Freshmen aren’t normally impactful at the varsity level.
The jump from middle school to high school, and a lack of physical maturity, makes the transition a difficult one. That’s even more apparent in football and basketball—two sports that are generally senior- and junior-dominated.
Someone forgot to give Sulley Geske that memo.
The Evansville High junior has been a standout on the gridiron and hardwood since he was brought up to varsity in both sports three years ago.
Ron Grovesteen is the longtime head football coach at Evansville and the co-head coach for boys basketball. He said Geske’s success in both sports is a reflection of his determination.
“Sulley’s got a lot of natural ability, but he’s a gamer, too,” Grovesteen said. “He works hard and goes all out every time he steps on the field or on the court.
“And as he has really started to understand things in both sports, it has elevated his game. He’s got a really good basketball IQ, and as a football player he knows which routes to run to get open despite being double-teamed on just about every play we run.”
Geske has been used primarily as a receiver in football. He caught eight passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman, and followed that up with 23 catches for 601 yards and nine TDs his sophomore season.
He had a breakout season in 2018. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder caught 49 passes for 906 yards and 12 TDs in earning all-Rock Valley first-team honors. The 12 touchdowns tied for eighth-most in the state and the 906 yards receiving ranked in the top 20.
In three seasons, Geske has averaged a whopping 21.61 yards per catch.
The soft-spoken Geske said a death in his family has served as motivation both on and off the playing field.
“My eighth-grade year, my grandfather (Roger Geske) passed away,” Geske said. “I was really close to him, and the fact that he wasn’t going to be able to watch me play in high school made me want to do everything for him.
“Once I was brought up to varsity in football my freshman year, guys like Brennen Banks and Hayden Reese, who were seniors, took me under their wings and taught me how to just play to the best of my ability.”
Geske has thrived on the basketball court, as well. He’s averaging a team-high 17.2 points per game for a team that is 10-7, and he had a career-high 28 points in a victory earlier this season over Whitewater. He averaged 13.7 as a junior and an impressive 10.3 a game as a freshman.
“He’s had an impact since the first day he was brought up to varsity,” Evansville co-head coach Kendall Buttchen said. “He hit a huge shot at East Troy as a freshman that helped bring us a conference championship.
“And as he has taken on a bigger role for this team, his play has gotten bigger, too. He wants the ball and has embraced his role as a leader on the team. He has taken his game to the next level.”
Geske will play basketball this summer for Wisconsin Dynasty, an elite AAU traveling team made up of players from the south-central part of the state.
Although he figures to have plenty of options available next year when it comes time to picking a college, Geske hasn’t decided yet whether he wants to play football or basketball at the next level.
He’s got more than a year to keep making an impact in both during his time in Evansville.