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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Conversation with Jarell Martin – Gatorade Player of the Year Nominee, Louisiana

With the Louisiana High School Athletic Association boys basketball playoffs starting today, I thought it would be fitting to discuss some high school hoops action. I have the privilege of covering the athletic program of Madison Prep Academy in Baton Rouge Louisiana. Their boys basketball team is enjoying a very special season, having won its first ever District 8-B championship.

This special team also has a special player, Jarell Martin. Martin, a 6’7” junior is one of ESPNU’s top 20 among their Super 60 of the class of 2013. Martin was recently nominated for Gatorade Player of the Year in Louisiana.

The Gatorade Player of the Year award recognizes athletic excellence, academic achievement, and exemplary character among high school athletes. Gatorade acknowledges an athlete in each category of sport in every state. Ultimately, a National Player of the Year is chosen.

I had a conversation with Jarell Martin about his nomination for this prestigious award. Coincidentally, his nomination was announced on the same day that Madison Prep clinched its district title with a win at home over Centerville High School.

Jarell Martin dunks against Baton Rouge area basketball powerhouse Glen Oaks. 1
The Daily Hat Trick: Jarell, first of all, you had an outstanding game tonight, a double-double (for points and rebounds). (Madison Prepatory High School Boys Basketball Head) Coach (Jeff Jones) informed me before the game that you were nominated for the Gatorade Player of the Year Award. What does that entail?

Jarell Martin: It’s a state thing, (competing with) the top players in the state.

TDHT: I also saw, according to the ESPN rankings for the class of 2013, you are currently ranked number 20. So you are really climbing up the ladder very quickly. Have you found that the interest from recruiters has increased throughout the year?

Martin: Yes, sir. College coaches come in and talk to me (and) talk to my coach. I’m enjoying it right now!

TDHT: Who has called on you so far?

Martin: Louisville, Mississippi State, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma State…they’re the ones who have been calling lately. There have been plenty more who have been calling my coaches.

TDHT: Can you tell me who is in your top three or four? Who looks most favorable, so far?

Martin: I haven’t really been looking into it this year, really taking the time right now. I’ll wait until next year to start looking at colleges.

TDHT: What are you looking for in a college? What is most important to you?

Martin: Their style of play.

TDHT: Is geography or any part of the country important? Weather...or academic programs offered…do any of those factor in or is it mainly style of play is that the big driver?

Martin: Mainly style of play…the coaching staff. I look into the players they’ve got on their team who play my position.

TDHT: And you are currently listed as a small forward, is that right?

Martin:  Yes, sir.

TDHT: Is that where you think you’ll be in college?

Martin: Yes, sir.

TDHT: Alright. Well, keep up the good work. You’re doing everybody proud!

As you can gather from the preceding transcript, Martin is a humble young man who appears to be taking a lot of positive publicity in stride. His grounded demeanor is going to go a long way with college coaches and scouts. It has been a pleasure to watch him and his teammates develop and achieve this season. Hopefully, the run will extend all the way to a championship banner. Regardless, the college that eventually lands Martin will pick up a true asset to any major college program.

Jarell is a quiet kid, but he can play with a little flare when he wants to! 2

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1) Image from www.theadvocate.com
2) Video from www.youtube.com

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