Josh Martin: Evaluation

Undersized power forwards used to be a thing. Heck, power forwards themselves used to be a thing. Martin is a throwback to the 90s when limited, small-ish big men featured very prominently for major college teams.

Introduction

The Seattle area is suffering from a mild talent hangover, after a glorious decade in the 'aughts' that produced numerous NBA talents.

For that reason both the travel teams surrounding the city and recruiting buzz have ebbed in recent years, and the high-majors to emerge have performed in relatively obscure fashion.

Josh Martin makes the case. The power forward drew some acclaim from within the state but didn't receive a scholarship offer until prior to his junior season, from Washington (which proved to be complicated).

He continued to chug along and picked up interest from UCLA, Marquette and Florida State, along with the Huskies.

Martin's most significant exposure occurred at the Reebok Breakout Classic during the 2013 summer. He performed very well versus a national field and raised his profile among scouts and college coaches, but unlike many players he had little interest in expanding his recruitment.

He said repeatedly that hometown Washington held the edge, but the Huskies opted to focus on other targets. Their decision forced Martin into a reset, and he scheduled official visits to Florida State, Minnesota, Oklahoma State and Pittsburgh.

After traveling to Tallahassee, Minneapolis and Pitt, Martin committed to the Gophers to become Richard Pitino's first commitment from the 2014 class.

Assets

Martin competes with a vigor that quickly will endear him to his future coaching staff. He doesn't possess the more modern complement of ball skills and shooting talents of his elite contemporaries, but he largely overcomes his 6-7 height with tenacity, strength and a zealous penchant for rebounding and finishing at the rim.

He's also a bouncy straight-up leaper. Martin doesn't grace highlight reels with acrobatic slams, but his athleticism is more functional than that of many of the more graceful leapers who are inclined toward the spectacular.

His back to the basket game shows promise, and he keeps it simple. He's a reliable and-one scorer thanks to his strength and good hand-eye coordination, and he handles well enough to attack some taller big men off the bounce.

Deficits

Martin projects as more of a valuable role player than as a primary cog in a big league offense. Taller shotblockers can affect his interior scoring, and he doesn't yet possess a solidified perimeter game.

Defense also looms as a question mark. He may be a better fit to guard an opponent's center than a mobile, hybrid forward, yet he himself is not a center. Creating an optimum role for him may force Pitino to be resourceful.

Outlook

You can spend hours reading scouting reports like this one or watching various video clips, but Martin's expected impact is fairly easy to sum: He gets the most out of what he has, and what he has should be sufficient for the Big Ten level.

Does stardom for Minnesota await him? Likely not. But he should become a worthy contributor as Pitino endeavors to develop an exciting and robust Gopher program.


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