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Ignored Martin Evens The Score Catamount Out of the Bag


Kevin Martin, the 6'7" junior shooting guard at Western Carolina
who was averaging 26.8 points at week's end--tying him for the
national scoring lead with Saint Peter's sophomore guard Keydren
Clark--is the latest proof that recruiting is a very inexact
science. Martin was an unsigned senior in April of 2001 when
Catamounts coach Steve Shurina came to Zanesville, Ohio, to watch
him work out. Shurina was there only because his top recruit had
reneged on his commitment. "I wondered whether [Shurina] was
interested just so he could fill out that last scholarship,"
Martin recalls, but since he had no better offers, he went ahead
and signed.

This season through Sunday the wispy 185-pounder was shooting
52.5% from the floor and 45.3% from three-point range. "He's for
real, no doubt," said Arkansas coach Stan Heath after watching
Martin score 33 in the Catamounts' 62-59 overtime upset of the
Razorbacks on Dec. 22. "He's a lot like Reggie Miller; he's thin
but he's deceptively strong. He can score from long range or in
close, and he doesn't need much room to get his shot off."

Shurina is especially grateful that Martin is in Cullowhee
because he almost lost the player twice during his freshman year.
The first time was in the fall of '01, when Martin was intensely
homesick. Later, after Martin had averaged 22.1 points, Shurina
worried that he might leave for one of the many high-major
colleges that made it clear they would be interested in accepting
him as a transfer. Martin, however, says he never thought about
going. "If anything, I felt a little angry, wondering where all
these schools were during my senior year of high school," he