Inside and Out with Martell Webster

Once the cheering and hoopla surrounding Martell Webster's decision to attend Washington had subsided, there was still plenty to be thrilled about. Lorenzo Romar had succeeded in keeping the two highest-rated local recruits - Webster and Jon Brockman - home. Here's what Martell, as well as teammates, coaches and family, had to say after Webster's press conference.

Martell Webster:
On his immediate future: "Coach (Mike) Kelly, I've never seen him coach, but from what I've heard he's a really good coach. He starts it off on the defensive end, which a lot of high schools don't do, they don't like the whole defensive thing. We're going to go out there and go get it. We have the offensive talent, but defense wins games."

On his health: "I can get up and down, without any problems. My trainer has been a big help. He's the one that put me back in shape. I worked out with him before I went to the USA camp. Before that I was sucking a lot of wind."

On why he isn't talking NBA: "It's because of what I've seen in the past. There were eight high school players come out this year. I don't know, man. I think the NBA is going to see this year why high school players should go to college. Every once in a while you get a LeBron James or a Tracy McGrady, but you don't get that every year. Kids, all they see is those zeros on the paycheck, and I don't blame them for wanting that, but it's only guaranteed for three years. After that, you'll see a lot of them go oversees, go to France or somewhere, and try to make a living there. I'm going to go to college to prepare myself for the league. Once I'm there, I know I'll be ready, so there won't be any holding back."

On seeing other future teammates in action: "Artem (Wallace), I saw him play a game in Vegas and I really like his game a lot. The guard, (Justin) Dentmon, I played against him at the USA camp and he played at the Peach Jam with the Illinois Warriors. I got to see him play and he is a really good guard. I've played against Ryan Appleby a lot. He's a real herky-jerky type of guard, quick. After his redshirt year he'll be a real good player."

On recruiting Prep teammate Spencer Hawes to UW: "We can only tell Spencer about the program when we get there, once we get a feel for it. We can tell him what it's about. We aren't going to make the decision for him, we'll only give him insight and see how he feels about the whole situation. It would be great to have Spencer come around, have a nice 7-foot guy that can really play."

On his final decision: "It was a gut feeling. I just really felt that U-Dub was the place for me to go. I really want to be close to my inspiration - my Grandmother Beulah Walker - I really want to stay here and make sure someone takes care of her and that I'm here with her."

On his family's influence: "They were behind me all the way. If I wanted to go to Seattle U, they would have been behind me. They have been a tremendous influence. Listening to them gave me insight and helped me better myself when it came time to make a decision."

On his younger brother, Bobby McCutcheon: "He's got game. He's going to have more game. He's alright right now, but I don't want to pump him up too much. He's a hard worker right now, he's in the eighth grade."

Martell's Grandmother, Beulah Walker:
On Martell's decision: "I'm on cloud nine right now. We got him home. I was quietly hoping he would stay home."

On her influence: "This is his game, he chose this game. I played basketball when I was a girl, but I didn't teach him a thing. Everything is different now."

On going to UW games: "He's going to drag me out to games, I know he will." (laughs)

AAU Coach Jim Marsh:
On the events of this week: "Who could have me told years ago when we were coaching these players as 11 and 12-year olds that four of them would go on to be elite players, the best of the best in the country."

On his evaluation of Martell: "He's the best player in the '05 class. When he's healthy he's the best. He can't be stopped, I haven't seen him be stopped. He's got a big-man, adult-type game."

On Martell's injury: "It killed him. As passionate about basketball as he is and has been for his entire life, like few others - when you take that away from him, it hurts."

On trying to replace players like Martell, Jon Brockman and Mitch Johnson: "You cry and then you go to the next level. There's no replacing them. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I was truly blessed with."

AAU teammate and future UW teammate Jon Brockman:
On when he knew about Martell's decision: "I really didn't know exactly what he was going to do for sure, but I heard after he called Romar."

On reuniting with Webster in college: "It will be fun. We are both friends already and we will be able to talk to each other about it and share the experience together."

On Martell's injury: "It was probably the hardest on him. Me personally, I know he could be better. And he was still tearing it up. To know that he could have been that much better, he would have been scary out there."

On what UW should expect from Martell in college: "He's not just a great player, a great athlete - the top player in the nation - but he's a hard worker and he wants to do what he can to make the team better."

AAU and current Seattle Prep teammate Spencer Hawes:
On Martell's injury: "It was difficult, because people started knocking him, saying this and that. It hurts, because he is one of my friends and he's been on my team at Prep and with AAU, so it was difficult seeing him go through that and you could tell that it was hurting him too a little bit."

On what UW should expect from Martell: "I think they are getting a great player. I think he'll step up right away and make a big contribution. During the summer you could tell that it wasn't the same Martell, but now that he's back he's going to the hoop and attacking it with no remorse. He dunked it on me last me pretty nice. You can tell he's got his athleticism back and he's got that combination of fundamental skills and god-given talent that is hard to find these days. He also works really hard at it. By the time he gets there he's going to be more than ready for the college game and I think Washington is getting a great player."

On what he's already learned about the recruiting process: "I've learned what to watch out for. Jon (Brockman) told me that it's going to hit me full-on. It's starting to right now, but not nearly what I hear it's going to be. Right now I'm just taking it all in. I'm looking forward to it because it's a unique experience, but I'm not really looking forward to all the things that come with it - all the calls and this and that. But like everyone else has said, it's a great problem to have. I'd much rather be dealing with something like this than be hurt again or not even be in the position of not playing basketball." Top Stories