Colorado State added a big piece to its 2017 basketball recruiting class Easter Sunday with the addition of Oral Roberts transfer Kris Martin. The 6-foot-6 wing committed to the Rams after returning home from his official visit to CSU over the weekend.
Martin picked CSU over heavy interest from Hofstra, Iowa State, Kent State, Middle Tennessee State, San Diego, Seton Hall, Texas, and Towson.
"Larry Eustachy is a great coach. He's one of the best in the nation," Martin told InsideTheRams.com after announcing his commitment on Twitter. "It's a winning program and I fit right in. I can compete and help this team win a championship, and have a big role in doing so."
The talented and hard-working wing was in the process of setting up official visits to Middle Tennessee State, Seton Hall and Iowa State before deciding to sign with the Rams. As a sophomore in 2016-2017, Martin averaged per game totals of 13.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and nearly 31 minutes played in 28 games. Perhaps most impressive was his 40.6 percent three-point rate, which ranked 37th in all of Division One basketball this past season (a player need to have made 2.5 per game, while playing in 75 percent of his team's games).
Time spent with CSU players highlighted Martin's experience in Fort Collins over the weekend. Former high school teammate Nico Carvacho served as his player host.
"Talking to the coaches, spending time with the team, playing with the team... When we played, I could really see the potential. I think I can be the one to help this team get over the hump and just go win a championship, instead of coming in second.
"I've known Nico since middle school and we went to high school together, so we already had that bond. He's developed into quite the player, so I know their skill development and all their strength and conditioning coaches are about business and they're successful. The team that they have right now, they're just missing one piece and I think that's me to take them over the top."
According to Martin, CSU assistant coach Jase Herl reached out to him as soon as the lengthy guard announced his intentions to transfer. Herl showed heavy interest and the two built a strong bond over a short period of time.
That relationship also played a key role in Martin's decision to sign with the Rams.
"He was on me heavy, consistent," Martin said of Herl. "I knew that he was serious and he was gonna need me, and that I was a top priority. So I went with 'em."
Martin is a talented scorer and a lengthy, versatile perimeter defender. Eustachy and CSU's staff weren't shy in stating their desire to add him to CSU's future lineup. He has a redshirt year to utilize, so he will have two years of eligibility as a Ram starting in the 2018-2019 season.
"They said they like my ability to score and my three-point shooting ability. I'm one of the best three-point shooters in the nation. So they needed to fill that missing spot once their senior guard leaves."
CSU has made a living on the transfer circuit since Eustachy's arrival as head coach in 2012, adding junior college and Division One transfers with regularity. The Rams previously signed South Plains College guard and former Memphis Tiger Raquan Mitchell during the early signing period for 2017.
Oral Roberts puttered to an 8-22 campaign in 2016-2017, but Martin had a plethora of big performances, many in losses. He scored 20 or more points six times, including a career-high 35 points in a loss to Missouri State. Martin tallied 15 points in an overtime loss to Ole Miss, 16 in a close road loss to Michigan State, and 19 in a road loss to Oklahoma.
So what should Rams fans expect from CSU's newest hoops addition?
"I expect us to be an immediate championship contender," Martin said. "We're going to be able to compete with anyone in the country. I just want to take this team to the next level."