Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Martin Shows He Still Belongs

By Bruin Basketball Report

When NBA future Hall of Famer Reggie Miller retired from basketball after the 2005 season, which former UCLA player took over as most senior Bruin on the NBA circuit?

Answer: Darrick Martin

Martin finished his 11th season in the NBA last year playing for the Toronto Raptors.

And from most reports, Martin will likely be with the club this upcoming season when he turns a ripe 36.

During the offseason, the Raptors dealt Charilie Villaneuva to the Milwaukee Bucks for second-year point-guard T.J Ford. With last season's starter Mike James leaving via free-agency, the Raptors are left with only first-year player Jose Calderon on contract as a back-up point-guard; and thus Martin is likely to be retained as the club’s third point guard this coming season.

His primary role would likely be as a mentor to Ford and Calderon. In addition, Martin is close friends with Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell who is comfortable with him as his extension in the locker room, on the bench, and on the court.

Martin’s return was billed as unlikely following last season's debacle and the team's massive overhaul of the roster this summer, but when the Raptor's summer camp opened earlier last month, Martin surprised everyone by showing up ready to play and indicated he wasn't quite done with basketball.

Martin has spent time with the Timberwolves, Clippers, Kings, and Mavericks. He has a career average of 7.3 points and 3.0 assists per game.

Front office staff and players say Martin is a class act and is a strong positive influence for young players.

When the Raptors were conducting their end-of-the-season exit interviews last April, a day after their 27-win season ended, Martin reportedly was the only player who showed up to talk to Bryan Colangelo and Sam Mitchell in a suit and tie, presenting himself in the best possible light.

Martin played four seasons at UCLA from 1988 to 1992. He averaged 9.3 points and 4.9 assists in his career. His best season as a Bruin was as a junior when he averaged 11.6 points and 6.8 assists per game.

In his senior season, he split time at the point-guard position with freshman sensation Tyus Edney.

Martin currently ranks third in assists (636) and fifth in steals (179) on the UCLA all-time career list.



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