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May 11, 2012

Martin granted sixth year

Exactly one month ago Scott Martin was named MVP of the Notre Dame hoops squad at the team's awards ceremony. Now Martin knows he'll get the chance to go back-to-back for that award.

On Friday night Notre Dame announced that Martin had been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA and will return to the program next season. Martin averaged 9.5 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as a fifth-year senior and his return means the Irish will bring back all five starters from last season's NCAA tournament squad.

Martin's case for a sixth year hinged on both the torn ACL he suffered before the 2009-10 season and the fact he had a hardship claim during his transfer year from Purdue after his father was diagnosed with eye cancer.

"We're thrilled in the NCAA's decision to grant Scott a sixth year of eligibility," said head coach Mike Brey in a statement. "Scott was our "glue guy" this past season with our young team. He helped drive us with his experience and leadership.

"I was so proud of him in how he handled himself once Tim Abromaitis went down with his ACL injury. Scott is a great example for college basketball and we're excited that he gets an opportunity to play one more season in a Notre Dame uniform."

Despite the fact Tim Abromaitis was denied his appeal for a sixth season of eligibility, Martin's return elevates expectations for the Irish as they attempt to navigate a jumbled Big East that includes a probation-rocked Connecticut while Syracuse and Pittsburgh count down their final seasons in the league before bolting to the ACC.

Notre Dame finished 22-12 last season and 13-5 in the Big East, making the conference tournament semifinals and falling to Xavier in the Round of 64 of the NCAA tournament. Expectations will be much higher next season with Martin back to go with Eric Atkins, Jerian Grant, Jack Cooley and Pat Connaughton to go with eligible transfer Garrick Sherman plus a talented incoming freshman class that includes Cam Biedscheid.

"It was a fun group to be around, it was a great story," Brey said after the team's awards ceremony on April 11. "But I like the story pending with expectations. I like that challenge in how we come back."

Martin graduated in December from Notre Dame with a bachelor's degree in history and computer applications. He's currently enrolled in graduate school at the University.

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