Knee Issues, Slump Jeopardize Scott Martin’s Starting Job at Notre DamePosted by Will Tucker on January 23rd, 2013
After a surprise 14-1 start that drew on steady veteran leadership, Notre Dame suddenly finds itself losers of three of the last four games and at 3-3 in the Big East, coming off an historic home loss to Georgetown. Perhaps the most unsettling aspect of the team’s 10-day collapse is that Scott Martin, one of its most dependable veterans, has become a big part of the problem. Mired in a slump and showing signs of the knee injury that has plagued his six year-career, Martin will likely be the first casualty to an imminent shake-up in Mike Brey’s starting lineup. Martin has averaged 1.8 PPG on 2-of-11 shooting over the agonizing four-game stretch. He logged a season-low 18 minutes against the Hoyas before his aggravated knee and poor performance sidelined him for the remainder of the game. Prior to his recent skid, Martin had been enjoying the most productive season of his career, averaging 9.7 PPG and hitting at 50% from behind the line. But his dramatic slump has reduced his scoring and minutes to the lowest averages of his career.
Mike Brey attributes the forward’s struggles to the knee that was visibly nagging him against Georgetown: “I feel for him. He’s trying to give us stuff but the knee has been an issue. I think it’s affecting all of his phases.” In fact, it wasn’t until Tuesday morning that we learned Martin underwent a second surgery on the left knee that had previously forced Martin to redshirt in 2009-10. The operation took place over this past summer and was evidently kept under wraps, but the toll taken on the 24-year-old big man is clearly noticeable. “I don’t know how much he’s going to be able to practice the rest of the year,” Brey said; “It’s nothing major, it’s just a lot of wear and tear on a knee that’s had two surgeries.” Don’t be surprised to see 6’10″ freshman Zach Auguste (3.2 PPG, 1.6 RPG in 6.2 MPG) enter the rotation in Martin’s stead. The former four-star recruit is brimming with talent, but has only logged a total of four minutes of Big East experience. It’ll be interesting to see how he responds to a sudden expanded role.