By ALEX SCHIFFERSpecial to ZAGSBLOGUNION, N.J. — Curtis High School on Staten Island has been having an under-the radar season despite being 9-2, with one of those losses coming at the hands of perennial power St. Anthony, 61-31, Saturday night at Kean University.
One of the biggest reasons for Curtis’ early success is due in large part to 6-foot-7 senior small forward Hassan Martin.
Martin, a Rhode Island commit, has been the main scoring option for the team as he’s able to use athleticism to the max, whether it is on the boards, through the lane, or wherever his team needs him. Curtis is one of two 2013 Rhody commits for Dan Hurley’s squad, the other being top tier shooting guard E.C. Mathews.
The Rams are currently 5-8 but should take a big step forward in 2013-14 with the additions of Martin and Mathews, plus transfers Gilvydas Biruta (Rutgers), Jarelle Reischel (Rice) and DeShon “Biggie” Minnis (Texas Tech).
Martin won’t be on Rhody’s campus as a student for another seven months but has already made a few trips up for basketball season, seeing the Rams play SMU recently. Martin loved the trip.
“It was great to go up there, take in the atmosphere, and it only made me more excited for when I get there,” he said.
With Martin playing against St. Anthony legendary coach Bob Hurley, the father of his future coach, he said he definitely made the connection.
“It did a little bit because all the Hurleys are good coaches especially with Coach (Bob) Hurley being one of the greatest coaches ever,” Martin said. “I got an early taste I guess.”
Hurley’s Friars held Martin to just three points on the night, as Temple-bound Josh Brown and Oregon State-bound Hallice Cooke led New Jersey’s top team to a 30-point win.
Despite the loss, Martin believes his squad will be fine come the postseason.
“I think we’ve been playing well so far and as long as we stay focused we should be fine,” he said.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.