Justin Martin Player Profile
Position: Small Forward
Size: 6-6, 205 pounds
Year: Senior (Played 3 seasons at Xavier, transferred after 2013-14 season)
High School: Lawrence North (Indianapolis) and Mountain State Academy (Beckley, W.V.)
Recruitment: Martin was Scout’s 87th-ranked player nationally in the Class of 2010. He originally committed to Louisville but then decommitted before deciding on Xavier. He picked the Musketeers over Louisville and Michigan State. Martin played three seasons at Xavier, reaching the NCAA tournament twice, including a Sweet 16 berth in 2012. In April of 2014, Martin decided to transfer, and landed on the Hilltop after choosing the Mustangs over West Virginia and Florida State. He is eligible immediately because he is a graduate transfer.
Martin was a key piece in Xavier’s 2014 season. He was the team’s second-leading scorer with 11.7 points per game while also chipping in 5.2 rebounds per game. He shot 37.3 percent on three-pointers and made 77 percent of his free throws. Martin scored in double figures in 16 of the Musketeers’ 18 Big East games, highlighted by a 19-point, 16-rebound performance against Creighton. But he was held to eight points and 3-of-12 on field goals in their opening-round loss to North Carolina State. On defense, he started to take advantage of his length, and it translated into more rebounds and steals.
Outlook in 2014
Martin has one year of eligibility remaining, and he chose to come to SMU because he wants to win a national title. He is the only player on the roster to have played in the NCAA tournament; his postseason experience and experience on winning teams will be a huge factor in the locker room and on the court.
“I was very upfront in saying I’m here for [being a leader] and being able to talk and lead from experiences.” Martin said. “It’s a luxury to have on your team, and I look to myself as one of the older guys on the team and not only leading by example, but also if I know something’s going on or something’s going wrong, be another coach on the floor.”
Martin will likely be SMU’s sixth man, as Sterling Brown will start at the 3. But Martin will still play a lot. Larry Brown could experiment with Brown and Martin on the floor together to get longer on defense. His consistent and smooth shooting will be welcomed to a team that does not possess many outside shooting threats. SMU needs Martin to be a leader and a guiding presence all season. All evidence suggests that he will be that guy.