What Tyrese Martin brings to the Atlanta Hawks

What Tyrese Martin brings to the Atlanta Hawks

Last week, when asked what he was hearing about Tyrese Martin’s NBA Draft hopes, UConn coach Dan Hurley was hoping he would be doling out some I-told-you-so jabs.

“He flashed high-level athleticism,” Hurley said. “He’s physically strong. He’s blue collar. He’s got a chip on his shoulder. He’s a good guy. He has all the prerequisites in today’s NBA to make a career with it. ”

Well, after hyping the 6-foot-6 guard all season, Hurley can rightfully utter that line. The UConn player who utilized that chip on his shoulder will be headed to the pros. Martin was drafted 51st by the Atlanta Hawks.

Martin’s stock rose thanks to being named to the Portsmouth Invitational all-tournament team after helping lead his team to the championship game. He earned an invite to the NBA’s G League Elite Camp, and he measured in at 216 pounds with a 6-8 wingspan. His play at the Elite Camp procured him a NBA Combine invitation – one of seven to advance.

At the combine, Martin played in both scrimmages, showing versatility and flashbacks to his recent UConn days. There was a driving layup and a nice 3 in the first scrimmage, in which he finished with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting. He went 2 of 5 from beyond the arc, and he added five boards. In the second scrimmage, he finished with 15 points on 6-of-15 shooting. He shot 3 of 7 from deep, while also adding nine boards.

Scouting the top 75 prospects, The Athletic’s John Hollinger wrote, “He’s an iffy shooter, but his size, handle and defense, combined with an impressive 39-inch max vertical, give him some pathways toward rotation-ish usefulness as a backup at either wing spot. Martin also rebounds unusually well for a wing, with a 13 percent rebound rate in Big East games, checking another box in the positive column. ”

An Allentown, Penn., Native, Martin started his career at Rhode Island, initially committing to Hurley before the coach was hired at UConn. He started 19 of 33 contests as a freshman and became a full-time starter the following year.

He transferred from Rhode Island in 2020, receiving an NCAA waiver allowing immediate eligibility. He made an early impact, recording a team-high 7.5 rebounds a game in addition to averaging the third-most points (10.3 a game). With size and athleticism, he helped reliably fill the offensive hole that was left during an eight-game absence by James Bouknight. In his second year with Hurley, he was the team’s third-leading scorer (13.6 points a game) and the team’s second-leading rebounder (7.5 a game). He took the third-most 3s for UConn, but finished with a team-second best 43 percent clip. Only Akok Akok made a higher percentage, but he took significantly less attempts.

Martin carried the Huskies this season with guard RJ Cole (who also opted to go pro) and returning big man Adama Sanogo. Martin showed consistency in both seasons at UConn and was an effective player on defense and offense. He not only scored with decisive drives and 3s, but was a monster on the boards, frequently managing to get a handle on the ball.

Martin also had to be one of the guys setting the tone for the season, being looked at to interact with the crowd and bring some swagger to the Huskies. He helped UConn bring some pop and play with emotion, without being overcome by it.

(Photo: Mark Konezny / USA Today)

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