Kelvin Martin is a 27 year old 195cm swing man from Adel, Georgia playing his fifth professional season and second in Germany and first with the MHP RIESEN Ludwigsburg (Germany-BBL). Last season he gained further experience with Moncada Solar Agrigento (Italy-Serie A2) playing 37 games averaging 16.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.3apg, Steals-1(2.2spg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 61.7%. He played his first two professional seasons with Matrixx Magixx Wijchen (Holland-Eredivisie) and two seasons ago played with the : MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA, starting five): 33 games: 15.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.8apg, Steals-1(2.1spg), FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 70.2%. He started his basketball career at Charleston So. (NCAA) in 2008 and played 115 NCAA games over 4 seasons and as a senior played 31 games averaging 15.4ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.7apg, 2.1spg, 1.6bpg, FGP: 59.7%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 60.2%. He spoke to German Hoops about the EasyCredit BBL cup weekend in Berlin and his professional basketball career.
Kelvin thanks for talking to German Hoops.2017 has come and we are well into the new year. Did you set any new year´s resolutions or are you more the kind of guy that doesn´t bother with that?
Thanks for the opportunity. Yeah, I don’t really bother with that.
You have come a long way from playing first division in Holland, second and third divisions in Italy and Pro A in Germany and now you have reached the EasyCredit BBL. How good is basketball life for you at the moment?
Basketball is good for me. I’m very thankful and blessed to be in the position I am in now.
You were part of the slam dunk contest and now your at the easyCredit BBL top 4 weekend in Berlin. When you look back at your professional career are you surprised it took you 5 seasosn to get here?
I wouldn’t say surprised because when I became a professional I had to prove to teams I could play the 3/2. But after having back to back meniscus tear surgeries my first year professional I knew I was going to be held back. I’m sure if I didn’t have that surgery my career would of went different but everything happens for a reason. God has always had a plan.
The club has 2 chances to win a title with the Champions League and the EasyCredit BBL cup this weekend in Bamberg. How excited are you for having the chance to win your first professional title with Ludwigsburg?
Well very excited that’s the reason we play the game to compete and win championships.
You have a tough cookie in the semi-final with Bamberg. In your first meeting this season, you lost 60-48. How annoying is it when you defend very well, but the opponent defends even better?
Yeah it is very frustrating to defend well and not be able to score. But it happens sometimes.
Will the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg need a miracle to reach the 2017 EadyCredit BBL final? What kind of game can we await against Brose Bamberg??
I don’t think will need a miracle just need to play our game and trust ourselves. I think we can expect a fight. No matter the opponent both sides always has a chance to win.
Brose Bamberg have an explosive offense with many options and a healthy inside out game while on defense, they get you out of your sets and then force to finish one on one where their excellent defenders hurt you. What will be key to getting the win?
We can defend very well but defense will be a key as always but being able to score against their defense will be key too.
As always under John Patrick, the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg are stacked with talent, but are underachieving. What do you feel is still missing with this team from being way better than a 500 team?
I don’t think we are missing anything just got to keep trusting one another and just play our game.
Your playing a very solid season in both the EasyCredit BBL and Champions League. What do you credit your excellent play to most when looking at your game?
My summers is where I give it most credit because of all the time spent in the gym, weight room, and conditioning in the summers. I trust myself once I’m on court competing because I know I put the work in. Off-season is when your season starts. Basically there is no off-season.
Rocky Trice is 5 years older than you, but still as athletic as always. How have you benefited from his play and person so far and how will he continue to help you this season?
Rocky is a good guy and I have learned a lot from watching him in games and in practice. I am glad he joined the team he is very helpful especially being much older than me I can learn a lot from him as the season continues to go forward.
You take a lot of pride on defense and led the German Pro A and Italian second division in steals the last two seasons. If you had to, to what NBA player would you compare your defensive game to?
Draymond Green, besides the kicking, I can compare mine to him because he guards all positions and he is an competitor and takes pride in defense.
Last season you played with Moncada Solar Agrigento (Italy-Serie A2) 37 games: 16.9ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.3apg, Steals-1(2.2spg), FGP: 55.4%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 61.7. Your teammate was Scot Eatherton and like you has made the jump to the EasyCredit BBL and had a very strong season. How do you believe did he benefit from playing his rookie season in Italy to help him transform over to the EasyCredit BBL?
Scott is a good player I knew that last year playing with him. It is always good to be in a good situation your first year and I think Scott playing in Italy with Agrigento was a good situation not for just him but for me too. I am very happy for Scott and the season he is having right now. He has a bright future ahead of him.
Two seasosn ago you played with the MLP Academics Heidelberg (Germany-ProA) 33 games: 15.1ppg, 6.4rpg, 1.8apg, Steals-1(2.1spg), FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 32.8%, FT: 70.2%. Your teammate was Waverly Austin who is also in the BBL with Bremerhaven in his second season. Do you see him becoming a BBL starter down the line?
I think Waverly could become a starter on a BBL team if given the chance.
You played your first two professional seasons with Matrixx Magixx Wijchen (Holland-Eredivisie). What was your wake up call to being a professional in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?
I been away from my family or home my whole life. I am use to being away from home so it was not a big problem for me being away from home.
How tough was that second season for you in Holland? Your stats were down and the team withdrew at the end of the season. Did you have some doubts about how your career might continue?
It was only tough because I was coming off back to back meniscus tear surgeries and into a team that was pretty much established. I was just there to show that I was healthy to play. I really didn’t get much of a chance but it happens.
You played at Charleston So. (NCAA) from 2008-2012 and was All-Big South Conf. Defensive Player of the Year twice. Were these your two most cherished awards there from basketball?
No, I think receiving the Michael Frost Christian Athlete Award in college.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that is in the NBA now?
I really don’t remember
How did head coach Barclay Radbaugh groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Radbaugh made me a leader early in my college career which made me have a different outlook on how I carry myself and leading by example to other players. This is what set me apart from other players.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore, which 4 heads would you choose?
Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant
Lebron finally brought an NBA title to the Cavs. Where does he stand at the moment in the never ending debate with where he stands as the best of all-time?
With Lebron James there will always be a debate no matter what he does
Where do you rank Kevin Garnett with the best power forwards that ever played the game?
Top 5 at least.
Klay Thompson recently hit 60 points in 29 minutes touching the ball for only 90 seconds. Where does this performance rank with you?
It’s so many good performances in the NBA that it’s hard to rank them but it definitely was impressive
One always talks about Lebron and Curry, but one has to mention Russell Westbrook. He is averaging triple double stats at the moment. Is he stat wise the best player in the world right now?
If we are talking stats? Yes. I think Russell is the MVP this year how his season is going so far.
Draymond Greene recently had a triple double without scoring 10 points or more. Why do you believe has it taken long for someone to do this?
I am really not sure.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Kelvin for the chat.