2005 Focus: Martynas Pocius

Martynas Pocius played well enough with the Lithuanian Junior National Team this past year to earn the chance to play in the U.S. He's wasting little time taking advantage of the opportunity by excelling at the Holderness School in New Hampshire.

When you think about Lithuanians coming over to the United States, you picture big men like Avydas Sabonis and Zydrunas Ilgauskas in the NBA and Linzas Keliza and Paulius Joneliunas in college.

Martynas Pocius may not have been blessed with the size of some of his countrymen. Instead, the Holderness School (N.H.) 6-4 junior evokes comparisons to another Lithuanian star – Sarunas Marciulionas.

Marciulionas was a deceptive athlete who was a quality three-point shooter in the NBA. The 17-year-old Pocius has some of the same skills – the ability to knock down the long-range shot, get to the basket and play both backcourt spots.

The 6-4, 185-pound Pocius is more of a natural two-man, but he passes well and makes good decisions. He's efficient with his offensive opportunities and is almost too unselfish.

In a recent win over Middlesex, Pocius was 6-of-7 from the field – with his lone miss coming on a dunk attempt. He knocked down all three of his attempts from beyond the arc and also had a pair of pretty reverse layups. Pocius is averaging 16.9 points per contest and has connected on 22 trifectas in 15 games this season.

``He's definitely more athletic than people realize," Holderness coach Jamie Gallagher said. "He's sneaky and has great touch. For him, an 8-footer is like a layup."

Pocius came to the United States in late-October after performing well for the Lithuanian under-18 Junior National Team. He will return to play for his country in the European Championships in early April before coming back to the U.S. and playing a limited amount of AAU ball this summer.

Pocius, who has been studying English for five years and speaks the language extremely well, needs to improve his ballhandling skills to be able to play some point guard and will also need to become a better defender before he gets to the next level. For now, he's fairly unclear about where he'd like to play his college ball.

``I've gotten some interest from Kansas and I'm real excited about that," said Pocius, who has also gotten looks from Dayton. "That's where I'd like to go, but I want to go somewhere that I can play right away."

If he continues playing like he did last week, there should be no shortage of suitors.

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