Jarell Martin will be achieving his Draft dreams on Thursday, but even as far back as three and a half years ago, that merely seemed like a dream. He was known locally and even among a few SEC schools, but it wasn’t like he was the type of guy who was being flooded with phone calls or getting millions of mixtape hits on YouTube.
A breakout year with New Orleans Elite on the AAU circuit landed him a top-20 ranking, then he stayed at home to play his college ball at LSU. Two years later, he finds himself on the brink of being a first-round pick.
We got a chance to see Jarell in Las Vegas, where he was training with the guys at Impact Basketball. Joe Abunassar and Drew Moore worked on his face-up game, while Tyler Ward took his explosiveness to new heights in the weight room.
The new found heights that he reached in his game and athleticism were on center stage during the ASM Sports Pro Day, where he showed his stuff to the 150-plus NBA executives in attendance.
Having played both the small forward and power forward positions during his time in Baton Rouge, Martin brought plenty of versatility to the table. Put a post on him, he’ll go to work on the perimeter. Throw a smaller wing on him, he’ll take you to the blocks.
While most would view this type of ability to bring so much to the game as a benefit, some viewed it as a detriment. At Impact, he needed to establish an identity as to if he was going to be packaged as a wing or a post.
“Shooting,” responded Moore when asked about what they’ve focused on in the pre-Draft process. “We’ve been doing a ton of catch and shoot off of pick and pop. With his speed and athleticism, he’s going to have an advantage against a lot of 4s. He’s lightning fast up and down the floor, especially in transition.”
The workout that we saw catered toward showcasing both his jumper and athleticism. There were endless amounts of simulated pick-and-pop situations in which you could see his ability to stroke it.
Though Jarell isn’t necessarily going to be known as a stretch 4 from the jump, he has the potential to continue to develop into a nice shooter. Doing some full court work, he glided up down the floor before crushing the rim with a number of windmill dunks.
Another facet of his game that we were able to get a glimpse of was his developing post up game. Martin has the size at 240 pounds and the touch to exploit people in the pivot, but simply wasn’t given that many opportunities to showcase this part of his game in the Tigers’ system. The touch that he showed with both hands and ability to shoot over the top of the D surprised some evaluators.
“Jarell’s got a little bit more post-up game,” said Moore. “He’s got good footwork and can finish with both hands.”
Firmly in the mix from the teens all the way to the late first round, Martin has a fairly wide range for Thursday’s Draft. Believe he’s going to be a face-up power forward full time, expect him to be off of the board in the teens. Think that he may take a little bit more time, it may be closer to the end of the first.
Either way, don’t let Jarell’s calm demeanor on the court fool you. He’s got a mean streak inside of him.
“He’s humble and composed,” explained Moore. “He doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but is fiery competitive on the inside.”
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