Coach Speak: Geben is a "Dream to Coach"

Hagerstown (Md.) St. Maria Goretti High School sophomore power forward Martin Gebens has gone from a mid-major recruit to picking up four major offers in one week alone. Gebens' head coach at St. Maria Goretti, Amrit Rayfield, gives the full story here...

Hagerstown (Md.) St. Maria Goretti High School sophomore power forward Martin Gebens has gone from a mid-major recruit to picking up four major offers in one week alone.

The 6-foot-9, 220-pound Lithuanian native picked up offers from Notre Dame, Virginia, Villanova and Maryland last week. Gebens already holds offers from Xavier, Loyola, St. Joesph's, and Temple among others and is taking recruiting scene by storm.

Gebens' head coach at St. Maria Goretti, Amrit Rayfield, is not surprised about mounting interest in the big man.

"Its was an interesting week with the new offers, four major offers in the four days, basically Notre Dame, Maryland, Virginia and Villanova, but it is not really not a surprise to me," Rayfield said. "He has been with us for two seasons and his progress as a player has been the same way and along the same trajectory."

Rayfield said Gebens has not only developed physically, he has also become a multi-dimensional player on the court.

"He has grown physically about an inch and a half and he has put on about 30 to 35 pounds of solid weight since he has been here and his game has evolved quite a bit," Rayfield said. "He went from being a spot up three-point shooter to more of a guy who can go inside and outside and that has really helped him in his recruitment."

Rayfield continued, "He has always been a very skilled kid great hands, great feet and just has a really good feel for the game. He also has a high basketball IQ and that has really helped his progress in this country."

Rayfield said when Gebens first got to the United States it took some time for him to adjust to the physicality of the game.

"The biggest difference for him was going up against the athleticism and size of the players here in this country and the style of play," Rayfield said. "Once he got accustomed to a more physical style of play he was fine."

"He just continued to progress, he was very lightly recruited this time last year and I can understand that being in this country for this first time. No one has really seen or heard about him," Rayfield said. "Then he hit the AAU circuit in the spring and summer he started to pick up interest from some Patriot League teams, some Ivy's and then some Atlantic 10 teams in the fall."

Rayfield said after the fall is when Gebens really made the jump as a player.

"He continued to get better and better, just the work ethic and the daily improvement he made. He went to honorable mention all-Baltimore catholic league player to player of the year, " Rayfield said. "He really never stopped working and then when he hit the AAU circuit this spring, he had a big couple of weekends on the Nike circuit and he kind of blew up after that."

If Gebens' work ethic and talent as a basketball player weren't enough, Rayfield said Gebens is just as dedicated in the classroom.

""He really wants to get into a good engineering program and he takes all honors classes. He will probably be in two AP class next year," Rayfield said. "His academics are very important, he is a great student who knows what he wants to do academically. Rayfield added, "he is looking for that school with an academic reputation, so that is going to be a huge factor for him."

Despite all the recent attention, Rayfield said Gebens remains humble and hard working.

"He is a really great kid, a very bright kid," Rayfield said. "He is really grounded as a person. It's been overwhelming; I think that's one word he would use to describe it, but at the same time he's still humble and grounded."

"He is still in that mode where he works hard and is hungry to get better which is great," Rayfield said. "I think that really says a lot about him because for being a teenager to stay that way when Coach Brey calls you one day and coach Turgeon calls you the next and then Coach Bennett calls you, it could be overwhelming, but he is just taking it in stride."

Rayfield continued, "He doesn't get overtaken by the recruitment himself; but he certainly has taken a lot more phone calls, text massages, media requests and interviews, so by the time he gets to college that interview room will be nothing."

Gebens' parents are still in Lithuania but thanks to social media and modern technology he is able to keep them in the loop on his recruitment. In addition, Rayfield said Gebens has a strong support system here in the United States.

"I stay in touch with his Mom quite a bit and his host family does a great job as well," Rayfield said. "Each time he gets an offer he is able to talk to his parents on Skype or Facebook, so we are able to keep them involved in the process, but he definitely has a big support system. "

It's usually hard enough to find a high school player with just one of Gebens' qualities: dedication, talent, brains and modesty and Coach Rayfield said it's an experience he has thoroughly enjoyed.

"He has certainly been a dream for us to coach," Rayfield said. "And I know he will certainly be a dream for whoever gets him this time next year and for the next four years after that, he is just a great kid all around."

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