The last time we saw Cartier Martin, he was lighting up the New York Knicks in the Vegas Summer League for 24 points, and wondering if that was enough to earn a roster spot on the Washington Wizards — or at the very least an invite to training camp.
When I saw Martin on Monday’s Media Day, he looked like a man who did not have a care in the world. He was practicing his post moves with Kevin Seraphin, and joking with Hamady N’diaye about the advantages of playing in the NBA versus playing in Europe. At first glance, you would have no idea that Martin was about to be in the fight of his life for a roster spot on the Wizards roster.
Right before the team cameramen whisked him away for a photo shoot, I got a chance to catch up with Martin and ask him a few questions about his summer, his experience with the team toward the end last year
Rashad Mobley: First off, let me ask you how having a baby over the summer, influences you as far as your approach to this training camp. Do you feel like you have extra motivation and are you more energized with something to prove or is that complete separate and do you feel no different than you did before?
Cartier Martin: It’s definitely motivation man, having a son is inspiration for me. It gives me that extra boost to work harder, because I know I have someone to work and live for. I have to take care of him, and I want him to be able to see that his father was a good worker, and hopefully he’ll be able to see that one day.
Mobley: Let’s talk about your summer league experience, you arguably played just as well as anyone on the team, and you seemed to have a ton of confidence. How, if at all, did that help in your in your summer workouts, and is that something you can carry over to this training camp?
Martin: Summer league was definitely a huge building block for me, although I didn’t really play as well as I wanted to, but it was definitely something to build on. When I finally knew I was coming to training camp, I recalled that summer league experience, I knew I’d have to build on that and play even better to make this team and be a better player. So summer league was good and everything, but I’m more looking forward to training camp, so I can be even better … just in case they have short memories.
Mobley: What gave you more confidence? Summer league or the eight games you played with the Wizards towards the end of the year?
Martin: I would say playing towards the end of the season last year gave me more confidence going into this year. Just for the simple fact that I was on an NBA team at the end of the year, after being in Italy at the beginning of the year, and then I was home mid-season and in the D-league. So that was huge for me being able to finish the year on an actual NBA team. That definitely gives me confidence and motivation knowing I can play at this level, and someone actually wanted me to show it.
Mobley: And whether it was at the end of last season or at the end of summer league, did Flip Saunders give you any specific instructions as to what part of your game you needed to work on or improve?
Martin: Yes, one of the main things he wanted me to work on was being much more of an energy guy. One thing I worked on this summer was getting my weight, being able to make the transition from the “2″ to the “3″ or from the “3″ to the “2″, and being more agile and being able to guard any position on the floor. So I took heed to that this summer and worked on a little different things, as far as being a 2-guard, like ball-handling, and being able to guard bigger guys and smaller guys. Hopefully it pays off, and I get a chance to be here with the Wizards this year and contribute to this team.
Mobley: Can you talk about these scrimmages that have going on amongst the Wizards at the Verizon Center recently?
Martin: The scrimmages have been going well. It’s a young team, we have a lot of young guys here, a lot of hungry guys, a lot of guys that’s ready to play, and a lot of guys that want jobs. So the games have been good and very competitive, and I expect the same going into training camp. It’s not going to be an easy camp, guys are coming in hungry and ready to play, and everybody’s excited, so this should be real interesting.