Geldenhuys heads from Rio to SSU

PORTSMOUTH — At first look, Markus Geldenhuys may not have the most intimidating size for a post player.

However, his effort, heart and overall feel for the game speak volumes as to how Geldenhuys is a college post.

Geldenhuys, who played his first two collegiate campaigns at the University of Rio Grande, will make the move to Shawnee State after two seasons with the Red Storm.

The junior, who hails from Pretoria, South Africa, will suit up in a SSU uniform beginning with the 2020-21 season.

For Geldenhuys, the opportunity to play for a program that won 21 games last season and which has a plethora of talented newcomers coming in under a strong coaching staff is one that truly excites the forward.

“For me, it’s a big opportunity to get better at my game, personally, as well as learning how to integrate myself into a new program,” Geldenhuys said. “I’m looking forward to being with the team. I really like the guys. I believe that we have a lot of potential to be good. We have to hold each other accountable, and if we do that, I think we’re going to be good.”

Lunnemann aids development

From the time Geldenhuys was a young grade schooler, there was always one person — in particular — who proved to be critical in his basketball development.

Dubravka Lunnemann, a native of Serbia, is coaching at Michael Mount Waldorf School.

Through Lunnemann’s teachings, Geldenhuys developed his post game and became a college-level player.

“She did a lot of work with me — really since I was in the second or third grade — teaching me the basics and the mental aspect of basketball,” Geldenhuys said. “Thanks to her tutelage, I developed all the way through to my senior year, and then she told me that I needed to go to the United States.”

Believing in big goals

Following a sophomore season where Geldenhuys started 18 of Rio Grande’s 30 games and shot 50.8-percent from the field in those contests, his next step has led to an opportunity with SSU, where the forward already sees the potential that the current 15-man group has.

“It’s been amazing,” Geldenhuys said. “There’s been great energy. It’s going to be fun. It’s been good so far, and I’ve really enjoyed it. Athletically, we’re here for a championship. It’s that simple. That’s the mindset that our coaches have given us.”

Beside learning from an excellent coaching staff led by Delano Thomas’ strength in developing all-conference big men as well as a committed unit on the defensive end of the floor, Geldenhuys — an exercise science major — sees the bigger picture beyond the floor as well.

“Our goal, as a team, is to win,” Geldenhuys said. “Academically, I want to graduate with good colors, I want to do well, and just be a college student-athlete.”

That, however, comes from understanding the opportunity that he has in the United States to not only pursue a four-year education, but develop lasting relationships that will continue well past his playing days on the court.

“It’s amazing,” Geldenhuys said. “I give myself a pat on the shoulder. Not in an egotistical way. It’s more about telling myself to keep going, keep working. To come from South Africa to Rio Grande, and then from Rio Grande to Shawnee State, it’s a different level and a higher level of basketball at each point. That’s given me a confidence boost, especially coming from Rio to SSU.”

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