Well that was fast. Seven games into his collegiate career freshman power forward Josh Martin, Richard Pitino's first "real" recruit, has decided the University of Minnesota is not for him and has decided to transfer, effective immediately. This comes as a bit of a surprise considering he was pretty spaztastic about the U after he signed on Twitter, including tweeting at a bunch of other recruits so it seemed kind of like he was a Gopher 4 Life. On the other hand, his body language wasn't great, and he was playing just five minutes per game. One could argue that playing five minutes per game in your first seven games for a Big Ten mid-tier team is probably about where a mid-tier recruit should expect to be, but hey, not everyone can handle something like that after being a star in high school.
I thought Martin flashed some good potential (read here) and obviously he was a big time athlete, and I was expecting him to steadily improve and be a big time player his last two years. Obviously that's out. If he felt like this wasn't the right fit and wanted more playing time right away, well, unfortunately that's his right and he's entitled to seek out the best situation for him, but the timing sucks for everyone involved. The Gophers are now down to nine scholarship players and need Gaston Diedhiou to become eligible more than ever, and for Martin he's essentially wasted a half year of eligibility with nothing to show for it. So why not finish out the year? I suspect, and I have nothing to base this on other than the timing and my gut feel, that this is a "home sick" kind of situation. Minneapolis is quite a ways from Seattle, and I can't think of any other reason to make such an abrupt change other than simply "I don't want to be here any more." I'm guessing the playing time situation didn't help, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up in the Pacific Northwest when his transfer gets figured out.
It sucks, and I had high hopes for him, but we move on. Assuming Diedhiou gains his eligibility, an assumption which I have to assume at this point or I'll cry, he should be able to fill in for Martin's five minutes per game, or at least that's the hope. It also opens up another scholarship for Pitino to fill, and with Lofton and McNeil (probably) off the team that's three spots for Spring recruiting which can be a dicey proposition. I trust Pitino to do well, and I'd bet at least one of those spots gets filled by a transfer. This is a bummer, but it's not crushing, at least. Even if Gaston doesn't get to play they should be able to get by with
PG: Mathieu (35), Mason (5)
SG: Hollins (30), Mason (10)
SF: Morris (30), Mason (10)
PF: King (30), Buggs (10)
C: Walker (25), Eliason (15)
No problem, right? Now how about nobody gets in foul trouble?