By: John Raffel
All-state candidate Demetri Martin giving Big Rapids major boost
Demetri Martin is gaining a lot of attention from college coaches as the all-state candidate tries to gear his Big Rapids boys basketball team to another long post-season run.
One of Martin's best nights was when he exploded for 35 points and led the Cardinals (6-0, 4-0) to an 86-58 Central State Activities Association boys basketball Gold Division victory over the Hornets (2-5, 1-3).
“I think I had 36 my sophomore year against Alma,” Martin said.
Big Rapids pulled away in the second half.
“We had a little bit of a pep talk in the locker room at halftime,” Martin said. “We came out really flat. We had to pick up the intensity.”
“Martin is the best player in our league in the last 10 years,” Central coach Dan Basom said. “You have to give him credit. He made some tough shots. We played a nice first half but backed down a little bit. I thought they came out with more energy and we didn't match that in the second half.”
Martin is hoping to help the Cardinals make it as far as they did last season when they went to the Class B state semifinals at the Breslin Center. “We need to improve on coming out and playing hard,” Martin said. “We can't come out and play flat.”
The Cardinals may not have as much starting depth as they did a year ago. They're a strong three on offense with Martin, senior Christian Hector and junior Braeden Childress. The two other starters have been sophomores Jackob Martinson and Dorian Martin, Demetri's younger brother.
It's common to make comparisons with brothers, but Dorian himself has noticed some similarities and contrasts.
"We're different," Dorian said. "He can shoot, he can dribble; he can do everything. I take it to the hole and pass the ball."
Kent Ingles, who has coached high school basketball for more than 40 years at Greenville and now Big Rapids “absolutely,” believes in Martin's potential to play college basketball. He's gotten offers from Rochester College and is being touted by Division II schools including hometown Ferris. Ingles acknowledged that Division I might not be an immediate possibility for academic reasons.
“There were three or four (college coaches) here tonight,” Ingles said after a recent game. “He's immediately eligible for D II. He could play D I. He just wants to play. A lot of people want to redshirt kids. But he's not a redshirt kid. He wants to play right away.”
Martin played a key role in Big Rapids' run to the state semifinals last season, but has impressed Ingles even more this year.
“The thing about Demetri at the next level is he can play three different positions for you,” Ingles said. “He can the play the one, the two or three. He can play forward. He's a complete player.”