This is Amelia Rayno's third season on the Gophers men's basketball beat. She learned college basketball in North Carolina (Go Tar Heels!), where fanhood is not an option. In 2010, she joined the Star Tribune after graduating from Boston's Emerson College, which sadly had no exciting D-I college hoops to latch onto. Amelia has also worked on the sports desk at the Boston Globe and interned at the Detroit News.

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Gophers target Josh Martin thinks Minnesota can help develop him into an all-around, NBA-caliber player

Posted by: Amelia Rayno under College basketball, Gophers coaches Updated: August 27, 2013 - 12:12 PM

Josh Martin is a three-star 2014 recruit per Rivals.com (four according to ESPN) from Seattle, Washington. At 6-8, Martin has played power forward most of his life, but is versatile enough to also play on the wing. The Gophers started recruiting Martin at the beginning of the AAU season and have now become one of his top four schools. Florida State, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State are all also in the picture, as could be UCLA, which recently contacted Martin, if that relationship grows. Martin will be visiting both Florida State and Minnesota at the same time as Wade Baldwin, a New Jersey guard that Martin got to know at some AAU events this summer. Any talks of a package deal seem premature, however. “We’ll see,” Martin said.

What has intrigued you about Minnesota? Obviously, staff-wise, I like coach Pitino. He’s the son of Rick Pitino, so he’s going to have a good connection with lots of people, NBA-wise and international-wise, so I like that aspect. And I like the fact that he’s told my dad he’s going to work with me personally – usually schools have individual trainers that they give to their players, but he told me he would train me personally, which is a big part of that relationship between player and coach, which I appreciated. And I like the fact that they’re going to play me at more of a 3-spot than a post player, which I should have been developing when I was a little younger, but, you know, I was always the tallest kid out there, so they wanted to put me in the post. But with my size, at the next level, I’m not really a post player. So what intrigued me a lot is they were going to give me the opportunity to play a lot more on the outside.

So it sounds like you really haven’t played there much at all, though. I’ve been on the inside until this last year. This last year, I transferred high schools, for financial reasons, and I ended up … being able to work on my outside game. So a lot of last year, I was handling the ball, bringing it up the court, working a lot in pick-and-roll situations where I was more the ball-handler than the roll man, which I wasn’t used to, but I was getting better and better. I wouldn’t say I really like being on the outside more, but I want to be a threat at all angles, so I want to be able to attack you from the inside and the outside. Take you off the dribble, post you up, do whatever I can so I can score as easily as possible. If you’re small, take you inside, if you’re big, take you off the dribble.

And it seems like you’ve really taken into consideration if you get to the NBA, where you’ll fit in there as well? Yeah, I’ve put all I’ve got in this world into basketball, and I’ve been playing for the NBA ever since I was a little kid. And all of this is just part of the process.

I had read that you were interested in Washington at some point. Is that interest still there, or are you mainly focusing on those four schools (Minnesota, Florida State, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State)? Mostly those four. I got a call from UCLA today. I was talking to them when I was a freshman and a sophomore, and then last year, I don’t know what happened with that relationship. I think because the guy who I talked to, Scott Garson, he left to take a head coaching job somewhere else, and then [former coach Ben] Howland left so I think they really had no way of contacting me, and yet I got a call from them today, so I think that relationship might get opened back up. I guess I started talking back with UCLA today.

OK, and I know you have visits set up for Florida State, Oklahoma and Minnesota (on Sept. 20). Do you plan to visit Pitt as well? I do plan on visiting Pitt, it’s just when I can fit it into my schedule.

Is Pitt relatively new in terms of your recruitment? Yeah, they didn’t start talking to me until about a month or a month and a half ago. It’s definitely progressed from the first time I talked to them. I have a good relationship, I think, with coach [Jamie] Dixon and [assistant] coach [Brandin] Knight.

Do you want to use fifth visit? It doesn’t really matter to me. If that relationship gets back opened and they show interest in me than I would be willing to take an official visit there, but it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to find the best school for me, and if it’s between those four schools – which I think are all great schools – that’s OK. There’s no real place that I always wanted to go, so it doesn’t matter if I get that fifth visit.

What are you hoping to get out of visits? I think a better relationship with the staff, a good perception of how I will be used in each situation and how I will be progressed to the next level. Because as much I’m being used for their benefit, I’m going to try my best to use them for my benefit. I want them to develop me and help me as much as I help them as a program.

It seems like you have things a lot better thought out than many recruits. Are any or your coaches, or your parents really helping you with your recruitment? (laughs) Well, my father (Scott) ... taught me how to talk to coaches, how to articulate what I want to talk about and my dad’s really been the one that’s helped me plan out my future in terms of basketball.

Do you have a timeline of when you want to make a final decision? I don’t have a timeline. I’d really like to make my decision before the season, but if that doesn’t happen, I’m not in a spot where I’m going to dwell on it. I’m not going to make a decision blindly and then change it later. I want to be able to make my decision and stick with it.

Could you make a decision on the spot? I would see myself going to each visit and then after that last visit, evaluating which school was the best for me.

Are any of the four schools recruiting you the hardest? Between the four, probably Florida State and Minnesota are recruiting me the hardest. But you know, that’s a relative term, recruiting me the hardest – everybody is recruiting me hard.
 

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