Off to a hot start

DRIVEN: Big Rapids junior Demetri Martin (with ball) drives to the net against Kingsley earlier this season. (Pioneer file photo)

DRIVEN: Big Rapids junior Demetri Martin (with ball) drives to the net against Kingsley earlier this season. (Pioneer file photo)

Big Rapids junior Demetri Martin averaging 21.5 PPG through four games

BIG RAPIDS – Big Rapids junior Demetri Martin worked diligently in the summer to build off last season’s stellar boys basketball campaign.

His hard work has produced dividends early on as he has averaged 21.5 points per game to lead the Cardinals to a 3-1 start. He averaged 16.9 points per game last season.

The improvement, Martin said, can be attributed to a high level of competition this summer playing for the 16-under Grand Rapids Storm AAU team. There, he played against some of the best high school players in the country.

“It was fantastic,” Martin said. “Playing there got me to where I’m at today. I got more athletic and stronger, and I’m not scared to play against anyone.

“I’ve grown a ton. I wasn’t a jump shooter last year and my ball-handling is a lot better. And I make a lot smarter decisions now than I used to and  just have to continuing playing hard, playing aggressive.”

The 6-foot-4 junior also is playing with a lot more confidence. In the Central State Activities Association Gold Division opener, he hit a last-second 3-pointer to give the Cardinals a 63-62 victory.

Against McBain in the third game of the year, he sank a game-tying triple with eight seconds to go before the Ramblers hit a last-second, game-winning 3-pointer of their own.

Dec. 18, against Grant, one of the CSAA favorites this season, Marin scored a game-high 25 points to lead Big Rapids to a 64-56 win.

“He just glides out there,” Big Rapids coach Kent Ingles said. “Teams know what he’s going to do and he still just runs right by you.”

Martin’s play also has garnered the attention of several colleges – both at the Division I and Division II levels. He said Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Northern Illinois University and Eastern Kentucky University all have shown interest.

“My goal is to play college basketball,” Martin said.

He also has a complement of upperclassmen around him in seniors Jeffrey Davenport, Ryan Mackall, Kenny Davis and Brenton Childress, giving the Cardinals one of the most veteran and deepest teams in the area.

And although both Martin and Ingles admit the team still has a long way to go, aspirations for this season remain high.

“We are a really deep team,” Martin said. “We have a ton of height and athleticism, and if we’re on, there’s really no team in our conference that can play with us. But we still need to get better and continue to learn.”

The Cardinals are off until Jan. 8, when they travel to Tri County.

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Posted by Ryan Zuke

Ryan is the sports editor for the Big Rapids Pioneer, covering local prep sports and Ferris State athletics. He can be contacted at (231) 592-8363 or rzuke@pioneergroup.com.

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