He’s the type of athlete you want to see succeed because in his sport, he has proved everyone wrong.

Ryan Martin, one of Keene State College’s greatest basketball players, a Gatorade Player of the Year and a thousand-point scorer, has just been drafted to play professional basketball.

When you look at him you may be surprised.

File Photo / Chris Palermo Ryan Martin continues to follow his hoop dreams in the National Basketball League of Canada.

File Photo / Chris Palermo
Ryan Martin continues to follow his hoop dreams in the National Basketball League of Canada.

A member of the National Basketball League of Canada (NBL Canada), the Island Storm drafted Martin, a 5’9 point guard who lead Division I, II, and III in free throw percentage (96.1) in 2010-11, 19th overall.

The CBL, which Martin describes as the “Canadian NBA” features only nine teams but sports plenty of former D-I players, which shows the CBL will have talent.

This will be the Island Storm’s first year in the league.

“This league is going to be a really tough league and we’re going to have a lot of competition,” Martin said.

Being drafted didn’t come easy for Martin, but being a two-time state champion in high school helped create a work ethic which Coach Rob Colbert described as “unparalleled”.

“No one worked harder, no one wanted it more, no one dedicated themselves more to excellence than Ryan Martin in my 22 years of coaching,” Colbert said.

Martin played for the University of Maine for two years before looking to make the switch to somewhere he could get more playing time and have a good chance to win. KSC and Coach Colbert would prove to be the place for him.

“I loved the way coach Colbert ran a practice. He seemed like a players’ coach who truly cared about each player and that was completely true,” Martin said.

“He made his office a welcoming place for all of his players to go to.”

With his talent and mentality, he proved to be a role model for the rest of his KSC team, which ultimately pushed them to play better.

With Martin playing for the Owls, they beat number one ranked Middlebury in 2012, the first time KSC has ever beaten a top-ranked school in history since joining D-III.

With Martin on the team the Owls earned a national ranking (21) and a 53-30 record while he was on the roster.

“He could motivate you to play better and not give up,” Eric Fazio, a former three-year teammate of Matin’s said.

“If you struggled with a drill or wanted extra shots he was always there to help out.”

“Not only does he say it but he does it. He dragged a lot of guys to workout, off the court he really took care of himself,” Colbert said. “He was kind of a shining star.”

To really get an example of his ambition for success, Colbert told a story of Martin in the fall of his first semester at Keene.

“Ryan was here [at Spaulding Gymnasium] in the fall of his sophomore year on a Saturday morning at eight in the morning asking for a ball rack and a shooting gun. I get to leave around 12 and still didn’t have my keys and Ryan’s still shooting four hours later.”

Upon graduating, Martin knew he wanted to continue playing basketball and wasn’t ready to transition into the real world.

Instincts kicked in and he began training, making highlight videos and reaching out to teams when he got a chance to try out with the Brampton A’s.

“You have to prove yourself,” said Martin.

“Every tryout the competition is getting better and better, it’s a lot of hard work.”

The A’s suggested Martin join the draft, where at the combine Martin faced another challenge of beating out top-tier talent.

At the end of the combine he ranked third in shooting and in the top 25 in all other statistics.

“It felt like all my hard work had paid off when I finally heard my name,” Martin said.

Picked 19th overall, The Island Storm’s coach watched a lot of game tape on Martin, as well as the three-day combine, and decided he wanted Martin as a shooter and a specialty player for the team.

Reporting to camp around October 10, Martin is not too worried about adjusting to the pace of professional basketball but will continue to work on his shot and creating open space on the court.

“Every time I’d set a screen for him, I’d expect it to go in,” Fazio said.

“I think I’ve gotten used to playing that pace at the combine and a lot of the tryouts I’ve been to and the competitions been really good, so if they need me to be a shooter that is something I have trained myself to be my whole life,”Martin said.

Martin can be found on campus still working on his game with two-a-days at the gym, with conditioning and constantly practicing his shot.

“I feel very confident I can go in there and shoot against anybody and work as hard as I can,” Martin said.


Stephen Aruilio can be contacted at


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