To get a true gauge of the competitive nature of Eastern's Genevieve Okoro, one only has to talk to those who coach her in her so-called "other" sports.
Okoro, the two-time Inquirer South Jersey basketball player of the year, will attend Richmond on a basketball scholarship.
When she is involved in any other activity, she treats it as the most important.
Take track, for instance, where this season she won the state Group 4 title in the triple jump and set a school record with her leap of 39 feet, 3 inches.
"Even though she would say that basketball is 'her sport,' you would never know that for sure if you saw her competing in a track and field uniform," Eastern girls' track and field coach Mike Fulton said. "She's passionate about what she does and how she performs, regardless of the sport."
The same goes for volleyball, where she was considered among the best players in South Jersey. She didn't play volleyball as a junior in order to concentrate on basketball, but she returned to the squad as a senior.
"She is like a sponge and she couldn't learn enough," Eastern volleyball coach Tom Armour said. "Not playing as a junior, she knew she had to focus and work hard, and she did."
Despite all her dedication and production in those sports, it was basketball where Okoro gained her athletic reputation. This season the 6-foot-1 Okoro averaged 22.9 points and 12.1 rebounds as Eastern won the South Jersey Group 4 title and was The Inquirer's No. 1-ranked team.
For performing at a dominating level in three sports, Okoro has been named The Inquirer's South Jersey senior female athlete of the year.
Okoro's production in the sports arena was exceeded by her team-first attitude, her unselfish nature, and her ability to make those around her better.
"I don't know many like Gen, who had her character and work ethic and her caring for others," Richmond women's basketball coach Michael Shafer said. "Whenever I talk to her she doesn't talk about herself but about her team, and that is rare."
Okoro is also a top student who plans to major in biology and attend medical school.
She brings the same intensity to the classroom that she does to the court.
"She has this drive in her as a person and has set goals and won't let anything stand in the way, and she believes she can achieve the highest level," Eastern girls' basketball coach Joe Murphy said. "She performs in practice as high as in a game, and I have so much respect for her."
Okoro is a congenial person with an effervescent personality, but she takes on a bulldog nature when on the court.
"I just don't like to lose," she said.
Those who have gotten to know Okoro rave as much about her personality and character as her athletic ability.
"I can speak for days on Gen Okoro," Shafer said. "I've been doing this for 16 years and she is a special one."
What is interesting is that Okoro never saw herself as special. She considered herself just one part of the team and always made a point to mention her teammates as integral contributors.
"The camaraderie we shared on our teams, we did so many things and I had such a great time with my teammates," Okoro said.
And now she is looking forward to competing in college.
"I am so excited to be able to get to this next level and will have the opportunity to get better," she said.
The chance to grow and improve has made Okoro the person and athlete she has become, somebody who has left a favorable impression on sports fans and non-sports fans alike.