Jeremiah Martin represents the underdog in this year’s NBA draft. His story can be shared with many of the other successful college basketball players who still have to scrap and fight to earn a chance at a spot in the NBA.
The Memphis senior, who will turn 23 on June 19, the day before this year’s draft, has been on a predraft tour that has introduced him to all type of airlines, hotels, and yes, NBA teams.
While the players expected to be picked in the top half of the lottery can call their own shots, there are so many more in Martin’s predicament, with little leverage, needing to participate in as many predraft workouts as possible.
Tuesday, Martin worked out his 11th NBA team, the 76ers. Still left are three more teams, with trips to Sacramento, San Antonio and Charlotte on his schedule. The workout with San Antonio will be his second with the Spurs. That is the only team for which he’ll have a repeat workout.
Martin, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound point guard who averaged 19.7 points as a senior, insists that this arduous predraft schedule has been worth it.
“I am enjoying it and loving the grind and blessed to work out for a team and show my abilities to these GMs and staffs and front-office people,” he said after the Sixers workout.
Martin’s name hasn’t been mentioned in most mock drafts, but he says none of that matters. What is important to him is that he has gotten to showcase his game to so many teams.
“I look at it as a positive to have so many workouts and feel all it takes is one team,” he said. “Just one team, that is all it takes.”
Vince Rozman, the Sixers’ senior director of scouting, says players such as Martin and Michigan’s Ignas Brazdeikis, who had his 10th predraft workout Tuesday, sort of have to be graded on a curve since they have been to so many cities.
“You have to,” Rozman said. “It is a long two months for these guys.”
Knowing both their schedules, Rozman was impressed even more with how they performed.
“Credit to both of them, they went hard,” he said. “Knowing both of them, they will continue going hard. They are at the last stretch of this, fortunately for them. Next Thursday, hopefully it works out for them.”
Martin says the workouts are the fun part. Getting to each city has been a different story.
“The workouts are kind of smooth and not too hard,” Martin said. “The travel is the toughest thing.”
Still, he is not complaining. This process could fatigue any athlete in tip-top shape. Martin, Brazdeikis and others participating in so many workouts realize that these job auditions should be savored, no matter how exhausting the journey has been.