Anna Martin: Midwest Hoops to Northern Lights

CHICAGO- In the past four years Anna Martin has gone from bluegrass, to Blue Demon, to blue lights.

Anna Martin graduated from DePaul in 2013 seventh all-time in scoring (1,756 points) and fifth all-time in three-point field goals (181) in school history.

The Kentucky native then worked as an intern over the summer for Game Seven Marketing in Chicago doing Nike promotional work. After a few weeks as an intern, the company brought her on as an employee.

On Dec. 28th she left for the cusp of the Arctic Circle.

"I stepped away from basketball after graduation due to some injuries," said Martin in a recent interview. "I was not working out much, just staying in shape. I did get an agent after the season because I still knew I wanted to play. My agent called me around Dec. 15th. The Iceland Premier League was in mid-season at that time. They got rid of their American [that each team is allotted] and they had just lost some games. I learned more details, it sounded interesting, and I went there."

Martin signed with Valur, a team based out of Reykjavik, Iceland.

"[The team] wanted someone to come in, to score, and to lead the team. I went over there prepared for anything."

"[DePaul head coach Doug] Bruno is like a history book and he has so much knowledge of the game, so that when I got there I felt like I could help some of the players with the basketball knowledge that he taught me," Martin said. "The players were very talented, and their American player did not want to be a scorer and a go-to player, so being a leader was something I definitely felt that I could contribute there."

"I had one week where I was doing two-a-day practices just to pick up the plays. Basketball is better when you are not thinking and just playing, so I really wanted to spend a lot of time trying to learn the plays and the system."

Valur finished the season 11-8, losing in the fifth and deciding game to Snaefell, 72-66, in the league semi-finals.

Martin was named Player of the Week four times. She finished second in the league in scoring at 24.6 ppg and fourth in steals at 3.2 per game. She scored 30 points or more seven times, including games of 38 points and 39 points. Martin shot 46 percent from the field (130-283), 37 percent (38-103) from three-point range, and 82.7 percent from the line.

Martin, wanting to get the full experience leaving the United States, spent a lot her free time in Reykjavik watching and wading.

She was able to see the Northern Lights, a phenomenon first chronicled in the original Old Norse in the year 1230. The lights consist of belts of blue, red, and green light created from magnetic and electrical forces that form 20-25 degrees around the northern and southern geomagnetic poles.

The Blue Lagoon was one of her favorite places to visit.

The lagoon, accidentally formed as a lava field in 1976 during operation of the nearby Svartsengi power plant, is known internationally for the therapeutic effects its mud has on human skin.

Martin said that during her three and a half months in Reykjavik she was able to build some good friendships with her teammates. But being 2,961 miles from Chicago did not stop her from watching DePaul's march to the Sweet Sixteen.

"I watched as many DePaul games as I could this year. I was always texting [DePaul Assistant Sports Information Director] Alicia Pope and the players. I was Skyping my mom and dad, and then they would put the computer up to the television so I could watch the games. I watched all of the Big East tournament and all of the NCAA tournament on television."

Martin plans on returning to Game Seven Marketing this summer, but she doesn't rule out playing international ball again this year. Some things, like Midwest basketball and Icelandic mud, get under your skin.

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