The men’s basketball team’s Ivy League season has been characterized by the Elis’ up-and-down play, and the team’s 4–4 record reflects the parity of Ivy League competition. One player who has provided a measure of consistency has been team captain Sam Martin ’13, who has shot nearly 70 percent on 3-pointers over the past four games. The News talked to Martin about the team’s spot in the Ivy League, his personal success this season and his role as captain.
Q: Right now, the team’s sitting at .500, in fourth place in the Ivy League, three games behind league-leading Harvard. Can you talk a little bit about the team’s mentality at this point?
A: I think we’re feeling good. We have six games left, and we feel like we can beat everybody that we play from here on out. Obviously our goal is to win a championship, and we’re going to need a little help to do that. But the great thing about the league this year is that anybody can really beat anybody. Columbia beat Harvard by 25 and we beat Columbia by 19 and Harvard’s won like three overtime games. … I think they can lose some games, and we feel like we can win the rest, so we feel good.
Q: Do you guys feel like you need to win out to win the title?
A: Yeah, I think we would need to win out to have a chance. But the good thing is I think that’s very possible. I think we’ve been practicing well, and I think we’ve been getting better as the season’s gone on, so I think we definitely have a good chance.
Q: Can you talk a little bit about the depth of the team? The Columbia game got to be a blowout, but 15 guys played and 13 scored.
A: It’s great to have a lot of guys that can play. I think that’s the best part about our team, especially going into the second half of league play. Guys are gonna be tired, legs are gonna be tired, but we play so many guys, and we don’t play anyone a ton of minutes, so I think that’ll definitely help going down the stretch, and [we’re] also harder to guard when you don’t have one guy scoring 25 a night. When you have a balanced attack, it’s much harder to scout and defend.
Q: Over the past four games, you’ve shot nine for 13 from behind the 3-point arc. What’s been the key to the recent stretch of success?
A: Honestly, I’ve been getting a lot of extra shots up with the coaches, and they’ve helped me a ton over four years here. You know, sometimes you just feel good and shots go in and the last few games, luckily that’s been happening for me, so I’m just going to keep shooting and keep hoping they go in.
Q: A lot of your 3s have come in big moments, especially in the Cornell and Princeton games. Is that just part of being a captain and providing a spark to your team?
A: I’m trying to do everything I can for this team. I want to win a championship, I want to win every game. I love these guys and I think that’s part of it, of being a leader, is trying to step up in big moments. The nice part is I don’t really get nervous in big moments anymore because this is all I have left, so it’s like, if you’re not going to show up now, when are you going to? I have really nothing to lose, and I’m just going out there and giving everything I’ve got, and luckily I’ve been able to hit some big shots in some big moments for us.
Q: The team’s deep, but it’s also pretty young. What’s it been like being a captain, but also just being a senior around these young guys like Javier Duren ’15 and Justin Sears ’16 who are really coming into their own this season?
A: One of the best things to see as a captain is just the young guys developing and knowing the future of the program is in good hands. I had a lot of older guys that have helped me along the way, and how I pay those guys back is to try to help some of these young guys now along the way, and they’ll do the same for freshmen a few years from now. They’re gonna be great players, and they have so much talent. They work so hard, and I’m really excited for their careers.