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Ryan grad Mokseckas starring early at Campbell

Gediminas Mokseckas scored a team-high 14 points in his first game at Campbell University. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Gediminas Mokseckas is just doing what he has always done.

He’s doing his best.

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Mokseckas, a 2020 graduate of Archbishop Ryan High School, who came to the Raiders from Lithuania prior to his junior year, is now playing at Campbell University, a Division I program in Buies Creek, North Carolina. And it didn’t take him long to make an impact.

The former do-everything swingman for the Raiders is now one of the first guys off the bench for the Fighting Camels, and in his first game, he scored a team-high 14 points to lead Campbell to a win over St. Andrews Presbyterian.

Ever since, he’s been getting the call early and often, and he’s shined whenever he gets in the game.

“I’ve just tried to play hard and do whatever I can to help the team,” said Mokseckas, who is playing forward for the Fighting Camels. “It hasn’t been too hard learning everything because I’ve played for a lot of coaches and I’ve learned a lot, and a lot of what we do is a lot of what we did at Ryan. It’s a lot of cutting and a lot of sharing the ball.”

Mokseckas was a solid player for the Raiders from the time he joined the program two years ago, but when the pressure was on, he was at his best.

Last year, after Catholic League leading scorer Aaron Lemon-Warren was injured late in league play, Mokseckas took over as the top scorer on the Raiders and led the team on a run in the playoffs that included a trip to the Catholic League semifinals, and helped Ryan advance to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs. The run ended due to coronavirus when the PIAA shut down play, so the Raiders were still playing when play was halted.

The run in the Catholic League was impressive because the Raiders knocked off a talented McDevitt team and played head to head with a Neumann-Goretti team that, like McDevitt, was loaded with Division I talent.

“I think after Aaron went down, I had to do a lot more, but I wasn’t doing it myself, we had such a good team,” Mokseckas said. “My job was to play unselfish and get everyone the ball. We missed Aaron a lot, but I tried to do what I could to help. I thought we did really well.”

Mokseckas showed the world what he could do when he was the guy, and that helped give his confidence heading into college.

But Campbell wanted him before the run, and he was happy to sign there late in the year

“I went in November and I really liked it,” Mokseckas said. “It’s a great school. It’s great academically, and that was very important to me, and it’s a great (basketball) program. It’s been a great fit for me.”

Mokseckas gives the Fighting Camels a guy who played every position in high school. While he’s focusing on forward for Campbell, it helps that he has the experience of doing a little bit of everything against top competition.

“I think playing guard in high school helped a lot because there’s not a huge difference now between the guards I played in high school and the forwards I’m playing against now,” said Mokseckas, who scored 10 points in a loss to North Carolina State in a recent game. “The Catholic League is great competition. It was great to get experience playing against those types of guys.

“Ryan helped me a lot. Coach (Joe) Zeglinski helped me a lot. I wouldn’t be playing Division I basketball if I didn’t come here and play for Ryan. And I made a lot of good friends there.”

Mokseckas doesn’t have the luxury of having his family at games. His family is still in Lithuania, but that doesn’t mean they’re not watching him do great things. Most of the Fighting Camels’ games are on ESPN-Plus, so even with the distance, they’re able to watch him on the streaming service.

“It’s good they’re able to watch, they were only able to watch some home games last year when we would put them online, but this year they’re able to watch most of them and they do, even though there’s a big time difference,” Mokseckas said. “I’m always talking to them. We do a lot of FaceTime and a lot of voice calls. It’s good that we’re able to talk a lot. Even though there’s the time difference, we are always in touch.”

Just as he was in Philly, Mokseckas is right at home in North Carolina.

Things are a lot difference because of coronavirus, and campus has been quite empty since classes stopped. Things won’t pick up until mid-January when classes resume, but he’s staying busy with his teammates.

“I like college because everyone is right here,” he said. “At Ryan, everyone lived pretty far from each other so it was hard to hang out. Here, everyone is right there.

“It’s been really quiet since school ended. It’s really just been the men’s team, the women’s team and the swimming team. It’s been good, though.”

He’s also doing well in school.

Though he hasn’t really started taking classes in his major, he’s studying international business. He enjoys business, and it would give him the chance to work in his home country and the U.S.

“I’ve only had one business class so far, but I like it,” Mokseckas said. “I’ll take mostly electives and everything now and my last two years I’ll focus on my major, so I can still change it, but I like it so far.”

He’ll just continue to focus on school and becoming a better basketball player.

“I just want to keep getting better and keep learning,” Mokseckas said. “I’ve learned a lot so far, and I’m working to get bigger and stronger. I think playing so quickly gave me higher expectations, but I’m just going to keep working and trying to get better.”

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