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Pack player preview: Cody Martin should flourish at the point

Caleb Martin
Caleb Martin. (John Byrne/Nevada athletics)

Nevada Sports Net’s Chris Murray will break down each of Nevada’s 12 eligible scholarship players prior to the Wolf Pack basketball team’s season opener Nov. 6 versus BYU. We will count the players down in alphabetical order using their last names. Today’s player: Cody Martin.

Cody Martin

Class: Senior

Number: 11

Position: Point guard

Height/weight: 6-7/205

Hometown: Mocksville, N.C.

2017-18 stats: 35.6 mpg, 14 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.7 apg, 1.7 spg, 1.5 bpg, 51.6 FG%, 29.4 3PT%, 70.1 FT%

Likely role: In his first year of eligibility at Nevada, Cody Martin became the first Division I player since 1992-93 to average at least 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, 1.5 steals, 1.5 blocks and shoot 50-plus percent from the field. Oh, and he was the MW defensive player of the year. College players don’t come more versatile than the eldest of the Martin twins. With Lindsey Drew rehabbing a torn Achilles, Martin shifts to full-time point guard, a spot he thrived in after Drew’s season-ending injury last year. In 10 games in that role, Martin averaged 15.8 points, 6.7 assists, 6.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.6 blocks while shooting 51.2 percent. Expect similar numbers this season after Cody tested the NBA draft waters before eventually returning to school. One big potential area for growth comes behind the arc, where Martin shot just 29.4 percent from three. He’d like to get that into the high 30s to show NBA teams he can stretch the floor, a goal that seems achievable given his smooth practice stroke.

Key stat: 1,284 — Martin played 1,284 minutes last year, the most in a season in Wolf Pack history (by one minute over D.J. Fenner’s 1,283 in 2015-16) and the 21st most in the nation in 2017-18. (Martin missed one game with a foot injury, too). The number of minutes logged shows you how important Martin is to Nevada’s operation. He took on a big burden last season, being asked to run the offense while also defending the opposition’s best player for the majority of the game. That role won’t change this season as Martin remains an elite-level defender who will play the point from the start of the season. Nevada has more depth this year, but I wouldn't expect a huge cut in Martin’s minutes. He’s too valuable to be on the bench.

In his words: “I feel very comfortable (at point guard), especially knowing that’s where I’m going to start the year. Obviously getting help from the coaching staff, watching a lot of film and I have Lindsey helping me. I watch his game to try and take some things from him. He’s somebody who is really irreplaceable, the things that he brought to us. … It is really nice to see people recognizing me because I put in the work. But at the end of the day, if Coach didn’t put me in a good position and without my teammates I wouldn’t be in that position without them. They have my back and play hard for me, and I do the same for them. … Something I really focused on this year is my shot, getting my rotation down and extending my range. I think I’ve done a really good job of that this year. You can see it in practice, the confidence in my shot and taking shots I wouldn’t normally take. … Everybody’s goal is to do something special. I had the same goal last year as I do this year, and that’s to win a national championship. As long as I’m in college basketball, I want to win a national championship. That should be everyone’s goal, but I think something that could knock us off is looking to far ahead. You have to focus on what’s in front of you right now and understand there are really good teams that we’re going to play. … I do think we’re as hungry as last year. I do because we do have a lot of sit-out guys and new guys, so we’re fighting for minutes and that just helps the competition in practice and people going hard in every single thing we do because you want to be those guys who are on the court and playing. It’s hard to have a rotation when you have nine or 10 guys who could be in that starting lineup, but that’s just going to help us in the long run with competition and people staying hungry.”

Sports columnist Chris Murray provides insight on Northern Nevada sports. Contact him at crmurray@sbgtv.com or follow him on Twitter @MurrayNSN.

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