If SMU wasn't already on the verge of a preseason top 10 ranking, the Mustangs made an addition Tuesday night that should increase their chances.
Justin Martin, Xavier's second-leading scorer this past season, announced via his Twitter account that he is transferring to SMU. The 6-foot-6 small forward had also visited West Virginia and Florida State since revealing in April that he intended to leave the Musketeers.
Since Martin graduated from Xavier this spring, he will be eligible immediately at SMU. He averaged 11.7 points and 5.2 rebounds this past season for the Musketeers, complementing star guard Semaj Christon by scoring in double figures in 16 of his final 21 games.
Adding Martin strengthens an SMU team that will be seeking to not only end a 22-year NCAA tournament drought but also do some damage once it gets there.
The Mustangs return their two leading scorers, guard Nic Moore and forward Markus Kennedy, from a team that won 27 games, narrowly missed the NCAA tournament and advanced all the way to the NIT title game. They also bring back a collection of key role players and add five-star recruit Emmanuel Mudiay, who will surely start right away at point guard. Additionally, there's a chance Texas Tech transfer Jordan Tolbert will be eligible right away, though SMU is so deep that it might benefit both parties if he takes a redshirt year to work on his game.
Martin's 37.3 percent 3-point shooting and ability to defend bigger wings gives him a great chance to start at small forward for SMU alongside Mudiay and Moore in the backcourt. Promising rising sophomore Keith Frazier is probably the other candidate to start at wing if he can make a leap in his second season after playing sparingly as a freshman.
SMU is also well-stocked in the frontcourt with Kennedy, 6-foot-10 Cannen Cunningham and 6-foot-11 Yannick Moreira, among others. In other words, if the returners continue to improve under Brown and the talented newcomers mesh with their teammates, next winter could be a special season for long-struggling SMU.
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