Martin back to scene of highs, lows

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Before his meteoric rise at Kansas State, Frank Martin was a successful high school basketball coach in Florida.

As a prep writer with the Key West Citizen in the 1990s, I always looked forward to when Martin’s star-studded Miami High teams made the three-hour bus rides to play Key West each December. Miami High’s roster included two future NBA players — Udonis Haslem and Steve Blake.

But Martin’s run as Miami High coach ended in scandal in 1999, when he was forced to resign following a Florida High School Activities association investigation that revealed improper recruiting activities. According to the FHSAA investigation, the Miami High starting five, including Blake and Haslem, received special inducement in the form of housing assistance from various school employees and boosters.

The FHSAA investigation was launched after an investigative piece by the Miami New Times. Miami High was forced to forfeit its 1998 state title and 36 wins. The FHSAA, however, never personally accused Martin of recruiting or any wrongdoing.

When I asked Martin about the investigation when he was an assistant at Northeastern in 2003, he claimed he did nothing wrong. He stood by that claim in a more thorough story in  the Topeka Capital-Journal in 2007, shortly after he replaced Bob Huggins as K-State coach.

“I didn’t think we did anything wrong,” Martin told The Topeka Capital-Journal. “I will go to my grave in my heart knowing that we did not break the law.”

Here’s a link to the Capital-Journal story: http://tinyurl.com/37bj76z

While Martin stood by the popular “I wasn’t aware of it going on”  claim, he’s reinvented himself as a successful college coach. And he’s using his South Florida ties in recruiting. Martin already has one Fort Lauderdale player on his roster, sophomore K-State guard Martavious Irving. He also recently landed a commitment from Miami Dr. Krop’s Angel Rodriguez, one of the top point guard prospects in the 2011 class.

Martin will have a chance to further showcase his program to South Florida kids on Saturday when No. 6 Kansas State faces Florida in the Metro PCS Orange Bowl Classic.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Was that Walker and Boynton out there? Granted the team did not open well, but they hung in and started really executing in the second half. This is a UF team that can wear down opponents with their depth if they sustain their defensive intensity. By the second half Kansas was dragging. Boynton had a wonderful game. He played great defense, but what was nice was how he let the offense come to him starting with some mid-range shots. Walker did a very nice job of getting others involved – one of his best floor games to go with his scoring.

  2. PG is gonna be UF’s achilles heel all season. Walker is ok, but not able to compete with the best pgs. His backup isn’t any improvement.
    They’ll have some great moments, but don’t expect a lengthy post season.
    They showed some heart, which is promising. Still much to prove.

  3. Great the see Boynton come up big! This team could be very good if all the players are used correctly and they play unselfishly. It is ashame Tyus could not be on the floor with the rest of the starters at the end of the game after such a huge win.

  4. Walker and the rest of the team played really well after about the first 15 minutes.
    I definitely like the toughness. I don’t see us being able to withstand these body blows and come back punching the previous 3 years.

    In regards to Walker, he got to the line, distributed the ball, helped spark the second half with a great pass to Macklin for a dunk. And then with Wilbelkin in the game he doesn’t offer as much offense but he plays good defense and plays under control. It is huge that he is able to come in and give quality minutes.

    I’m definitely excited again about this b-ball team. The offense should continue to grow and the freshmen provide great,defensive minutes off the bench.

  5. I was at the game Saturday and left extremely impressed with the Gator defense. Boynton was terrific on K-State’s star point guard, Pullens, and Walker did an excellent job in the second half penetrating, dishing, and taking the available shots. Almost every shot Florida took was a good one. As ALC said, our depth will wear people down. We get quality minutes from every back-up player! Shades of the 2000 team! Our weakness is outside shooting. If teams play a good zone against us, it will give us trouble.

  6. K-State as a “resume builder”? What does that make losses to UCF and Jacksonville? Resume? Are you kidding me! Little wonder why top Florida high school talent such as Brevin Knight and Austin Rivers go out of state when the supposed “flagship” of college basketball in Florida can’t even beat lesser teams in their own state. Kind of hard to fathom how jsut 3 years ago, UF was the only NCAA school ever to hold both the football and basketball titles concurrently. Now, well this year pretty much speaks for itself.