Jarrell Martin expands his game

Madison Prep star wants to establish himself more as inside presence as summer ball gets going.

The summer AAU season began with Jarrell Martin focusing on reinventing himself a bit as he gets closer to the college level.

It will wind down with the Baton Rouge native narrowing the field of potential destinations – and with the recent coaching change at LSU, the Tigers are squarely in the mix.

But LSU, just like every other program recruiting Martin, will have to wait until next spring before he arrives at a decision.

The 6-foot-9, 218-pound four-star forward from Madison Prep said recently that he has spoken to new LSU coach Johnny Jones and established a relationship.

"I had met him before, but that was the first time I spoke to him much," Martin said. "I like the faster tempo, getting up and down the court."

Martin's high school coach and advisor, Jeff Jones, said he and the player both like how the future at LSU is shaping up.

Former LSU coach Trent Johnson had established a recruiting connection with Martin, but Johnson's grind-it-out offensive style didn't seem like a good fit with the athletic big man.

"We like the potential we're seeing," Jeff Jones said of LSU's expected new faster-paced look under Johnny Jones. "From what I hear and see, and from what Coach Jones did at did at North Texas and turned them into a winner, we know he would be a coach Jarrell could play for.

"I think (Johnny Jones' style) fits into that. Getting up and down the floor and being able to defend that way, is what most players like and Jarrell certainly does."

But Martin also wants to show coaches he can be a physical presence inside, and he has devoted himself to proving that this summer with his summer teams, Louisiana Elite and New Orleans Elite.

Until now, Martin has been more of a finesse-oriented big man – he's comfortable shooting mid-range jump shots and extending out beyond the 3-point line. Part of that had to do with his slender build, which Jeff Jones said Martin has begun to change by working with weight lifting/basketball guru Gayle Hatch.

"He's learning more and more every day and has really dedicated himself in the weight room," Jeff Jones said. "You can see a lot of improvement and his confidence is really picking up. He played real physical in Las Vegas (at an AAU tournament) and these coaches are noticing that. He's always been a very good basketball player, but now he's adding some things to his game that will help him, and with the kind of work ethic he has, he'll get better at whatever he needs to."

Those coaches noticing Martin come from all over the country.

Besides LSU, Jeff Jones said the programs most prominent on Martin's radar are Alabama, St. John's, Louisville, Arizona, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.

Martin said nobody has the upper hand right now, and by the end of the summer he hopes to narrow his list to five schools where he'll take his official visits.

But there isn't likely be a decision made in the early signing period because Martin also wants to see what other players wind up at the schools he's interested in, particularly LSU.

"For him it's going to be important to do the process the right away," Jeff Jones said. "Get out there, take a few visits and see what the different schools have to offer academically and from a basketball standpoint. Once he gets down to those last five, he wants to give all of them a chance and then make a good decision."

In the meantime, Martin has a busy summer planned with possible visits to the LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Pangos and NBA Players Association Top 100 camps.

"Right now I'm just enjoying the moment," he said.

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