He Will, He Won't, He Might 2021 — Kansas senior Cam Martin
Another day, another senior to break down on the Kansas men’s basketball roster.
This time, it’s super-senior forward Cam Martin, a transfer from Missouri Southern State University, who, no matter how well he does or doesn’t play this season, will forever be remembered in Kansas basketball lore.
A Division II standout transferring to a college basketball blue blood is an incredibly rare thing. And Martin is gung-ho about trying to prove that it can be done.
Here’s a look at some of what to expect from Martin this season as he tries to make it happen.
He Will: Shoot the ball whenever he’s open
Martin is more than just some kind of novelty act. He’s a smart basketball player with a ton of experience and a very good understanding of his strengths and skills.
Because of that, the 6-foot-8 forward knows exactly what he wants to do this season for the Jayhawks and what the Jayhawks want from him, as well.
In a word: Shoot.
This summer, while working the annual Washburn basketball camp, Martin said he planned to shoot the ball whenever he was open and he had no designs on being passive. He also noted that he would not force shots just to get his but that he would take whatever open shots were available within the offense.
It will take some time for him to settle into that role fully. And he’ll also have to learn how to play with KU’s lead guards, Remy Martin and Dajuan Harris Jr., to make sure that he’s putting himself in the best spots for them to get him the ball for open shots.
But because the Kansas offense is based largely on quick, crisp ball movement, Martin should be able to find himself free early and often. All he has to do from there is make the shots.
He Won’t: Be afraid to play inside
Known primarily as a shooter, Martin has the strength and the frame to do some work down low, as well. And he’s looking forward to the opportunity.
At Missouri Southern, Martin was the focal point of most defensive game plans against him. Teams double- and triple-teamed him in the paint and ran at him at the 3-point line whenever possible and from all angles.
None of it seemed to work, as he was a multi-time All-American and routinely put up huge point total after huge point total, doing his damage from both inside and out.
The idea of coming to Kansas, where he could play a stretch 4 type of role, appealed to Martin for a couple of reasons. In addition to the opportunity to cap his career at one of college basketball’s blue blood programs, he also knew that matching up with Division I 4s would give him the opportunity to use his strength and size to take them down low.
It remains to be seen how often that happens or how well it works out. But if a particular matchup favors him and the coaches want to utilize it, Martin will be happy to do some more dirty work inside, where he believes he’ll be guarded straight up as opposed to having to overpower two or three defenders to get to the hoop.
He Might: Be on the floor with David McCormack more than you think
For my money, this is one of the more intriguing questions surrounding this Kansas team.
How often will KU’s top two big men play together? And what will it look like when they do?
The obvious answer to the second questions has Martin on the perimeter and McCormack down low, with the rest of the floor spread around him.
But could it be the opposite?
Could Martin’s presence alongside McCormack allow Big Dave to float on the perimeter — where we all know he is comfortable — and give Martin the chance to go inside?
Doing so would likely pull the opponent’s biggest body — and likely best shot blocker — out of the paint, opening things up more for Martin and the three other Jayhawks on the floor.
It also would give Martin more room to bully whoever KU’s opponent has guarding him.
I don’t know that you should expect to see this style employed all that often. But in certain matchups and against certain teams, it could really work. And I do expect to see it plenty, especially early.
Let’s call it 5 or so minutes a game to start, with the potential to increase its usage if things go well and the matchups make it the wise choice.
He Will, He Won't, He Might 2021