Southeast Missouri State men's basketball team signs Central Florida transfer Martin
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Southeast Missouri State men's basketball coach Dickey Nutt has been impressed by Wayne Martin Jr. ever since he attended junior high school in Jonesboro, Ark.
"We watched him grow up in Jonesboro," said Nutt, who formerly coached Arkansas State in that community. "I've had my eyes on him for a while."
Nutt's eyes really will be focused on Martin after the University of Central Florida transfer signed with Southeast on Tuesday.
Martin, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward, will have to sit out the 2012-13 season under NCAA transfer rules while he practices with the Redhawks. He will have three years of eligibility after that.
"We're really excited about being able to land a player like Wayne. He's a great addition to our program," Nutt said. "We watched him grow and emerge as one of the top players in the country. He was highly recruited out of high school."
Martin, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., played in just 11 games and averaged only 3.4 minutes per contest as a true freshman at Central Florida last year.
Martin, who entered his rookie season of college basketball recovering from a torn Achilles' tendon in his right leg, scored five points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked two shots in his limited action.
"He tore his Achilles' before his freshman year and he never really got to do much. But we know what he's capable of doing," Nutt said. "He can score. He's a shot blocker. He's got a high motor. He can do a lot of things."
Martin played basketball in Jonesboro, Ark., as a seventh- and eighth-grader. He also played alongside Southeast sophomore Nino Johnson on a summer league team in Memphis, Tenn., at one time,
Nutt said he followed Martin's career after the youngster moved to Florida and turned into a major recruit.
"I had my eyes on him when we got to Southeast," Nutt said. "But we knew we didn't have a chance at him. He got out of our league. He was a big-time recruit."
Martin was named the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches 2010-11 Class 2A player of the year when he averaged 17.3 points and 8.7 rebounds as a senior at Providence Christian High School. He was rated the No. 44 power forward nationally by ESPNU.
"I chose Southeast Missouri over the likes of Creighton and San Diego State," Martin said. "Coach Nutt has been recruiting me for a long time, and my parents have a good relationship with him. I feel comfortable with this situation and am really excited to get there and help the team."
Martin has impressive athletic bloodlines. His father, Wayne Martin Sr., was selected by the New Orleans Saints with the 19th pick in the first round of the 1989 NFL draft. The former defensive lineman, a first-team All-American at the University of Arkansas, made the NFL Pro Bowl in 1994.
"He comes from a great family. I've known them for a long time," Nutt said, "His parents moved back to Arkansas and he wanted to get back closer to them."