Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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If you ask Bobby Sibley, owner of the Louisiana Basketball Report, Jarell Martin is the best prospect in the state since the days of Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Brandon Bass and Tasmin Mitchell.
“He has NBA potential,” Sibley told SNY.tv Wednesday by phone. “He’s better than Ricardo Gathers. I love Ricardo, but as far as pure potential, pure raw ability, he’s hands down the best prospect.”
The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Martin is the Rivals No. 25 power forward prospect in the Class of 2013, but he’s being recruited at the highest levels.
“The schools that are recruiting him the hardest right now are Marquette, Texas A&M, LSU, St. John’s, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Texas and Louisville,” Jeff Jones, head coach at Baton Rouge (La.) Madison Prep, told SNY.tv.
“Those are the ones that are the strongest.”
Jones went so far as to compare Martin’s upside to Kevin Durant and Tracy McGrady.
“He’s a player with a tremendous upside,” Jones said. “He hasn’t been playing that long. He can play anywhere from the one to the four. A lot of people say he has a game like Tracy McGrady mixed with Kevin Durant. He’s athletic and can also shoot he ball.”
Jones also raves about Martin’s work ethic, saying he “loves to work.”
“He’s in the gym now [Wednesday morning], putting up some shots,” Jones added.
Sibley suggested that Martin and Gathers, who are friendly and both run for Brandon Bass Elite in the summer, may want to play together in college. LSU and St. John’s are among the schools recruiting both.
“They’ve talked about it, but I don’t know how serious that is,” Jones said. “Ricardo is a friend of Jarell’s. He looks up to Ricardo in the basketball realm.
“It was Jarell’s first summer on the circuit and Ricardo took him under his wing.”
St. John’s coach Steve Lavin, still out on a modified schedule that permits him to recruit while he recovers from prostate cancer surgery, will soon head down to Louisiana to recruit both players. Gathers recently decommitted from St. John’s but is still considering them.
“Coach Lavin has shown a great amount of interest and is very sincere,” Jones said of Martin. “Coach Lavin and Coach [Tony] Chiles have done a tremendous job up to this point recruiting him. I think they have just as much of a chance as everybody else.
“St. John’s has been consistent and they’ve been good. Jarell’s definitely interested in St. John’s and moving out of state is not a problem.
“He’s looking for the best situation.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.