EuroBasket had exclusive access to Newcastle Eagles first import signing of the summer, a player who they hope can make the big leap from NCAA basketball in USA to professional basketball in Europe. A rookie professional he may be but Scott Martin (203-G-88, agency: Interperformances) comes with a great pedigree after spending six seasons of college eligibility before joining the professional ranks. Hailing from Indiana the 6 8 guard/forward spent one season at Purdue before switching to Notre Dame.
At Notre Dame as well as being a captain, he started for the last three years of his college career although an injury to his left knee cut short his final season and he hasnt played since January of this year. But, for The BBL to sign a player who started for a top 25 team from the Big East Conference is a real coup for Newcastle and with Scott now fully recovered from his knee injury and getting back to match fitness he gave this exclusive interview to EuroBasket.
First of all how excited are you about becoming a professional basketball player?
Its something that I have always dreamed about so I am definitely excited for the opportunity and ready to get out on the court.
How did you get the news of Newcastles interest and what did you think when told about it?
I got a call from my agent that there was a possibility of interest from Newcastle and I was excited and thankful that a team with the history like that of Newcastle's was interested in me and would give me an opportunity like this.
Did you speak with anybody at Newcastle before signing?
I was able to speak with Fab (Head Coach Fab Flournoy) before signing. It was a very productive conversation that really gave me an inside look into what to expect when playing for him and for Newcastle. It was great to have a conversation like this because it allowed me to be much more comfortable in my decision to sign on.
What persuaded you to join Newcastle?
The opportunity to play for and with a team that can truly help me improve my game was a big factor in my decision and I believe that will happen with Newcastle. Also, I wanted to be in a winning environment and there is no doubt that Newcastle is a winning environment.
Do you know much about the British Basketball League?
Honestly, I do not know a lot as of now. However, I am learning more and more everyday and am impressed and excited to be part of a league of the quality of the BBL.
What do you think you can bring to The Eagles and what are your hopes and expectations for the forthcoming season?
I'm a versatile player so I will be someone that can grind it out in the paint or step out and shoot the 3 depending on match-ups or situations. I am going to be someone that works hard and will do what it takes to win games because that is the most important thing.
You had a great High School career at Valparaiso in Indiana and as a native of Indiana you are obviously steeped in Hoosier tradition. Was it always basketball for you?
Basketball is king in Indiana. To give you an example when I was in 6th grade my AAU team played in roughly 80 games in one season, so needless to say that is all we would do when we were kids. It was always my favourite sport to play and watch and I'm truly lucky to still be able to play it today.
Your first year in college was at Purdue University where you were part of a stellar intake that included Robbie Hummel, ETwaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson. You were known together as The Baby Boilers all being Top 100 recruits. What was that like?
It was fun playing with Rob, E'Twaun and JaJuan. All three are very good players who had great college careers. We had a good team and won a game in the NCAA tournament, but we were young and got beat by a team that was older and more experienced. But I did enjoy spending that year with those guys.
You decided to transfer after one season at Purdue. Why was that and how did Notre Dame come about?
Purdue wasn't the best fit for me on the court, but more importantly my father became ill and I felt I needed to be closer to home to help out. Luckily for me Coach Brey and Notre Dame were still interested in me and it was closer to my home in Valparaiso. It turned out to be one of the decisions I've ever made and I was able to help out my family (my father is doing well now) and play basketball at a great school like Notre Dame.
Because of the transfer regulations in the NCAA you had to sit-out all of 2008/09 and then tore your left ACL in October 2009 meaning you virtually missed two seasons of ball. How tough was that and how did you cope?
Those years were tough, but I had a great support system in my family, friends, and teammates. Everyone was there for me to help me get through it and I'm thankful to all of them for their help in keeping me positive and focused on coming back ready to play at a high level again.
Once in the Notre Dame line-up you quickly became a starter and a vital part of that team. What was your Notre Dame experience like?
It was a great experience. Playing for Coach Brey was truly great and I feel like I learned a lot from him about the game of basketball. I was fortunate enough to have many great teammates and form great friendships with many of them. In addition to basketball I was able to receive a great education from a great school.
You played with some great players at Notre Dame. Last season Jack Cooley and before that Luke Harangody and Tim Abromaitis. Have they helped you in any way?
I was fortunate to play with a lot of great players while I was at Notre Dame. Guys like Jack, Luke and Tim helped me in the sense that they pushed me everyday in practice to be a better player so that we would be a better team.
Tim Abromaitis played in France Pro A with ASVEL last season. Have you spoken to him about playing in Europe?
Tim and I have spoken about playing basketball in Europe and he has given me some great advice about what to expect. The style of play is a bit different than what I am used to but I'm excited to get acclimated to the different style.
You are described as a 6 8 Guard that plays great defence and has a good shooting touch. You have been classed as a leader by team mates and coaches and having an excellent level of knowledge and sense of the game being a real team player. Would you agree with those comments?
I think any time your teammates and coaches call you a leader its a great honour and I am proud of that. But I have been lucky to be surrounded with great people that have allowed me to develop into that type of player. So to answer the question, yes I guess I would agree that is how I try to play the game.
Although you will be classed as a rookie youre coming out of college a lot later than some, do you think the extra years in college will help you adjust?
I believe it will definitely help me because of the amount of basketball I have been involved in at a high level. I've been around great coaches who have taught me a lot about the game and that knowledge will help me adjust.
Big question, hows the knee?
The knee is doing well, I am able to work out everyday and to get ready for the upcoming season and excited to get back into a game situation.
How quickly do you think you can get up to game speed considering you havent played competitively since January of this year?
Unfortunately, I have had to come back from an injury before so that experience will help me get back quicker. Also, as I said earlier the knee feels good now and I am back working out so I should be at game speed when I arrive to start the season.
The level of basketball in England often surprises US players coming in. Do you think youll be ready for it?
I believe I will be ready and I believe the Eagles expect me to be ready as well or they wouldn't have signed me. I am excited to play against the quality of competition and the challenge that comes with it.
Finally, have you a message for the fans in Newcastle?
Just that I am excited to be part of the family and look forward to seeing them often once the season starts.
And after thoughts and words like this from Martin, it would appear that The Eagles will be just as excited to have the Rookie in their ranks for the forthcoming season.
Manchester drop curtain on Senior Playoff Finals with D1M win - 6 hours ago
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Manchester retained their D1M Playoff title after a comfortable 73-53 win over Loughborough. A poor 2nd quarter where the Riders fell behind and shot just 2/15 from the floor proved too much to overcome against a well drilled and talented Magic side. Unable to call upon the injured Josh Ward-Hibbert, Loughborough struggled to find answers on offence for the duration. With the game meandering through the 2nd half, an altercation between Lee Goldsborough and Jonas Dieterich during a loose b... [read more]
Manchester retained their D1M Playoff title after a comfortable 73-53 win over Loughborough. A poor 2nd quarter where the Riders fell behind and shot just 2/15 from the floor proved too much to overcome against a well drilled and talented Magic side. Unable to call upon the injured Josh Ward-Hibbert, Loughborough struggled to find answers on offence for the duration. With the game meandering through the 2nd half, an altercation between Lee Goldsborough and Jonas Dieterich during a loose ball play led to unsportsmanlike fouls for both players and a disqualification for Magic's Stefan Gill (173-PG-83) after he was involved in the aftermath. That was as exciting as things got in a 2nd half that never really threatened a comeback from Loughborough. Duane Morgan (198-F-93, college: Adelphi) treated the vocal Manchester crowd to some spectacular plays, including a number of dunks and an alley-oop for good measure. He was awarded the game's MVP trophy after his stat line of 20 points, 12 rebounds and 2 assists. Morgan started his MVP afternoon off well and picked up a team high 5 points in the opening 10 minutes. More importantly captain Jack Minister, guard Kayin Darbey (183-PG-94) and Lee Goldsborough all settled into the game with early points as Manchester moved out to a 22-16 1st quarter lead. Loughborough's athletic guard Reiss Pinnock offered some resistance but it wasn't the start the Riders were looking for as the initiative was with their opponents heading into the 2nd. With the largely Manchester based crowd fully into the game and behind the team in the lead, Loughborough crumbled in the 2nd. With only Pinnock and Levi Noel (197-G-91, college: E.Illinois) troubling the scorers, it was a crippling 10 minutes for Loughborough's chances of success as practically everything they attempted failed to connect. With a young roster, confidence was quickly dented and the D1M 5th seeds never really recovered. A 21 point Manchester lead at the half meant the game was firmly in the hands of the reigning playoff champions. The main talking point of the 2nd half occurred midway through the 3rd period and led to Stefan Gill leaving the court much earlier than expected. With Duane Morgan grabbing an offensive rebound, he went to put the ball back before being forced into a miss by a Lucien Christofis foul. Grabbing the rebound as the whistle sounded, both Goldsbrough and Dieterich went about the act with a bit too much effort for the others' liking. That led to a shove from the Manchester man and a chest bump from the Riders' captain. Taking exception to Dieterich's actions, Gill became involved in the melee with a shove that earned him a DQ. Aside from that flash point, the 3rd period played out with little of note. Loughborough sought a way back into the game that was frequently denied by the continued scoring of Manchester and their own errors on offence. Even when the Riders were presented with opportunities from the free throw line, they faltered there to and recorded a 39% success rate from the charity stripe in the game. The final quarter provided Manchester Coach Paul Middleton with a real luxury as he was able to provide his bench with some useful minutes in a showpiece game. Cian Hickey, Tyme Regent-Bascombe and Yannick Onifade (201-C/F) all saw their first action of the contest during the final 10 minutes and Kaiyem Cleary (196-G-99) was provided with an extended opportunity to showcase his talented. To their credit, Loughborough continued to fight but the difference in score didn't deviate far from the 20-point mark before the final buzzer sounded. Courtesy of: basketballengland.co.uk
The BBL Championship regular season came to a close with an action-packed Sunday with Bristol Flyers sealing the final spot in the Play-Offs. Andreas Kapoulas and his side defeated Surrey Scorchers 71-79 behind a double-double from Hameed Ali as both sides edged out Plymouth Raiders, who saw their season end with a 99-93 loss at Manchester Giants. Leicester Riders were beaten 77-80 at home to Worcester Wolves, while Esh Group Eagles Newcastle edged out DBL Sharks Sheffield for an 82-84... [read more]
The BBL Championship regular season came to a close with an action-packed Sunday with Bristol Flyers sealing the final spot in the Play-Offs.
Andreas Kapoulas and his side defeated Surrey Scorchers 71-79 behind a double-double from Hameed Ali as both sides edged out Plymouth Raiders, who saw their season end with a 99-93 loss at Manchester Giants.
Leicester Riders were beaten 77-80 at home to Worcester Wolves, while Esh Group Eagles Newcastle edged out DBL Sharks Sheffield for an 82-84 victory on the road.
Also, Glasgow Rocks came from 20 down to beat London Lions 80-77 with Cheshire Phoenix storming to a 128-77 success over Leeds Force with Mike DiNunno pouring in 34 points.
2017 BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals
Riders (1) v Scorchers (8) Eagles (2) v Flyers (7) Rocks (3) v Lions (6) Sharks (4) v Wolves (5)
All ties will be played over two legs starting next weekend, with exact dates and tip-off times to be confirmed on Monday 24 April. BBL Championship Surrey Scorchers 71 (19,36,50) (McCray 18, Williams 12, Ogedengbe 11) Bristol Flyers 79 (23,36,52) (Ali 19, Smith 16, Cosby/Boggs 13)
Bristol Flyers secured their place in the BBL Play-Offs after beating Surrey Scorchers 71-79 on the road to finish seventh.
Andreas Kapoulas ' side knew that a double-winning weekend would be enough to make the post-season and did exactly that as they followed up a win against Manchester Giants.
The Scorchers had cemented their own spot with a win against Plymouth Raiders on Saturday, and were playing for a higher-placed finish.
Hameed Ali posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 assists, while three other players reached double figures in the win.
The Flyers managed to push ahead by four at the end of the first after an even start, but the game was level at 36 heading into half-time.
The lead changed hands throughout the third quarter with Bristol edging into a two-point lead before quickly opening up a 54-62 advantage in the fourth.
Surrey provided another twist as they closed to within a single point on three occasions late in the game, but Ali closed out the win with a decisive 7-0 run.
Bristol will now face Newcastle in the Play-Offs Quarter-Finals having recovered from a 1-11 start to make the post-season, while Surrey take on league champions, Leicester BBL Championship Leicester Riders 77 (26,47,60) (Bernardini 19, Thomson 16, King 11) Worcester Wolves 80 (21,36,52) (Khan 17, Zeigler 15, Navajas 14)
Worcester Wolves made a return to winning ways as they held on to hand Leicester Riders a first home defeat since December with a 77-80 victory.
Ashton Khan top scored with a 17-point haul having hit a huge triple heading into the final minute with Wolves also welcoming back Maurice Walker to action on court.
The Riders led 20-9 early on before the Wolves cut the gap with a strong finish to the first, though the hosts restored their 11-point lead at the half.
A 16-0 start to the second half saw Worcester take the lead before the Riders responded with 13 straight to end the third up eight. The visitors poured in 28 points in the fourth to power to victory as they finish with 20 league wins.
Tyler Bernardini had a game-high 19 points for the Riders as they drop three of their last four having already secured the league title. BBL Championship DBL Sharks Sheffield 82 (19,42,60) (Rembert 16, Riley 15, Davis 13) Esh Group Eagles Newcastle 84 (27,37,66) (Fletcher 28, Martin 15, Behrens/Hart 8)
Esh Group Eagles Newcastle closed out their regular season camapign with an 82-84 victory on the road against DBL Sharks Sheffield.
Rahmon Fletcher netted a game-high 28 points as the Eagles followed up Friday's win over Leicester Riders to finish 23-10 on the season.
Scott Martin opened with back-to-back triples in an early 13-0 run from the Eagles before the home side responded to cut the gap and took the lead in the second on an 11-2 run.
The Sharks led by as many as nine points at 53-44 before Fletcher scored 13 points in a pivotal 20-0 reply from Newcastle as they surged into an 11-point lead.
A 5-0 close reduced the deficit and after falling 10 behind once more, the Sharks hit back with a 9-2 run to set up an exciting finish. Rashawn Rembert made it 80-79 in the final minute before Drew Lasker fired Newcastle back ahead from downtown before his free throw sealed the win.
Rembert had 16 points in the loss with Jordan Davis adding 13 points and 10 assists as the Sharks finish in fourth with a 20-13 record behind Glasgow. BBL Championship Glasgow Rocks 80 (16,37,54) (Lescault 19, Achara 17, Bunyan/Watson 15) London Lions 77 (25,49,68) (Hassan 19, Owumi 15, Taylor/Niktash 14)
Glasgow Rocks came from as many as 20 points down to beat London Lions 80-77 for a dramatic final day victory.
The Rocks were 48-68 behind with less than two minutes to go in the third, but battled back with a 26-9 final period to take the win with third place secured earlier in the day.
Glasgow still trailed by 14 heading into the fourth and sealed the win with a 15-2 close in the final six minutes with a couple of huge triples from Jonny Bunyan.
Hayden Lescault top scored with 19 points, while Kieron Achara added 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting as well as eight rebounds, four assists and five blocks i the win.
The Lions looked set to finish with two wins on the weekend before their opponents' stunning rally and the two teams will meet again next week in the Quarter-Finals of the Play-Offs.
BBL Championship Manchester Giants 99 (26,49,75) (Jones 26, Williams 25, Bell/Okoro 13) Plymouth Raiders 93 (28,55,80) (Dixon 29, Corletto 26, Nicholas 14)
Manchester Giants finished a difficult season with a flourish as they claimed a 99-93 victory over Plymouth Raiders.
The Raiders needed a win coupled with a loss for Bristol Flyers to make the post-season, but their campaign ends with double disappointment.
Callum Jones starred with 26 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists, while player-coach Yorick Williams fired in seven triples in a 25-point haul.
Plymouth jumped out to a 2-13 start and that would be their largest lead of the game as the Giants battled back and eventually took the lead with a 7-0 start to the fourth.
Cory Dixon had 29 points in vain for the Raiders with Daryl Corletto adding 26 as they finish with a 14-19 record.
BBL Championship Cheshire Phoenix 128 (39,76,101) (DiNunno 34, Brown 26, Allen-Jordan 16) Leeds Force 77 (12,40,59) (Marsden 30, Sanders 20, Matthew 10)
Cheshire Phoenix ended their 2016-17 BBL campaign in style after recording an emphatic 128-77 success against Leeds Force.
Mike DiNunno poured in 34 points in just 22 minutes, while Earl Brown recorded a double-double with 26 points and 14 rebounds, missing just two shots from the field.
Cheshire scored 39 points in a dominant first quarter and had a commanding 76-40 advantage at the half as they powered their way to a 51-point win.
The visitors were without two starters in Rob Sandoval and Jack Isenbarger as they suffered a heavy defeat to end their campaign.
Rob Marsden led Force with 30 points and 11 rebounds as they finish the season with eight wins to their name, with Cheshire one place ahead in 10th with an 11-22 record.
The final day of the 2016-17 BBL Regular Season on Sunday has seen the line-up for the forthcoming BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals confirmed. 2017 BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals Riders (1) v Scorchers (8) Eagles (2) v Flyers (7) Rocks (3) v Lions (6) Sharks (4) v Wolves (5) All ties will be played over two legs starting next weekend, with exact dates and tip-off times to be confirmed on Monday 24 April. The last two teams standing after the Quarter-Finals and subsequent Semi-Finals, will adv... [read more]
The final day of the 2016-17 BBL Regular Season on Sunday has seen the line-up for the forthcoming BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals confirmed.
2017 BBL Play-Off Quarter-Finals
Riders (1) v Scorchers (8) Eagles (2) v Flyers (7) Rocks (3) v Lions (6) Sharks (4) v Wolves (5)
All ties will be played over two legs starting next weekend, with exact dates and tip-off times to be confirmed on Monday 24 April.
The last two teams standing after the Quarter-Finals and subsequent Semi-Finals, will advance to The 02 in London on Sunday 14 May for the 2017 British Basketball Play-Off Finals, where a record-breaking crowd is being anticipated.
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