"It's All About The Game"
Martin Handling Pressure Ably
Ron Bailey, Publisher
November 13, 2007 – It’s common knowledge that following in a parent’s sports footsteps, particularly when the young person partakes in his/her parent’s specific athletic endeavor, is ripe with pressure: Past and present expectations experienced by the progeny of such sports luminaries as Walter Payton (his son Jarrett played football collegiately and briefly in the National Football League, before now competing in Canada), Michael Jordan (son Jeff is a freshman walk-on at Illinois), and others speak to it. All of these young people have all acknowledged the pressure – good or bad – that accompanies being the child of a professional athlete.
While his father was not the player Jordan or Payton were, freshman Chris Martin is following in large footsteps himself, even if the expectations could be thought of as more local than broader. Such are the ropes, when your father is D.C. legend, Billy Martin, who starred at both McKinley Tech (DC) and Georgetown University, before playing three years in the National Basketball Association.
“I’m motivated by it” said Martin at September’s Maryland Invitational travel team tournament, of the pressure generated by not only his father, but stepping into a prime role as a neophyte at St. John’s College High School (DC). “I feel it a little bit, but it’s a good thing”.
“I think people have high expectations because of his father” opined Chris’ mother, Janice Payton. “He should be able to be his own individual”.
Martin possesses major lift on his text book jumpshot.
Talking to Chris and seeing him play, it’s clear he has carved a unique identity, as the 6’0”, 165 pound combo guard differs from his 6’7” father not only in stature and game – the elder Martin was a rebounding small forward – but has the type of personality that allows him to be a leader in his own right.
In fact, not only will Martin take a leading role at St. John’s this year, a prospect that led him to state “I’m ready”, but has already been tested by his travel team organization, D.C. Assault. His coach with Assault going forward, David Dodson, was open during the Maryland Invitational with his expectations of Martin, saying “He’s going to have to learn to control the game; when to run, and when to pull out”.
Martin, who remarked of Dodson “He told me he was going to lean on me to make me better” is seemingly prepared to be a leader with both Assault and St. John’s from a basketball standpoint; A prodigious scorer with a text book jump shot predicated on great lift, Chris can put up numbers, is physically advanced for his age, and illustrates a good knowledge of the game.
Working on his self-proclaimed weaknesses of “ball handling and conditioning” will allow the precocious young man to meet his challenges head on, which Martin acknowledged when saying “I have a lot to live up to” generally, while specifically noting “People keep talking, saying how bad we will be” at St. John’s this year. Much of that speculation is predicated on the school losing multiple scorers, including a McDonald All-American, Chris Wright.
Why would the youngster choose a school that arguably could be viewed as in rebuilding mode, when a multitude of other options existed? A combination of factors led to the decision.
“In making that decision, I talked to a lot of people who were saying Coach (Paul) DeStefano was a good coach that would give Chris a chance to do well” said his mother, Payton. “We saw more opportunity at St. John’s”.
Additionally, the scholastic reputation of St. John’s was appealing to Payton, given her son’s standing as an excellent student, as did the athletic pedigree of the Cadet’s league, the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, leading Payton to share “Chris really wanted to be a part of the WCAC and that competition”.
Such a mentality more or less defines Chris, who is not one to shy away from a challenge, academically or athletically, and colleges have started to taken notice. Martin relayed to HoyaReport.com during G’Town’s Midnight Madness celebration, “NC State, Georgetown, West Virginia, George Mason and Stanford” have sent letters of interest this school year.
If recruiting attention is construed as flattery, Chris Martin is getting heaps of praise, without having played any high school ball yet. Again, expectations rear their head.
But Martin seems to be comfortable with them. If anybody has to deal
with similar pressure, Chris can be used as a textbook case in how to
handle them: Just keep doing what you do, and work hard.
2007 i95Ballerz.com. This website is a supplier of information unaffiliated with any high school, AAU college, university, or professional team. All Rights Reserved