While redshirt junior Josh Martin sprints up and down the basketball court, it is impossible to ignore his athleticism. Martin stands at 6 feet 8 inches and possesses the leaping ability to practically jump straight out of the gym. This coming season, he is arguably a key player on the undersized Cal Poly men’s basketball team.
“When you see Josh, you see a great athlete,” head coach Joe Callero said. “He flies around. He can get you a dunk and he can get you twenty rebounds.”
But Martin’s time at Cal Poly has been filled with more adversity than time on the court. Last season, he suffered a stress fracture in his foot, and after the injury, he couldn’t compete for the rest of the season. However, this fall, that setback will have nothing on him. He received a medical redshirt, keeping another full year of NCAA eligibility.
Martin’s role as a key player
Martin’s physical presence on the team brings some much-needed raw athleticism that can get plenty of points in the paint and contribute on both offensive and defensive rebounds. These attributes make him a force on the wing as a power forward.
“I think he can be anything from a leading scorer to a leading rebounder and an unbelievable defender,” Callero said.
Moreover, Martin has a strong commitment to the team aside from his role strictly on the court. According to Callero, Martin makes an impact not only on the court but also on his fellow teammates.
“He impacts the team because he’s enthusiastic,” Callero said. “He’s got a great love for the game. He also has a tremendous work ethic. In fact, his injury occurred from overuse. He got a stress fracture in his foot from playing too many hours. What I really like about Josh is that he embraces the team culture of our program.”
With Martin’s enthusiasm and love for the game, he cares for the team’s success second to his own. This selfless mindset has benefited the Mustangs and helped the team improve as a program, building a better sense of unity. Even though Martin wasn’t able to help the team on the court last season, he was able to contribute from the sideline. He improved his understanding of the game and helped his fellow Mustangs get better as well.
“Sitting on the bench helped me see things that I didn’t see before when I was playing,” Martin said. “So now that I’m playing, I see things and react to them better than before. I can communicate mismatches better, understand defenses and overall help my team get better. I feel like I can really contribute to my team getting wins.”
Looking beyond the injury
Now that Martin is healthy, it will be crucial that he leads the team with his work ethic and dedication while being cautious to not overwork himself. The adversity Martin faced with his injury fueled his knowledge and helped him take his game to the next level mentally.
The challenge of coming back from an injury is daunting, and certainly no small task. However, with his newfound perspective, Martin looks to utilize his athleticism, skill and genuine love for the game to his team’s advantage in hope of a successful season. Since Martin has made his comeback, emphasized the importance of Martin’s performance at a high level.
“Martin has the skillset to play at a really high level,” Callero said. “He needs to find some consistency with what we’ve been doing and implement that into his game. With his athleticism and enthusiasm, this guy has unlimited potential.”
Cal Poly’s men’s basketball season quickly approaches with their opener against Cal State East Bay on Nov. 2. Callero’s strong defensive-oriented squad will look to improve upon last season’s 11-20 record with a more mature and experienced team.