Player Profile: Brennan Martin
By Matthew F. Sacco, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian, 11/21/2001

Brennan Martin hovers across mid-court, stops, pulls - trifecta. He used that move to drill over fifty percent of his threes in high school. But that is nothing like the two-handed hammer he threw on his man in practice, or the mid-range jumper he netted in fast break drills, or the ball he pinned on glass in the scrimmage.

Martin is a complete player. His talents, although raw, are limitless. His defense is suffocating. His game is versatile. His range ends somewhere near Poughkeepsie.

"I bring a well-rounded game," Martin claims.

"My biggest asset is my three point shot," which is available in both the catch and shoot version, as well as the in your eye model.

"Another advantage I have is my height," he adds.

His 6-foot-6-inch frame gives him an advantage over most collegiate level small forwards. Defenders are reaching if they go for a rejection against the towering freshman, but they're playing with fire if he brings the rock to the blocks.

"If I have a smaller guy I can take him down to the post and do some things," Martin declares.

Although brute strength is not one of his redeeming traits, quickness certainly is. With refined footwork and a long reach, he can dismantle opponents from the charge arc, as much as he can from the three-point arc.

Turnaround jumper, got it. Jump hook, wet. Up and under, flush. Martin is Black & Decker on the post; he's got the tools for any situation.

To his gym rat jumper and his flash bulb postal work, he adds his playground handle.

"I can also put it on the floor and create, pull up or finish strong," Martin says.

With curving pipe cleaners and engulfing paws, he manipulates the rock like an oscillating timepiece. Blink and the bell goes off, you've been rung up for two and all you have is wind burns to show for it. Martin has the speed to blow past defenders and the skills to humiliate.

"I like confusing my defender by coming off screens and taking them off the dribble," he says. "As soon as they're confused you pull it and you've got 'em."

He blends his diverse skills with a smoothness that would make 007 envious. Butter looks coarse next to this kid's game. Gliding down the court with clouds under his Nikes, he scarcely breaks a sweat while driving an array of arching stilettos into the heart of the defense.

This smooth operator from California was born with a hot hand and a penchant for drenching the nylon. And lucky for UMass fans, Martin's ice-cold precision will fill a spot more recently held by the offensively deficient.

In the past two seasons starting small forwards have averaged 3.3 points per game for the Minutemen. The defensively solid but offensively invisible Mike Babul and Winston Smith did little but waste oxygen in a position of prominence for most competitive college programs.

By all standards Martin is looking to bring the swing forward position back to the Mullins Center.

"Every time I talk to somebody, I tell them to take whatever they've seen and forget about it," he says. "I am going to give them a whole different look."

Martin's tin filling talents have been well documented. Besides his torrid three-point shooting accuracy (53 percent), Martin dropped over 14 a game on high school opponents at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy.

He exploited undersized and lead-footed forwards by ripping four boards and two steals a game for a squad that went 27-1 and sent 11 players to Division I ball.

His senior exhibition earned him a nomination for the prestigious McDonald's All-American game. Newspapers and recruiting magazines around the country have shoved sunshine in his general direction, not once deterring the focus on his game.

Naysayers that prey on holes will find few in Martin's puzzle. The only piece that is really missing (or maybe it's been hiding under the radiator for a few years) is his conditioning.

Martin's silhouette resembles a lamppost with appendages. His slim 190-pound foundation gives well-built college defenders a weakness to exploit - for now.

"At this level you can't mess around," he explains. "Especially a guy with my size and the position I play. You can't miss an opportunity to get in the weight room."

Martin has taken weight training off the shelf and made it routine. Every dumbbell he curls and bar he bench presses goes to filling out his chalkboard body and completing his game.

Coaches who predicate winning on disallowing points better act now or forever hold their peace. Because when Martin reaches his potential mass, there will likely be a closeout sale on his limitations.

For now the Southwestern sniper will have to settle for baffling opponents with his lights-out stroke and stealthy off-ball patterns. His range remains undiscovered, and not the shy type, Martin will likely rain the rock from all angles.

His highlight reel should come with an FBI warning for hopeful defenders, because "man, I'll pull it from anywhere."


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