Minnesota, and attrition, finally won out. Josh Martin has verbally committed to the Golden Gophers, and plans to suit up starting in the 2014-2015 season. On a roster nearly devoid of non-centers and non-guards, the 6’8″ 230 pound power forward fills a position of need for Richard Pitino. Martin chose the Gophers over the Pittsburgh Panthers and the Florida State Seminoles.
There are many ways to evaluate a recruit, which will likely determine how excited you are about Martin joining the roster. If you care solely about recruiting rankings, your head is probably spinning a bit. Most recruiting services consider Martin a three star recruit, solid but not spectacular. Austin Hollins was a three star recruit, for example. ESPN, until a day or two ago, considered Martin a four star recruit, but inexplicably dropped him to a two star recruit. Nothing that would normally affect a rating occurred prior to the downgrade. Make of that what you will.
The teams competing for a recruit’s talents indicate the quality of the recruit. Pittsburgh and Florida State are both respected programs from power conferences. Three power teams don’t duke it out over two star recruits. They didn’t for Maverick Ahanmisi or Oto Osenieks, and there is no reason to believe that they would for Martin if they believed he was a two star recruit.
More important than rankings, of course, is how a player projects for a system. Martin was an early target of Richard Pitino, so he is hardly a late fill in. He is a versatile player with good ball handling skills for his size, can rebound, and can knock down an outside shot often enough to keep defenders honest. Most importantly, he already has Big Ten size and a bit of a nasty streak.
Martin is only the first of Richard Pitino’s recruits, and there could be several roster spots still available.