Ex-Musketeer leaves Southern Methodist

By: Adam Tortelli ~Staff Writer~

Early last spring, the Xavier community learned that its beloved men’s basketball team would be losing one of its own following a decision to transfer.
Now he is moving on yet again, forgoing the remainder of his senior season to pursue a professional career.

Forward Justin Martin left the Musketeer family to finish out his college career at Southern Methodist University for Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown. Because he was redshirted his freshman year at Xavier, Martin received his degree and graduated this past May with the class of 2014.

By doing so, Martin also earned the ability to play immediately for the Mustangs this season. ESPN reports that the departure largely came as a result of Martin’s lacking academic efforts. The news initially could have made sense to Musketeer fans. Xavier consistently impressed the college basketball world during the 2013-14 season and earned a spot in the 2014 NCAA tournament play-in game in large part due to Martin’s continued

Former Musketeer Justin Martin is leaving SMU and is reported to be seeking out options in professional leagues
Former Musketeer Justin Martin is leaving SMU and is reported to be seeking out options in professional leagues

development as the season progressed. But freshman forward Trevon Blueitt has been a coveted prospect for years, and Martin’s minutes were surely going to be cut in favor of developing the highest ranked recruiting class in school

The thought of battling for a starting position he possessed for two years on less competitive rosters was not appealing to Martin’s collegiate career.

Thus, began the rumors and constant questions: “At the end of the day you want to make sure guys on our roster want to be there and compete for a Big East championship, and Justin’s heart wasn’t in it,” Chris Mack said shortly after the story broke. The most fitting rationale was Martin’s role on this season’s roster.

Martin and last year’s leading scorer, Semaj Christon, left center Matt Stainbrook as the highest returning scorer from last year’s team.

Had Martin stayed, Xavier would easily be considered a favorite for the conference championship because of his size and ability to score from the wing. Now, after just 15 games into his final year of eligibility, Martin announced his plans to leave SMU mid-season. ESPN reported that Martin had become academically inelligble.

The 6-foot-6 guard/forward averaged 5.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 12.2 minutes per game as a Mustang (compared to 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds in over 30 minutes per game as a redshirt junior in his final season as a Musketeer). Martin may choose to pursue a track in the NBA’s development league or if he will look overseas for a higher contract and more security.