly type thing where he’s looking to improve on something and with his work ethic, he’s really taken off.”