After two consecutive losses to Brown and with center Josh Hill ’04 out for the season, the men’s basketball team wishes they had another big man. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs’ biggest player won’t be able to fill the 5-spot for another year.
At a towering 6 feet 10 inches, Dominick Martin ’05 is one of the tallest men on campus. He is also the former center of the Princeton basketball team and will join the men’s basketball team next year.
Because of his status as a transfer student, NCAA regulations prevent Martin from playing in any games for one year. Martin began practicing with the team two months ago, but a recent wrist injury has prevented him from practicing for the last few weeks.
Although he has had to watch from the bench as his team struggled in their first two Ivy League games, Martin is happy to be at Yale. Martin has found the Elis’ playing style more to his liking than Princeton’s style of play.
“I just didn’t fit in with the program,” Martin said of his time at Princeton. “I wanted a change in style. At Princeton, it was slow basketball. Here it is about attacking and being aggressive.”
In addition to finding a playing style that made him comfortable, Martin also preferred Yale’s coaching staff to his former mentors in New Jersey.
“The coaches give me a lot of confidence,” Martin said. “They know when to reprimand you and when to complement you. It’s a good balance.”
The transition from Yale to Princeton has been nice and smooth, Martin said. Although Martin had to apply to college all over again, the change of schools was “definitely worth it.” Martin said that his teammates have been very supportive.
“I like them a lot,” Martin said. “The team really helped me adjust. It’s been an easy and smooth transition.”
For the 2002-03 season, Martin has been attending the games to support his team but cannot travel with the team to away games because of NCAA regulations. Martin expressed frustration at not being able to help his team in their struggles this season, but he also noted that Yale’s team has been successful in the past even without him.
Martin felt that even if he were playing this year, he could not rescue the team and dramatically improve the team’s record.
“I could help a little bit in low post defense, but I don’t think I could help that much,” Martin said, “You can’t focus on individuals, but rather the team as a whole,” Martin said.
Hill, who is currently out for the season following an operation for a hernia, said that Martin could help the team’s overall performance next year.
“He’s a real good shooter, especially for a big guy,” Hill said, “This could help us spread out the other team’s defense.”
Although Martin has not been practicing recently because of injury, Hill noted that practices were more competitive with him because he was a solid player.
Hill said that the team can still play well without either Martin or him, even though they would be the two tallest members of the team. Finding a stride within the team and getting back to good basketball is the key to Yale’s performance, Hill said.
Martin also expressed his anticipation for next season when he will face his former team, the Princeton Tigers.
“It’s going to be very awkward,” Martin said. “The fans will be all over me.”
But Martin said he will know what to do when his former school boos and taunts him in next year’s game.
“I have to block it out,” Martin said. “You can’t let it get to your head.”