It's not the All-Star game that Cartier Martin and Bill Walker want to be in, but for now, it will have to do.
The two former Kansas State Wildcats will be taking part in the NBA's All-Star weekend in Dallas beginning tonight with the All-Star Dream Factory's Slam-Duck competition, and continuing Saturday with the NBA's Developmental League All-Star game.
Walker, who has played with the Maine Red Claws, will be in the slam-dunk event, while Martin, a product of the Iowa Energy, will play in the All-Star game. The dunking takes place at 9 tonight, while the All-Star game begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Both events can be seen on NBA.com.
"It's an accomplishment," said Martin. "There are some good players in the D-League, so to be considered one of the best is an accomplishment."
Now on the roster of the Boston Celtics, Walker played nine games with Maine in November and December after coming off a preseason injury and averaged 17.4 points per game against D-League competition.
With the Celtics this year, Walker has played in eight games and has scored eight points. Last year he contributed 88 points in 29 games in his rookie season.
Martin is back with the Energy after recently playing on two 10-day contracts with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. Playing in 10 games, Martin averaged 9.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. His single-game high was a 20-point effort against Sacramento.
"I've shown that I can play in this league (NBA)," said Martin, who played 33 games with the Charlotte Bobcats last year when he averaged 2.6 points and 1.0 rebound per game. "In the first two games I guarded LeBron (James, of Cleveland) the first night and Dwyane Wade (of Miami) the next night, and felt like I showed I can play defense against the best.
"You're not going to stop those guys, but I tried to contain them and make it as hard as possible when I was on them," said the 6-foot-7, 220-pound Martin.
While enjoying being on the first-place Energy team out of Des Moines, Iowa, in the Eastern Conference of the D-League, Martin said, "I'm a free agent just looking for that next opportunity in the league."
If Martin made a mistake this season, he admits it was starting the year in Italy, and not returning to the United States until early December.
"It was a nice experience, but I should have stayed here and gone to a preseason training camp with a team," said the 26-year-old Martin, who ranks sixth in all-time scoring in KSU history with 1,546 points and third in 3-pointers with 178.
"That's over with, so I'm just trying to play as hard as I can in the D-League and develop my game enough that someone will think I've developed into an NBA player. I know I can play in this league."
Saturday, he'll try to showcase that game along with19 other All-Stars from the NBA's Developmental League. One of those other All-Stars is Iowa Energy teammate Curtis Stinson, a former Iowa State Cyclone.