As head coach Patrick Ewing’s search for assistants pulls into its second week, many names have been brandied about. HoyaReport.com and its members only message board, Premium Court, is THE best and most accurate place to cover this process.
While all the names have been recognizable, despite some not having their feet in college hoops recently or ever, they have all coaching experience beyond leading high school aged players; basically having coached college or pro guys.
But is that the only way to go? In a word, no. Why not?
The world of college recruiting now largely centers around grassroots basketball. What’s commonly known as AAU (though it might not be associated with the actual Amateur Athletic Union organization), wags the recruiting dog’s tail so to speak. It makes sense given the explosion at both pre and high school travel team ball at all levels, a movement in which kids spend months/years with organizations and coaches, traveling with them around the country to play during the spring and summer, all the while for many, these bench leaders functioning as mentors.
In short, relationships are formed, maintained, fostered. Some become bonds that extend into adulthood.
This travel team world has reorganized in recent years, shifting from individual, stand alone organizations to relatively independent groups sponsored by shoe companies to organizations that largely compete in specific shoe company leagues. While the pre-high school ages are self-financed (though many do have a shoe company identification), high school players that big time colleges are really pursuing are to a large level segregated along athletic apparel company lines competition.
That last concentration – known commonly as shoe company circuits – is where a majority of highly (read D1 high major) recruited players compete. The largest are Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League, Under Armour’s Association competition, along with Adidas’ Gauntlet. To be clear good players play for programs not on the three big shoe circuits (see the DMV’s The District and Mid-Atlantic Select outlets amongst others), but that triad is certainly a prime source for talent, even taking on outsized importance as such.
To review; college basketball recruiting is dominated by travel team spring/summer ball – it makes sense as recruiters can see a concentrated set of talented players much more efficiently than traversing the country to individual high schools - creating a landscape that demands a special knowledge base. A coach who knows the relationships, rivalries, power brokers and overlooked organizations/players can add value to a program.
Want an example of such a guy? Look no further than Doug Martin.
The perennial coach of EYBL (Nike) Team Takeover’s 16u outfit, Martin has worked with TTO since its inception seven years ago. Over that time, an estimated 152 of the organization’s players have gone off to Division I basketball.
A graduate of Viterbo University (2014), Martin, who played collegiately there after attending both Gonzaga and Mackin high schools in D.C. has extensive coaching experience. Professionally he’s worked with the CBA’s Lacrosse Bobcats, coaching former Hoyas Charles Smith and Anthony Tucker in the process. Add high school hoops to his list of coaching stops, as he’s been on benches at Einstein and Paul VI, both suburban Washington, DC institutions.
In terms of coaching influences, Don Zierden (CBA) has impacted him, as have PVI’s Glenn Farrello, Keith Stevens of Team Takeover and Kenny Johnson, another TTO guy, who now coaches at Louisville.
But it’s on the travel team circuit where Martin has distinguished himself, not only helping Takeover’s D1 alumni but aiding many others, including portions its current 307 player roster along all age groups.
Here’s a snapshot of players he’s directly coached: NBA standouts Kevin Durant and Ty Lawson during a stint with the now defunct AAU group DC Blue Devils, plus a slew of TTO guys, including Josh Hart and Phil Booth of Villanova, Stan Robinson (Indiana/Rhody), Dion Wiley (Maryland), Temple’s Obi Enechionyia, Bryant Crawford (Wake Forest) and Cincy’s Justin Jenifer, among many others. Current Hoyas Marcus Derrickson and Tre Campbell were also on Martin's teams.
As a Takeover principal, he’s also served as the Victor Oladipo Skills Academy’s Camp Director, exposing him to many of the nation’s top players – learning what makes them tick, getting a feel of what those kids offer. On the EYBL and in related competitions, he’s coached against many of America's best prospects.
At the travel team and high school levels, good programs wholly embrace skill development, something Martin is known for. His specialty, but not sole area of expertise, is guard play, with an emphasis on the lead guard role.
Add administrative ability to his skill set, helping manage TTO overall in addition to running his team. The VOS Camp also demands organization and planning, which have been spearheaded by Martin.
How does this tie into G’Town’s assistant coach search?
The Hoyas, once one of college basketball’s most envied and feared brands, need an infusion of talent and energy. Martin, with his relationships nationally and demonstrated drive, can provide both. G’Town also is at a point where Ewing, who has never coached or recruited in college, needs guidance in the travel team space. Martin is capable of providing that.
For a coach like Ewing, who is Georgetown’s best player ever, a Hall of Fame pro guy that has been in pro ball for around 15 years, having coaches capable in coaching, development, recruiting and administration are a must; basically guys who can wear different hats. Martin checks the boxes.
Even if Martin is not considered, someone with his skill set should be.
During Ewing's introduction presser, he shared a belief basketball recruiting is not dissimilar to his experience as America’s top recruit in 1981. On some levels, like the need to sell, close and listen to his staff, that rings true.
But there are different layers, different platforms, and of course different power centers in recruiting now, not to mention the information age’s impact that must be managed.
Doug Martin, or a guy who brings the same experience, could help Ewing and the Hoyas successfully navigate this new space.
As a well known travel team coach shared “Doug is a great relationship guy. Excellent on the bench and in skill development. He's ready to make that jump”.
Farello, PVI's celebrated head coach thinks similarly, opining "Doug Martin, I'll tell you what, he's one of the finest coaches I've every been associated with. He has the the total package; basketball acumen, teaches the games, works with players.
"He helped us win a championship. I've always been a huge fan of Doug Martin".
The concept of considering him or another travel team world guy demands serious merit.
Discuss Martin, what he or a like positioned coach brings to the table, and past controversy surrounding him – which shouldn’t be a strike against any candidacy held against him – on Premium Court.