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Tyrese Martin rising in the pre-draft process

The Husky alum has earned an invite to the 2022 NBA Draft Combine.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Don’t be surprised if Tyrese Martin pops onto an NBA roster next fall. The Husky alum has had quite the offseason.

In addition to earning his degree, Martin teamed up with RJ Cole in April to win the Dos Equis 3x3U National Championship tournament. The 6’6, 215 guard and All-Big East snub was also one of 44 invitees to the G-League Elite camp, where his performance earned an invite to the 2022 NBA Draft Combine that runs this Wednesday through Friday.

It’s all going to sound very familiar to UConn fans, but here's what scouts have said about Martin in the last week: “Martin didn’t have the greatest first day of the combine but he left it all out on the floor on Tuesday. He’s a strong, sturdy and fast wing who was exceptional rebounding the basketball, earning his way to a double-double.

Martin is an impressive athlete at his size, measuring a 39-inch max vertical jump and with his nose for the basketball, he really is an impressive rebounder for a wing.

He didn’t have the best shooting performance in his two games, connecting on 2-of-7 from deep but he did connect on 43-percent of his 3.4 attempts a game this season.”

Sports Illustrated: That link has five paragraphs on Martin that most Husky fans already know: plus rebounder with NBA-level size, sneaky athleticism, and an improving outside shot. These bits stood out though:

“Per BartTorvik data, he shot an acceptable 55.9% at the rim, but just 31.9% on non-rim twos, which are the type of shots NBA teams won’t ask him to take all that often. He has pretty good scoring instincts and had a slightly outsized role on a UConn team that really only had two reliable ball-handlers, the other being R.J. Cole.

The biggest determinant in Martin’s success may be his jumper, which seemed to take a big step forward as a senior: he doubled his three-point attempts from 50 to 100, and raised his clip from 32% to a stellar 43%. He turned himself into a capable catch-and-shoot player, has fairly good balance and footwork getting to his jumper, and can make them off the dribble in a pinch. He’ll functionally be more of a three/four in the league, playing out of the slot and along the baseline, which puts emphasis on making open shots. At the end of the day, Martin is good at enough things—and so consistent in his approach—that he’s someone I’d bet on figuring things out. There are plenty of teams who should value what he brings to the table.”

Though he wasn’t an elite-tier standout, it shouldn’t be surprising to see Martin gaining pro attention. For his two years at UConn, he was arguably the Huskies’ best two-way player. He did a little bit of everything on both ends of the court, all while always providing the gritty toughness that coaches love to see. He’s a future glue guy waiting in the wings.

The two-way contract system which the NBA began in 2017-2018 has its fair share of success stories: Max Strus, Shake Milton, PJ Dozier, Alex Caruso, Max Vincent, and Lou Dort come to mind. When looking at players with a skillset translatable to Martin’s, Milton and Strus are the best examples.

If you’ve been watching the NBA playoffs, you’ve probably seen Strus of the Miami Heat lighting teams up. The 6’6, 215lb guard was undrafted out of DePaul and is a perfect example of the impact Martin can have at the next level. Today’s game is all about spacing on offense and switchability on defense. There are NBA contracts out there for players who can simply knock down threes and handle switch effectively.

If you’re an NBA exec who does his homework (tall task, I know), it makes perfect sense to take a flier on Martin. His shooting percentages rose in lockstep with the talent around him over his four-year career. And one interview with him gives you insight into his work ethic and toughness. Couple that with his NBA-level size, athleticism, and now a chance to let those numbers pop at a combine, don’t be surprised to see Tyrese raising his “three goggles” in a big role for a G League team with a good chance of finding time in the NBA.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog