Coverage from:
The Daily Hampshire Gazette - 4/24
UMass Athletics - 5/2
The Springfield Union-News - 5/3
The Daily Hampshire Gazette - 5/3


Swingman shifts allegiance
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 4/24/2001

Steve Lappas' first recruiting class as head coach of the University of Massachusetts men's basketball team continues to grow. After getting a verbal commitment from big man Gabriel Lee last week, he got another from 6-foot-6 swingman Brennan Martin of Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy over the weekend.

Martin originally signed a letter of intent in the fall with Villanova when Lappas was the coach there, but the Philadelphia school released him from it after Lappas left.

Martin visited UMass this weekend, and according to Hargrave coach Kevin Keatts, he decided to return in the fall.

"He told me it was a good visit and that he's planning on going there," Keatts said.

Martin satisfies Lappas' love of 3-point shooting.

"He's a very good shooter," Keatts said. "There's not many people that can shoot as well as he can at his height."

By NCAA rules, Lappas can't comment on Martin until all of his letter of intent paper work has been filed.

Martin is originally from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., but is currently at Hargrave, the same school that produced former Minutemen Inus Norville and Andre Burks.

Martin committed to Texas A&M last year, but did not qualify academically and went to Hargrave, where he re-opened his recruiting. Keatts said Martin is fully qualified now.

Because Martin signed a letter of intent, his freshman eligibility is technically a question mark, although it's likely he will be eligible.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, Villanova has given Martin his release from his National Letter of Intent. There are two ways for a school to do that.

The cleanest is to simply deny him admission. That frees the player to go anywhere he wants with instant eligibility.

The other way is a mutual release that originally forces the player to sit out a year and lose a year of eligibility at his new school. But a player can then appeal to the NCAA's National Letter of Intent Steering Committee, which can offer a full release: i.e. immediate eligibility with no penalties. These appeals are usually granted.

It's unclear which method Villanova used.

Martin now likely will sign an institutional letter of intent that is non-binding, meaning he could change his mind again with no penalty until the time he enrolled. That scenario isn't considered likely.

Martin joins Lee, a 6-foot-9 forward/center from Northfield Mount Hermon, who will redshirt next year with a shoulder injury and Kyle Wilson, a point guard from the Vancouver, B.C., area.

UMass likely will hear this week from Chris Charles, a 7-footer from Milwaukee, and Marcus Cox, a 6-4 combo guard who is transferring from Connecticut.

Cox is expected to sign with UMass, while Charles is still being recruited by Michigan, Seton Hall and Villanova.

* * *

Lappas' coaching staff of assistants Chris Walker, Andrew Theokas and John Leonard became official Monday. Lappas likely will add an administrative assistant and potentially a grad assistant.


Minutemen land recruit
By Ron Chimelis, The Springfield Union-News, 5/3/2001

AMHERST The University of Massachusetts men's basketball program has signed 6-foot-6 swingman Brennan Martin, bringing to the Minutemen a new element a player with size who can also shoot from the outside.

"He does something a lot of kids can't do today shoot," said Kevin Keatts, Martin's coach last season at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va. "He can take the ball to the basket, but his biggest asset is his outside shot."

"Brennan is a tremendous shooter who will play very well in motion offense," UMass coach Steve Lappas said.

The 190-pound Martin shot 53 percent from 3-point range, and averaged 14.5 points, four rebounds and two steals.

Martin, who is originally from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., had signed with Villanova while Lappas was its coach.

Villanova released Martin from his letter of intent, and he has signed an institutional letter of intent with UMass, which protects his eligibility for next season.

Martin joins Kyle Wilson, a 6-2 guard from British Columbia, as signed UMass recruits. A verbal commitment has been received from 6-9 forward Gabriel Lee of Northfield Mount Hermon, and 6-4 guard Marcus Cox said he will transfer from UConn to UMass.


Another UMass recruit signs
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 5/3/2001

AMHERST - As expected, the University of Massachusetts announced that Brennan Martin, a 6-foot-6 swingman from Rancho Santa Maragrita, Calif., via Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy has signed a letter of intent to become a member of the men's basketball team next year.

Martin, who previously had signed a National Letter of Intent with Steve Lappas when the coach was still at Villanova in the fall, opted to follow him to Amherst. The Wildcats released Martin from his commitment.

"Brennan is a tremendous shooter who will play very well in motion offense," Lappas said in a statement released by UMass. "I'm confident that he will make some great contributions to our program over the next four years."

At Hargrave, a school that is sending 11 players to Division I schools this year, Martin averaged 14.5 points per game and hit 53 percent of his 3-point shots. Martin joins Kyle Wilson in Lappas' first recruiting class as the UMass head coach.

Meanwhile, the Minutemen are still waiting for paperwork from Gabriel Lee, the 6-9 big man from Northfield Mount Hermon, who verbally committed to UMass last month. He will sit out next season.

MARIST ON SLATE: One of the team's four available games have been filled, as the Minutemen will play Marist at home next season. Lappas wasn't sure how he planned to fill the other three spots.

"There could be a mid-major team in there," he said. "We could play another good team on the road. Another TV game could materialize."


Lappas Inks Second Men's Basketball Recruit
Brennan Martin is the second recruit of the Lappas' Era.
From UMass Athletics, 5/2/2001

AMHERST, Mass.-- University of Massachusetts Head Men's Basketball Coach Steve Lappas announced today that Brennan Martin, a 6-6, 190-pound swingman from Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., has signed an institutional letter of intent to join the Minuteman program for the 2001-02 season.

"Brennan is a tremendous shooter who will play very well in motion offense," Lappas said. "We are excited to have him as part of our program. I'm confidant that he will make some great contributions to our program over the next four years."

Martin, who played last year at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy, originally signed a letter of intent with Lappas at Villanovalast fall, but after Lappas became the head coach at UMass, the Wildcats released Martin from the letter of intent. A prospective student-athlete may sign only one letter of intent, so Martin signed the binding institutional letter from UMass this spring, and will have four years of eligibility with the Minutemen.

Last year at Hargrave, Martin averaged 14.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 2.0 steals for Coach Kevin Keatts' 27-1 team. He hit 53 percent from three-point range. Eleven players from Hargrave's 2000-01 team have signed to play Division I basketball next season, two more have signed to play Division II ball.

"He's going to be a tremendous player for UMass," Keatts said. "He does something that a lot of kids can't do today--shoot the basketball. He can really put the ball in the hole. He's athletic, and can take the ball to the basket, but his biggest asset is his outside shot."


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