York Catholic's Martin chooses a prep school
York Catholic pulled away from Bethlehem Catholic in the final four minutes to earn a 60-54 victory Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 at the 28th annual Robert H. Griffith Holiday Classic. Jim Seip, GameTimePA.com
York Catholic graduate Melik Martin, who attracted attention from Division I basketball programs late in the school year, has opted to play at Connecticut prep school Putnam Science Academy next season.
Martin still has the desire to play Division I basketball and Putnam could eventually provide him that opportunity.
"That's the hope," Martin said about possibly moving on to an NCAA Division I team after a year at Putnam. "It makes me realize how far I've come. If you would have told me this was a possibility three years ago, I wouldn't have believed you."
The 6-foot-5 forward earned a spot on the GameTimePA Boys' Basketball All-Star First-Team after helping York Catholic reach the state tournament this season. He also earned third-team All-State honors.
Martin expected to play at Lincoln University, a NCAA Division II program. He opened up the recruiting process, however, after York Catholic's season ended. Even after the late decision, more than a dozen Division I NCAA programs contacted Martin's AAU team, the York Ballers, with interest in May.
Martin visited Duquesne University, Brown and Towson.
The biggest snag in the process came in finding the right fit at a program that still had an open roster spot.
Putnam offers Martin a chance to play basketball for a season and go through the recruiting process again in 2017-18 without losing a year of college eligibility.
One of Putnam's recent success stories included helping guard "Scoochie" Smith develop before he led Dayton to the NCAA tournament. Putnam followed Martin after he had a standout tournament with the York Ballers earlier this year, Martin said.
"The hope is I have a year to become stronger, smarter and faster," Martin said Wednesday.
Martin said he will enter college with at least nine college credits he earned while at York Catholic, and he hopes he will be able to increase that number by earning more credits while at Putnam.
Part of the issue with Martin was exposure and age, York Ballers coach Pat McGlynn explained earlier this year. Playing for a team in Maryland before this year, Martin was suiting up with underclassmen last summer since he is still only 17.
"If he decides to go to prep school, he's easily a (Division I) mid-major player, because he's still a baby," McGlynn said about Martin's age in May.
"You have him on the main stage and he is performing on the main stage, and I think if he takes another year he could add 25 or 30 pounds on his frame. His shoulders are so big."