Notre Dame swingman Scott Martin to play against former team
BY MARK LAZERUS email@example.com December 14, 2012 10:24PM
Swingman Scott Martin played one season at Purdue before transferring to Notre Dame. | Joe Raymond~AP
Updated: January 16, 2013 6:10AM
Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey still remembers watching the Sports Youth Foundation AAU team that included Scott Martin, Robbie Hummel and E’Twaun Moore, among other elite high school talents.
“I loved watching them beat people because they played the right way on the AAU circuit against teams that were knuckleheads,” Brey said. “It was fun to watch them win and beat people.”
And, well, Brey couldn’t resist going after Martin and Hummel — teammates at Valparaiso High School, less than an hour west of South Bend. He wound up losing both to Purdue coach Matt Painter, who also picked up Moore.
Hindsight is always 20/20 in recruiting.
“The mistake I made [is] we should have focused on just Scott Martin instead of recruiting both Hummel and him,” Brey said. “I think we would have gotten him had we just done that. But we ended up getting him anyway. . . . I’m glad we got a do-over.”
While Hummel and Moore became stars for the Boilermakers, an unhappy Martin left Purdue after one year and landed at Notre Dame. He sat out a year because of transfer rules. He sat out another year after blowing out his knee. Now in his third season of actually playing for the Irish — and his sixth year of college — Martin finally gets a crack at playing his old team Saturday in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis. The Purdue-Notre Dame game follows Butler-Indiana at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Of course, an entire class of Purdue students has entered school and graduated since Martin last pulled off his gold-and-black Boilermakers jersey. So forgive him for not getting too worked up about this one.
“I don’t really know any of the guys on the team now,’’ Martin said. ‘‘So it’s not like I’m going down and playing a bunch of guys I played with before.”
Martin said there’s no bad blood between him and Painter, either.
“No one’s upset,” he said. “It didn’t work out. I don’t think anyone was too thrilled, but it’s the way things happened. I don’t think anyone’s bitter about it.”
Certainly not Brey, who relies on Martin, a 6-8 swingman, for far more than the 8.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game he provides. At 24, Martin is a calming influence on the court and another coach in practice. Brey said that when the team hosts a youth basketball camp in the summer, he tells all the campers to keep an eye on Martin and emulate him.
“He’s the total package,” Brey said. “He’s a beautiful basketball player to watch on both ends of the floor.”
One of Martin’s few regrets is that he didn’t get a chance to play with another Northwest Indiana product, Luke Harangody — another SYF alum — whose last two seasons with the Irish were the two Martin missed.
His other regret? Notre Dame’s poor performance in the NCAA tournament. The Irish have not made it out of the first weekend of the tournament since Martin arrived. In fact, Notre Dame’s last Sweet 16 appearance was in 2003. He also has come close but has never won a Big East championship. That’s a big reason he petitioned for a sixth year, and it’s a big reason why he has accepted a lesser role despite his talent and experience. At this point, at his age, whatever it takes.