Hutton: Scott Martin’s return sets up Irish for great season
By Mike Hutton 648-3139 or firstname.lastname@example.org May 14, 2012 11:14PM
Notre Dame's Scott Martin dunks as DePaul's Cleveland Melvin (12) watches during the second half of an NCAA college men's basketball game in Rosemont, Ill., Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011. Notre Dame won 83-58. Martin had 15 points. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: June 16, 2012 8:14AM
SOUTH BEND — I thought it was a joke when I heard a reporter ask Scott Martin if the reason he was returning to Notre Dame for his sixth season was for placement in the NBA draft.
Anybody that knows Martin, has watched Martin play and knows just a little bit (my thumb and forefinger are spread about an inch apart now) knows that Martin is the quintessential poster boy for passing, cutting, setting screens, being in perfect defensive position and playing unselfishly.
Those skills are optional in the NBA.
Apparently the question wasn’t a joke.
Martin answered by saying the NBA wasn’t on his mind and he was just trying to be the best player he could possibly be.
I don’t see an NBA future for Martin, though anything is possible. But I do believe his return sets up Notre Dame for another great season.
He has morphed into an invaluable college player in terms of his leadership, defensive presence and his knowledge of the game.
On Monday, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey and Martin revealed a few nuggets about Martin’s involved process with the NCAA on his quest to get a sixth year of eligibility:
That was part of the reason Martin transferred from Purdue was to be closer to his father, who was sick with cancer at the time. Martin was able to check in with his family easier from South Bend than he would’ve been able to from West Lafayette. Brey said it wasn’t the only reason he left, but that it was a “big factor.” He also helped his younger brother, Andrew Martin, get through his high schools years Valparaiso. Brey gave Martin carte blanche during the year he sat out to go home and help out his mother, father and Andrew.
His mother, Diane Martin, had to unearth an avalanche of documentation about his father’s illness to help her son make the case that he deserved one more year. That’s the reason his appeal dragged on since before the first of the year.
That initially Brey was skeptical of Martin’s chance for a sixth season. After checking with various sources, he believed Martin had a good chance, in particular because of the unique circumstances with his father and his family. Both Martin and Brey decided last summer that they would go hard for an extra season.
That Martin will likely coach basketball when his playing days, which could involve a European flair, are over.
That the NCAA, under new president Mark Emmert, is trying to create more latitude for players and coaches when it involves rules that affect eligibility for players. Brey said right now, there isn’t much gray area for what constitutes an extra year.
Martin, who joked that the reason he decided to come back was because the “economy wasn’t too good right now,” is happy that the ordeal is over.
His returns means that the Irish have all five starters back from a team that finished third in the Big East.
With the addition of Garrick Sherman, a 6-11 center from Michigan State who is eligible to play, and Cameron Biescheid, a 6-7 freshman from St. Louis, who is rated as one of the top 50 players in the country by Rivals.com, the Irish should be slated to finish at or near the top of the Big East.
Northwest Indiana Golf Classic: It’s time to get your entry in for the Northwest Indiana Golf Classic, which will take place on June 3 and 10 at Turkey Creek Golf Course in Merrillville. Three big names returning to play are past champions Dave Vlasic of Valparaiso and Bill Smitka of Munster, and past senior champion John Wood of Hobart. Entries are due on May 29. The cost is $55, which does not include your cart fee. You can find entries in the sports section on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, or by visiting www.post-trib.com/sports. Entries can be faxed to 648-3236.