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December 14, 2012
Nearly five years removed from the decision to leave Purdue University to play for Mike Brey and the Fighting Irish, sixth-year senior Scott Martin claims he has little to no emotion about playing against the Boilermakers (4-5) Saturday at the Crossroads Classic in Banker's Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
"I don't see it as anything different than us going down there and playing IU last year," said Martin, a two-year captain who is averaging 8.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. "I don't really know any of the guys on the team now, so it's not like I'm going back and playing against a bunch of guys I played with. It's just like going down there and playing IU."
Martin, 24, was granted a sixth-year of eligibility after sitting out the 2008-09 season upon his transfer and then missing the 2009-10 season with a knee injury. Martin's father, Scott, also dealt with illness back in Valparaiso, Ind., which prompted his son's desire to be closer to home so he could assist with his father's recovery. The NCAA took all of these factors into consideration and granted him an additional year with the Irish.
"There will always be decent ties there and there are still some guys around," Martin said. "But in terms of their personnel, it's a completely different group that I'm not familiar with. Even offensively and defensively, they're doing things differently than when I was there."
Martin averaged 21.9 minutes per game, 8.5 points and 3.8 rebounds for Matt Painter's Boilermakers in 2007-08. He was a high school teammate of Robbie Hummel, who went to Purdue with Martin. But an imperfect mesh with Purdue's system eventually contributed to Martin's departure from West Lafayette.
"No one is upset," said Martin in the aftermath of his transfer. "It didn't work out and I don't think (Painter) was too thrilled. But the way things happened, I don't think anybody's bitter about it."
Purdue's loss has been Notre Dame's gain.
"His leadership has been fabulous," Brey said. "This guy really knows our system and our program, and he knows his teammates. He's done as much coaching as probably any of my assistants at times with this group, and that's where it starts. He does so much.
"When we have our basketball camp in the summer and our guys play in front of our campers, I always tell the campers to watch Scott Martin play on both ends of the floor. He knows how to play the game. How he moves on the offensive end, how he screens. Defensively, how he rotates and talks. He's the total package. He's a beautiful basketball player to watch on both ends of the floor."
Brey said he is not concerned with Martin's emotions when the Irish square off with the Boilermakers Saturday.
"I think he'll be excited to play, but the veteran guy that he is and the demeanor he has, I think he's going to be stable," Brey said. "If it was a younger player in this situation, I would be more concerned. But Scott's had a lot of experiences here. He also knows he's got to be rock solid because he's our captain and our guys really look to him."
Just another game, just another experience for Martin.
"Had it been a year or two years after I transferred, it would be a little bit more (emotional) because I played with all those guys and you know those guys," Martin said.
"Now, it's just like any other team. I don't know them. I watch them a little closer because I was there. I'm a little more familiar with them than other teams. But I don't have the relationships, which would make it a bit more meaningful."
A career .300 shooter from three-point range, Martin paces the Irish in percentage beyond the arc at .452 (14-of-31).
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